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Last Updated on October 2, 2018

Want to Feel More Energized Throughout the Day? Start With This

Want to Feel More Energized Throughout the Day? Start With This

Do you feel busy and tired or exhausted all the time? Or, do you have trouble making the most of your time because you struggle to stay alert during the day?

Whether it’s due to a lack of sleep or your mind being overly preoccupied, many of us wish we had more energy and concentration to get through our day.

Some of us choose the coffee route, downing cups of coffee throughout the day to stay alert and productive. Others choose to sleep the weekend away in hopes of ‘recharging’ our bodies.

But what if I told you that these are all temporary, if not ineffective, ways of boosting energy?

Starting Your Morning on the Right Note

Instead, if you truly wish to be more productive on a day to day basis, you need to find a sustainable way of renewing your body’s energy levels daily. And it’s actually really simple.

It starts from the moment you wake up. That’s right, did you know that starting the morning on the right note will determine how productive you are for the rest of your day? Yet, many people don’t see the importance or need to have a morning routine.

Most mornings, we wake up likely still feeling tired from the night before, and we may even struggle to get out of bed. If you hit snooze, you end up rushing when you finally wake.

To many, getting up and out of bed is really all that is needed every morning. But how you wake up each day and your morning routine or lack thereof, dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life.

Introducing the Morning Routine

Hal Elrod, ultramarathoner and author of The Miracle Morning says that focused and productive mornings carry over to successful days, and ultimately successful lives. This is because having a routine creates structure, eliminates distractions, and eventually forms a habit where it becomes automatic, so that you don’t even have to think about it. Another great reason to create a morning routine is to avoid mental fatigue.

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We often struggle to get through the day because we only have a certain amount of energy and willpower when we wake up each morning, and it slowly gets drained away with decisions as the day goes by. This is especially true if you’re making hundreds of small decisions in the morning that will affect how you make decisions for the remainder of the day. It’s no wonder you’re struggling to focus in the office by 4pm. So, with this in mind, try and have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible regarding routine.

Next, I’ll show you how to implement an ideal morning routine that will allow you to systematically get through the morning quickly and effortlessly. It’s a framework to help you plan and prioritize different actions that will help you to feel energized and conserve as much energy as possible for the rest of the day (where the real action takes place).

But bear in mind, it’s not a schedule. Instead, it’s about finding the best order to do different actions, that will help you feel more energized throughout the day to give you maximum productivity.

Prepare Your Body

So let’s start with the first part of the morning routine – preparing your body. Preparing your body in the morning means jump starting your body’s engine so that the energy that you have accumulated from your sleep is ready to be unleashed for the day ahead.

A common belief is that if you get enough sleep you will automatically feel refreshed the next morning. But, I’m also sure that many of you are aware this isn’t always the case.

So what I want to show you is that there are other concrete steps that you can take every morning to get your body and energy levels started.

Take a runner for example. Before a race, a runner usually warms up, maybe with a leisure run or something to get their muscles and body ready for the actual competition. So similarly, after a good night’s sleep, our body has a build up of energy that is ready to be used for the new day. But, if we don’t ‘warm up’ or jump start our engine, we will not be able to effectively use that energy.

The benefits of preparing your body when you awake are that you become more alert, your body’s metabolism starts kicking, and you are able to use your energy more effectively. We’ve condensed 7 key actions that you can incorporate into your morning to awaken your body for the day ahead.

1. Wake up on time

The first is to wake up on time everyday. This helps you to regulate your sleep cycle with your body’s internal clock.

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2. Open your curtains

Next, open your curtains the moment you get up. Natural light exposure helps to kickstart your body’s internal clock.

3. Make your bed

It’s as simple as that! Making your bed not only ensures you’re out of bed, but it also demonstrates discipline and order.

4. Rehydrate your body

The fourth action to take, an important one that is often neglected, is to rehydrate your body with at least 2 glasses, or 16 oz of water, the first thing after you walk out of your bedroom. Staying hydrated not only helps to kickstart your metabolism, but more importantly, after 6-8 hours without any liquid your body needs to rehydrate.

5. Do some light stretches

Once rehydration is out of the way, next do some light stretches or a quick 10 minute workout. Morning stretches or a light workout helps to wake you up from grogginess and limber up. A little physical activity also improves mental health, and reduces tension or body aches that might have developed from the days before.

6. Hop into the shower

Once you’re done with your light workout, it’s time to hop into the shower! I know this may sound almost redundant, but you’ll be surprised to find that some people do not take showers in the morning! Instead, they may take them at night before bed.

Taking a shower in the morning helps your body to wake up and it’s always good to start the day feeling and smelling fresh!

7. Have a good breakfast

Last but not least, before you leave for work, it’s important to have a good breakfast. Eating a nutritious breakfast will no doubt help to give an added boost to your energy levels.

Also, you won’t be famished when it’s near lunchtime which means you will have better control of not overeating during lunch.

Organizing Your Mind

What we’ve just gone through are ways to prepare your body physically in the morning. But there’s a little more that you can do to ensure you get the most of your day without feeling sluggish or exhausted. And that is learning to organize your mind–thoughts, actions and outstanding plans, so that your energy is prioritized for the day.

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A common mindset that many people have is to just take things as they come, or wing-it throughout the day. But did you know that simply taking an extra 3-5 mins every morning to do intentional reflections and planning for the day can save you hours later in the day?

It also gives you motivation and additional drive to do more with the day ahead. Every minute spent in planning saves as many as ten minutes in execution. So if it takes about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan out your day, this small investment of time will save you up to two hours in wasted time and diffused effort through the day.

1. Start by doing a 5 minute reflection.

This can be done while you’re having your breakfast if you want to save on time. Reflecting helps you to clear your mind, and allows you to think about the long term goals that you’ve set for yourself. Use this time to ask yourself if you’re nearer to achieving those goals.

Write down your thoughts if need be, as it’s a stream of consciousness of whatever is on your mind, and essentially a brain dump on ideas for business, life, and other decisions. Whatever you want to clear your mind of will get your brain working and thinking more creatively.

Once you’re done, the next thing to help clean up in your mind, is to look over your to-do list. If you have a digital to-do list on your mobile device, scan through it to see what are the tasks that you need to accomplish today.

Are there any existing errands or tasks not yet complete? Prioritize them so you can see what is most urgent. This will only take a minute or two to declutter.

2. When that is done, you can now plan out your day.

Always put the most important task first so that you ensure it gets done. Try not to book any meetings or appointments until late in the afternoon if possible, as your mornings are usually the sacred hours of peak productivity.

You want to be able to use the full bar of energy you have, and the morning caffeine (if you drink coffee) towards the most important tasks.

3. Once you’ve completed the sorting and organizing, it’s time to do some leisure reading.

This can be a quick 15-20 minutes of catching up on the daily news, browsing articles online or reading a book. By doing some reading in the morning, you’re fueling your mind with knowledge and inspiration.

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Reading books on mindset, personal growth, and business for example, can also give you inspiration and gets your creative juices flowing for the day.

If you don’t feel like you have the time to do this at home, try doing it while commuting to work if you take the public transport. If you walk or drive to work, you can try listening to podcasts or audiobooks as an alternative.

4. Before you leave the house, pack healthy snacks to take to work.

As trivial as this may sound, being prepared is part of organizing your mind to ready yourself for the day ahead.

Having snacks at the office will help to fill in your pre and post lunch gaps, and that will help ensure you have a constant supply of energy throughout the day and avoid afternoon slump.

5. Lastly, leave plenty of time for your daily commute.

Leave room for potential traffic delays or transportation breakdowns so that you don’t come in to work feeling flustered or rushed, as that will dampen your mood, which is a big energy sucker.

Kickstart Your Day with the Right Routines

I hope you’ll agree that having a morning routine is the best way to kickstart and ensure that you have a constant flow of energy to help you stay productive throughout the day.

With every new routine takes practice and time, you may want to do a little bit of trial and error with the suggested routine to get comfortable with it.

Having a constant flow of energy is vital to help you stay alert and in control throughout the day. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to do more just because you’re lacking in energy or concentration.

Besides having a morning routine, there are other routines that you can try throughout different times of the day that will help you to generate or conserve energy.

As your productivity is closely associated to your energy levels, it’s important to find new ways of keeping your body energized. If you’d like to learn about the other routines, why not subscribe to our newsletter today?

Featured photo credit: Japheth Mast via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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