To put it simply, sometimes life gets in the way and stuff happens – and it’s usually during the busiest times in your life. Your motivation slips as the stress builds and life seems to pile more burdens on your shoulders as you watch all of that hard work you put into getting caught up fall to the wayside. What’s worse, you end up creating bad habits which further affect your mood and productivity.
I’ve been there. More times than I can count.
But, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can build healthy habits just as easily as you built the bad habits, except these healthy habits will change your life for the better, keeping you focused, less stressed and more productive!
DEVELOP A MORNING ROUTINE
I believe a morning routine is essential to set up your day for productivity and success. That’s why highly successful people start their day off right by developing morning rituals. It helps them accomplish more in their day in less amount of time. This is important because the longer your day drags on, the more fatigued you become, thus completing tasks earlier in the day will affect your efficacy level and mood.
As Mark Twain put it:
Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
Although I don’t encourage you to take Twain’s advice literally, we can learn from what he implies: to take on the biggest tasks first so the rest of your day is open to greater things.
Or, you could follow Steve Job’s advice, to look in the mirror every morning and ask yourself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
Whatever you choose to implement into your daily routine, as long as you tailor it to your needs and stay consistent, you’re setting your day up for success.
MAKE YOUR BED
Making your bed allows you to start the day achieving goals right out of the box, which sets the tone for the rest of the day.
One of my favorite talks is by U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven. He said, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.”
Making your bed starts the day off with a task completed, encouraging a cycle of more completed tasks, until you feel accomplished. It reinforces the idea that once you have completed smaller tasks, the bigger tasks seem less overwhelming and easier to take on.
Lastly, in the words of McRaven: “A made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
GET 8-10 HOURS OF SLEEP
As someone with crippling insomnia, I know first-hand how hard it can be to shut your brain off after a long day. I struggle to fall sleep to this day. And, although everyone says it, it’s true that sleep is very important. According to the National Institute of Health, chronic sleep deprivation can negatively affect your memory, focus, speech and learning. If it goes on for too long it can even give you brain damage, increase your risk of chronic illnesses and a premature death. Yikes!
On the contrary, getting plenty of rest will improve your memory, eliminate brain fog and increase clarity.
There are plenty of cell phone apps out there that can track your sleep schedule and emit certain sounds or hypnotherapy methods to help you get a good night’s rest, so play with whichever ones work best for you.
Meal prepping honestly changed my life. Not only has meal-prepping helped me cut down on costs (eating out is expensive!) but it also holds me accountable to eat healthy. I also just love how convenient it is to grab my lunch out of the fridge on the way to work or school and not have to worry about the amount of time it would have taken me if I had to make a meal on the spot – talk about time-consuming!
In addition to saving time and money, meal prepping also adds variety to your plate because when you plan your meals in advance for the week, you can see where you might want to add a different dish or try something new.
Science has shown us that reading has some amazing health benefits, including helping with depression, reducing stress, increasing intelligence, expanding vocabulary and preserving memory.
My favorite books to read are self-help books like “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero or “The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson.
As a journalist, a lot of times I will read Pulitzer prize-winning investigative articles to spark creativity and motivation when I have to write an in-depth article. A lot of times I found that, subconsciously, my writing style starts to match the author of the article, which I can use to strengthen my own work.
Reading is one thing you can do that just can’t go wrong. No matter what you read, try to read daily. I promise you will see a huge change in how you communicate with and understand others.
Another thing that has changed my life is creating a budget. I created a budget for myself after seeing how much I spent eating out. I couldn’t believe how much I was spending on coffee, junk food, restaurants and the list goes on!
Here are a few reasons I believe budgets are beneficial:
- It helps you manage your money more wisely
- It keeps you mindful of your income and expenses
- It helps you reach your financial goals
- It helps you pay off debt, loans, etc.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated, either. I used to think that budgeting was this hard, time-consuming process. But, it doesn’t have to be.
I simply gather my pay stubbs, bill statements, receipts and credit card transactions and divide them into small envelopes in a file folder. I use a budget printable to line out how much I spent in each category for the month, how much income I am making each month vs monthly bills and my goals for the next month.
This is an efficient way to be honest with yourself about your spending as you will truly see where your money is going, and this will encourage you to be wiser about your spending.
I simply print off a budget worksheet every month and fill it in but there are also plenty of digital options to help you manage your finances.
LISTEN TO INSPIRATIONAL + SELF-HELP PODCASTS
I am a geek for anything self-help, whether it’s books, podcasts, Youtube channels, blogs – you name it.
When I am on that work grind, blog hustling, or on my way to do errands, I will pop on a podcast playlist to get in the right mood for a productive day.
Comment below this post what your favorite inspirational podcasts are!
Meditating is scientifically proven to be beneficial to your health and well-being in so many ways.
The National Institute of Health reports that around 8% of the US adult population uses meditation.
According to an article in Psychology Today, meditation decreases stress, depression, anxiety, increases your ability to focus, multitask, improves memory and much more.
There is something truly beautiful about finding peace and being in the present moment in this chaotic, fast-paced and rushed world we live in.
So, burn some incense or grab some essential oils, sit down and renew your mind.
Writing is my therapy. I am much better at communicating my thoughts and emotions through written words as opposed to speaking out loud.
Just as reading expands your vocabulary and improves sentence fluency, I think writing adds another element in that it allows you to be creative and express yourself.
I often hear people telling me that they don’t have any writing talent or that they can’t write an essay to save their life. But, I’m not asking you to write some scholarly thesis, nor do I think that you need to write lengthy essays to be considered a “writer.”
I truly believe that anyone can be a writer, especially since there are millions of different writing styles and niches to fill everyone’s needs.
All you really need is a notebook, or a journal, and a pen.
I promise that if you hash out all of your feelings on paper every day, you will feel a weight of emotion lift off of your shoulders, and you may discover new things about yourself too.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
There is no doubt I am a master procrastinator and have skill in getting something done last-minute. However, this year I started a habit of planning every major event or task in my life two weeks ahead and can I just say – life-changing!
It took a while, but getting into the habit of planning everything ahead of time has helped me be less stressed and more organized in my daily life.
HAVE ONE G.Y.S.T. DAY
A GYST day is one day out of the week for getting your life together and taking care of the things that you missed during the week.
My GYST day is always on Sundays because It’s the best day to prep for the week ahead.
To de-clutter specifically, I use the Kon-Marie method from Marie Kondo’s book: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” After reading this book, you will be much more mindful of your belongings and how they affect your atmosphere.
One big takeaway from the book is to put all of your clothes in the middle of the room, hold each clothing item in your hand and ask yourself, “Does this spark true joy in my life?” And if you can honestly say that it doesn’t, throw it in the give-away pile.
This has helped me get rid of clothes that I was keeping out of emotional guilt or because I would think, “well maybe someday I will wear these.” No, no you won’t and you know it. Give it to someone who needs it more.
SMELL THE ROSES
Give yourself a much needed break. Take time to unwind, clear your mind and refresh. I used to feel so guilty if I let myself break away for even a little bit, as if I was letting myself down by not constantly working on something.
So here is a note to myself and to all of you… It is okay to take a break once in a while. It is okay to do nice things for yourself.
Just sit back, watch your favorite show, pour yourself a nice drink, burn candles and relax. You will thank me later.
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
– Anatole France