Are you, like many of us, reaching for the coffee and chocolate every afternoon? As the day goes on, it can be difficult to focus and get things done, because mental reserves tire in much the same way muscles do. This is why early risers are often one step ahead, less stressed and happier overall, as studies have shown.
The key is to utilise your mornings in the best possible way, to get the most from your day, and go from there.
Studies show early risers feel energetic and more productive.
1. Start with enjoyment
How do you plan for leaping, rather than stumbling, out of bed? Start each day with an activity you love to do. For many people, mild outdoor exercise is the way to go, as the fresh air, scenery and movement immediately increases energy and revitalises tired eyes. You might like quiet time with a cup of tea on the balcony, or a chat over breakfast with your family. Whatever you choose, getting up early gives you more time for yourself, which sets the foundations for productivity and positivity.
2. Limit all distractions
Distractions only serve to fill your mind with unnecessary clutter and thoughts, making it hard to be productive. One of the most common distractions, is the habit of putting the TV on in the morning. It’s a sneaky time-waster that eats into moments better spent getting things done. When you jump right into the tasks at hand, know that you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on the news later, when your body most needs to relax.
Stop multitasking to improve productivity.
Rather than switching from one task to another, methodically choosing to complete one at a time enhances productivity.
3. Stop multitasking
While multitasking sometimes gives you a sense of accomplishment, it’s actually scientifically proven to impede creative thought, waste time and lead to avoidable mistakes. You become less likely to ignore distractions, because you’re basically training your brain out of focusing on the present moment. This includes rushing lunch or a coffee break, while still working. Rather than switching from one task to another, methodically choosing to complete one at a time enhances productivity.
4. Keep a list of small tasks
You know those times when the internet is frustratingly slow or you can’t go out until the plumber arrives? When you keep a list of tasks that take half an hour or less, you won’t waste valuable time drumming your fingers and waiting. Pop the washing on, clean up your desktop or prepare for a meeting tomorrow. You’ll be thankful all those little things are already done, at the end of the day.
Saying “no” isn’t the selfish term you may think it is. The best way to help others, is to invest time in yourself, first. If you’re stressed, anxious and too busy because you’re running around saying “yes” to every request, chances are you’ll make mistakes, forget things and actually create complications.
Productivity is all about prioritising, clarity and energy. When you wake up early, start the day positively and remain present in the moment, you’ll be astonished at what you can achieve.
Nicole Leigh West
Nicole Leigh West is the author of fiction novel, 'The Gypsy Trail' and an internationally recognised travel and lifestyle writer.