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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life

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9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life

Having enormous goals for your life is exhilarating, exciting… and at times, utterly terrifying. If you create daily habits to automate certain aspects of your life, however, you’ll create a sturdy foundation to take risks from. Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty, calls these habits “certainty anchors”. They add a sense of reliability to your day so no matter how many risks you take, your habits will always be there to depend on.

How to Develop Daily Habits

As tempting as it is to try and change more than one habit at a time to reach your goals more quickly, the opposite is true. Doing poorly with one habit will have a domino effect on the habits you’re doing well with. The house of cards will topple over and the level of discouragement you’ll feel will make it that much harder to get back on your feet.

Here’s the habit-building process that’s working for me:

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  • Focus on building one habit per month.
  • Don’t give yourself a deadline: Some daily habits will be easier to build than others, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes to build the habit, as long as you build it.
  • Commit fully and don’t back down.
  • Go easy on yourself if you stumble. Instead of getting angry with yourself, use it as a learning experience. Figure out what caused you to stumble, deal with any external influences causing you problems, and try again.
  • Each time you hit a milestone—one week, one month, six months, etc.—reward yourself to stay motivated. How is completely up to you.
  • Once you’re able to complete the habit without having to think about it, it’s time to move onto establishing your next habit.

Here are daily habits that will make an immediate difference in your lifestyle and help you reach your goals sans Xanax prescription:

1. Visualize

I used to find it hard to fall asleep until I began visualizing how I wanted the next day to go. Instead of my mind wandering from topic to topic, focusing on what “might” go wrong, I started focusing on what “would” go right. If you not only list in your mind what you’re going to do the next day but visualize yourself doing it, this matter-of-fact planning process helps keep uncertainty at bay (and the next day goes much smoother!).

2. Define Your Priorities

One of the big reasons why you’re not reaching your goals is likely to do with how much you have on your plate, professionally and personally. It’s likely you’re trying to do too many things at the same time. Ask yourself: what are your ultimate goals? Once you’ve defined them, drop everything that doesn’t cater to them. You can always come back to these things later, after you’ve established what’s most important to you.

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3. Get Up Earlier

I now get all of my important work done before everyone else is even awake—you would not believe the difference this makes! There’s no better feeling than knowing no matter what happens for the rest of the day, you’ve accomplished what you set out to. Bring on the interruptions and distractions; you’ll be armed and ready!

4. Create a Morning Routine

Wake up and do the same things in the same order before you start your day: have a glass of water, exercise, read, etc. Do things that you normally don’t have time for that make you happy. Easing into your day instead of rushing to get started not only depletes your stress level significantly, but puts you in a proactive frame of mind for the remainder of the day.

5. Drink Water

Having a glass of water first thing in the morning helps rid your body of toxins that have been stored overnight. Not only does it aid your digestive tract, it also boosts your metabolism, helping you feel energized sooner.

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6. Singletask

Only 2% of the world’s population can successfully multitask. The rest of us posers are serial-tasking: flitting from one task to another, nudging ourselves forward with each instead of focusing on one at a time. I broke this habit by choosing one item on my to-do list, then hiding it in a drawer until I was done. It’s a tough habit to break, but once you do your mind feels clearer, you feel less restless, and the quality of your work skyrockets across the board.

7. Go Minimal

External clutter leads to mental clutter. Do a clean sweep of your home and get rid of everything you no longer use or have never used. By the end of my own clean sweep last year, it looked like I’d been robbed! There’s no better feeling than knowing you actually need and use everything you’re surrounded by. Bonus: you also save time by not having as much to clean!

8. Set Online Boundaries

It’s too easy to get sucked into an online world of status updates, memes, list posts, and videos. Before you know it, over half your day is gone and you have nothing to show for it. This is especially difficult for those of us who work on the Internet. One of the best daily habits I’ve established is not checking my e-mail or social media accounts first thing in the morning. Create specific windows of time for your online tasks. It’s okay to check your e-mail periodically in case you receive urgent requests from your boss or co-workers, but if you check and there aren’t any, abort and get back to your day.

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9. Create an Evening Routine

Your evening routine is just as important as your morning routine, as it prepares your body for a solid night’s sleep. Create a relaxing routine that starts about an hour before you go to bed, and use it as your body’s “signal” that it’s time to go to sleep.

Featured photo credit: Content Pixie via unsplash.com

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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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

Reference

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