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Things You Do In The Morning That May Be Ruining Your Life

Things You Do In The Morning That May Be Ruining Your Life

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    Don’t go for that morning cup of Joe

    Serious caffeine addicts lumber out of bed and weave their way straight to the bitter bean. This behavior plays havoc with your cortisol levels claims Steven L. Miller, Ph.D; a post-doctoral fellow at Dartmouth. Miller relates this theory to the circadian rhythm of cortisol production that says your morning cortisol level peaks between 8am and 9am. Since cortisol is directly related to alertness, holding out for that first cup at 9am may be advantageous.

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      Don’t get up late

      In his Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Early Bird Really Does Get The Worm”, Biologist Christoph Randler stated that “People whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening.”

      Getting up earlier may well help you achieve better life balance as well.  It’s hard to make time for yourself when the world is demanding things from you.  Mornings can be a time of mental clarity with minimal stress that is conducive for creative work, as well as a time for you that is essential to your mental health.

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        Don’t hit the snooze button

        The snooze button was created in the 1950s but technology has long since disrupted the old-school world of alarm clocks.  It’s now commonplace for people to use their cell phone as their primary alarm.

        The concept of the snooze button is controversial.  Dr. Robert S Rosenberg was quoted in an interview with CNN as saying “When you hit the snooze button repeatedly, you’re doing two negative things to yourself.  First, you’re fragmenting what little extra sleep you’re getting so it is of poor quality. Second, you’re starting to put yourself through a new sleep cycle that you aren’t giving yourself enough time to finish. This can result in persistent grogginess throughout the day.”

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        There is little doubt that the snooze button disrupts your circadian cycle and makes it harder for you to feel awake in the day. Following these instructions from sleepjunkies.com can help you break this disruptive habit.

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          Don’t leave without a real breakfast

          There are endless theories on breakfast. Should I drink a whey shake, a high protein smoothy, or eat only whole grains?  The short answer is that it doesn’t matter all that much.  Just eat something.

          According to the American Heart Association men who skip breakfast have a 27% higher risk of coronary heart disease compared with men who do not.  An article in the International Journal of Food and Nutrition extended upon these thoughts with the finding that individuals who consumed a cereal breakfast each day were less depressed, less emotionally distressed and had lower levels of perceived stress than those who did not eat breakfast each day.

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          Buckle up and eat your cereal.

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            Don’t jump straight on the cell

            Roughly one third of us wake up thinking about our cell phones. They are, after all, one of our major sources of communication with our family, work, and friends.

            The new normal is to reach for your phone the minute you climb out of bed. Flipping through your messages, Facebook, and calendar may appear to reduce your stress, but the reality is you are interrupting one of the most important times of the day for relaxation.

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            The race for the phone is driven by addictive behaviors that come from tapping a small screen and gaining an immediate response.  The iPhone presents a conditional stimulus that is not at all unlike the one given by Pavlov to his famous dogs.

            Try putting the cell down until after your breakfast and allow your morning to be a time of mental preparation for the day.  After all, most messages can wait.

            Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.imgix.net

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            Colin Rhodes

            Chief Technology Officer

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            Last Updated on March 13, 2019

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

            1. Work on the small tasks.

            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

            2. Take a break from your work desk.

            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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            3. Upgrade yourself

            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

            4. Talk to a friend.

            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

            7. Read a book (or blog).

            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

            8. Have a quick nap.

            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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            9. Remember why you are doing this.

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

            10. Find some competition.

            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

            11. Go exercise.

            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

            12. Take a good break.

            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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