September 14, 2015
When it comes to productivity, I’m an experimenter. I struggle at being efficient and productive, so I find myself constantly on the lookout for new advice (and now I’m wondering if all this time spent reading and searching is actually counterproductive to my ultimate goal…).
A recent article in Apartment Therapy listed the 10 things that productive and organized people do every morning. Several of them I already do, and a couple are words of wisdom that we’ve been hearing our entire lives (like eat breakfast, for example). However, there are a number of things on this list that I’ve heard are important for starting your day off right, but have never actually tried due to laziness, forgetfulness, or simply not thinking they would be worth my time.
In an attempt to increase my daily productivity levels, I am deconstructing this list and pulling out the ones that I want to put into practice. I chose five habits from the list that I do not actively do. I have a plan to add one new habit every week for five weeks and see if it turns me into a goddess of productivity.
#1: They get up early.
I try. I really do. I’m a firm believer that people have different circadian rhythms and should follow their own body clocks in order to be the most productive and successful. I’m not a morning person by nature, but I’m, for the most part, stuck in a 9-5 life at the moment. However, in order to form better morning habits, I have to give myself the time in the morning to accomplish them, which, unfortunately, probably means setting my alarm a bit earlier (which in turn means falling asleep earlier).
#5: They make the bed.
As a kid I had to make my bed every morning. It was one of my chores and I did it when my allowance was at stake. However as soon as I got to college I rebelled and to this day I am not a bed maker. But, according to Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habit, says making your bed every morning is “correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” Honestly, I know it will only take me one minute to make my bed. I just need to do it.
#6: They tidy up.
I’ve become a neater person as I’ve gotten older. Mess stresses me out more than it used to. I’ve even gotten into the habit of straightening up for 10 minutes every evening so that things are slightly cleaner when I’m going to bed. I definitely understand how clutter can distract the mind, and now that I work from home part-time, I realize that even more. I think taking 5 minutes every morning to hang up clothes, do some dishes, or organize a pile of papers can set me up for a less stressful day.
#7: They take quiet time for themselves.
What? More quiet time as you’re struggling to remain conscious and make it through your morning routine? That sounds like a recipe for falling back to sleep (Mmm….sleep). But maybe it could work? I’ve been warily learning more about meditation. Kevin Rose and Tim Ferriss both swear by it and encourage others to do it. I think some kind of meditative practice is in my future, I just need to do a bit more research before I jump in.
This one is sooo hard for me. My phone is the last thing I look at before I go to bed and the first thing my eyes focus on when I wake up. It’s my alarm, my news source, my to-do list, everything. I know I’m not alone here. One suggestion is to not use your phone as an alarm clock. This is so obvious but it never would have occurred to me. I think if my phone was not my alarm, it would be easier to avoid it for the first few minutes as I’m waking up.
I’m beginning to realize how important a morning routine is to being a productivity rock star the rest of the day. And there’s so much more than just what’s on this list. Obviously you should tailor your routine to your needs, but there is no shortage of advice when it comes to starting your day off right.
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