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How To Get Up Early When Mornings Make You Cry

How To Get Up Early When Mornings Make You Cry

Admit it. You’ve clicked on articles with titles like “10 Outrageously Successful People Share Their Morning Routines” and “How to Create The Best Morning Routine Ever.” You nod along enthusiastically to the admittedly sage (but often pretty obvious) advice contained within. Stop hitting snooze. Exercise. Eat a healthy breakfast. Meditate. Maybe you even follow that advice for a day or two. But a few days later, you’re back to your terrible morning habits.

You know what? That’s okay. Even the most basic morning routine only consistently works for morning people. And whether you’re a true morning person is determined by your genetics (or, in science class-speak, your sleep chronotype is genetically determined).

The rest of us have to live with snoozing too long and then rushing out the door with mismatched socks and un-ironed clothes. But even if you can’t change your fundamental self, you can optimize your habits to work with your genetics rather than against them.

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Here are some key habits to foster that will make your mornings a million times more pleasant:

1. Find ways to prepare the night before.

Spend a portion of every evening preparing absolutely everything you need for the next day. You know you’re going to be awake until at least midnight anyway. Why not check tomorrow’s weather report and choose your outfit during that time?

Consider purchasing a small garment rack to hang your next day’s clothes. The monetary investment and a prominent placement in your bedroom will encourage you to use it. And for those who work out, exercise before dinner. If you shower before bed, you can even steam your clothes by hanging them next to the shower to kill wrinkles, eliminating the need to iron and allowing you to sleep in later.

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2. Start your morning with something you love.

Instead of waking up and dreading the moment your feet have to touch the floor, find one quick thing to do every morning that fills you with joy and replaces hitting snooze.

This can vary widely by individual. Check your Instagram feed in bed. Read an inspirational work. Brew a cup of tea and skim the news. Heck, keep a cookie jar on your kitchen counter and enjoy a single cookie. But no matter what, strictly limit yourself to just 10-15 minutes of “joy time”–even if it means setting a timer.

3. Set reminders for your morning brain.

When you’re not a morning person it can be hard to remember to brush your teeth, let alone bring everything you need for the day. Stick reminders on the inside doorknob of your main exit using a Post-it or opaque masking tape and Sharpie with messages such as, “Take leftovers from fridge for lunch” or “Bring laptop to work.”

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Your mind can be fuzzy first thing in the morning, so this is a great way to counteract forgetfulness as you head out the door.

4. Work out a more flexible schedule.

Negotiate a later start time with your employer (maybe by pushing back your end time). Not everyone will have such an understanding boss, but if you’re a top performer, you could make the argument about why you would be a more productive and happier employee with a later start.

Get creative about finding an agreement. If you absolutely need to be working by 8 a.m., see if you can work from home until lunch so at least you can avoid the chaos of morning rush hour.

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5. Find a job you enjoy getting up for.

If you never feel enthused to go to work, chances are you haven’t found a career that lights you up…yet.

If you haven’t done the real work of exploring different careers, now is the time to start. Visit career websites, download helpful career exploration apps, and invest serious time and effort into this critical area of your life. People make their living doing an astounding range of things, and if you explore in the right places, you’ll find something that speaks to your individual interests and passions. Then getting up in the morning won’t be such a pain.

If you’re a night owl, chances are you’ll never love to get up with the sun, but you can make the process a little easier on your pre-caffeinated brain. It just takes some time developing the right habits for you.

What other tips are there for night owls who need to get up early in the morning? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Workandapix via pixabay.com

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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