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8 Morning Habits To Enhance Your Productivity

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8 Morning Habits To Enhance Your Productivity

Here are some of my favorite ways to have a productive day by starting your day with the right habits. Try to adjust your morning habits to set yourself up for a successful, extremely productive day. Hopefully these methods will help you as much as they have helped me.

1. Fuel your body with an amazing breakfast

Have you ever noticed how some mornings you feel great and ready to tackle the world, and other days you have a mid-day slump? Having a healthy breakfast can help keep you feeling energized. Avoiding excessive sugar in the morning can help prevent a mid-day crash. If your mornings are usually pretty rushed, do everything you can in advance. Fueling your body with a healthy breakfast can help set you up for success all day long.

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2. Kickstart your day with a plan

After your healthy breakfast, launch into your day with a plan. I believe it’s very important to plan out your day. It doesn’t have to be a totally rigid schedule, but a tentative schedule with time blocks to accomplish certain tasks seems to work great. It works best for me to take a few minutes at the end of every day to write out my plan for the next day. When I have a plan for my day, it helps me get started on my goals and priorities immediately the next morning, rather than lounging around and saying “I don’t feel like it today.”

3. Eat the frog

One of my favorite productivity quotes is by Mark Twain, who said, “Eat a live frog first thing every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” If you’re like me, there are certain tasks you tend to procrastinate because they are scary or overwhelming. The task you dread on your schedule is your frog. When you complete your dreaded task (aka eat the frog) right away in the morning, you’ll start your day feeling accomplished and have the momentum and confidence you need to get other tasks done. Plus, they’ll all be much more enjoyable to you than the frog you just ate.

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4. Try the Pomodoro technique

The what? Pomodoro means ‘tomato’ in Italian. The man who invented this technique used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato to do the technique. It’s a simple concept but incredibly helpful and I love using this technique in my morning routine. To do it, choose a task you want to accomplish, then set your kitchen timer for 25 minutes. Then, focus intently on the task until the timer beeps. To learn more, check out this article about the Pomodoro technique.

5. Use Parkinson’s Law

One of my favorite productivity hacks that I use all the time is Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. In other words, you greatly increase your effort to complete a task when you have less time to get it done. Chances are, you’ve used Parkinson’s Law in your life without even realizing it. Think about how hard you work to finish a paper when it’s due in a few hours, or how you can make your house spotless very quickly when an unexpected visitor says they’re coming over soon.

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To be more productve in your daily life, use Parkinsons’ Law. Set deadlines for yourself to get things done efficiently. Realizing you have limited time delegated to each specific task will help improve your focus on the task and skyrocket your productivity as you work on that task.

6. Turn off distractions

Do you roll out of bed and immediately start scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, listen to your voicemails, or check your email? I used to do that, but this year have made some big changes in my morning routine and now I turn off distractions and start my day focused on my goals. When you immediately check your social media accounts when you wake up, you’re starting your day off reactively. You are then focused on reacting and responding, rather than being proactive and focused on taking action steps toward your goals. Personally, I’ve found I am much more productive in the mornings when I turn off distractions, focus on my goals, and then have a specific time set aside to check and respond to emails and social media messages.

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7. Choose an accountability partner

Choose someone to help keep you accountable to have a more productive morning routine. It doesn’t have to be someone with the same goals as you. Even if your accountability partner has different interests and aspirations, you can both help encourage each other to stay on task, and set up times to check in with each other to report that you’ve accomplished your daily or weekly goals.

8. Spend time each day working on a big goal

Set aside time each morning to work toward a big long-term goal you have. Even if it’s just a few minutes to start, it will gradually add up to major progress over time. Also, when you take little steps every day toward your long-term goal, your confidence will grow with each small accomplishment you experience.

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Now I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite productivity hacks for your morning routine?

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

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