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10 Don’ts to Avoid Unproductive Mornings

10 Don’ts to Avoid Unproductive Mornings

Aha, the satisfaction of a productive morning is a feeling we all long for. The personal success we feel when our tasks are complete and done well, brings joy to our hearts.

Here are 10 tips to aid you in turning chaotic mornings into super productive ones.

1. Don’t Watch TV or Work/Play on Electronic Devices At Least One Hour Before Bed

” Sleep tight, but not right after looking at something bright.” as reported by By Randy Dotinga HealthDay Reporter( http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/sleep/articles/2011/03/07/using-electronics-before-bed-may-hamper-sleep)

One of the best ways to have a productive morning, is simply by getting a proper night’s sleep the night before.  Sounds easy enough, however, many people suffer restless nights with interrupted sleep. Sleep deprivation will rob you of productivity.  Quality sleep is essential for good health.  One’s ability to think clearly and make rational choices actually is dependent on proper sleep.  A key element that is preventing many from getting a good night’s rest is the use of electronics.The human body naturally produces melatonin, which aids in sleeping,  this can be gravely affected by bright lights.  Begin to practice shutting off all modes of electronics for at least one hour before bedtime and see how this will aid in better sleep, and ultimately, more productive days.

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    2. Don’t Hit the Snooze Button

    Personally, I will never understand why the “snooze button” was invented.  I find it tortuous to have to wake up and doze back to sleep only to be awaken again in a few minute time-span.   Your body begins a new sleep cycle when you hit your snooze alarm.  Instead of getting a few extra winks in, thinking it will help you get through your day, you are actually doing more harm than good. It is best that you wake up with the alarm clock.  If you find that you aren’t rested enough, then you need to readjust the time that your alarm is going off or the time that you go to bed the night before. Always remember, a good night’s rest is essential for defeating unproductive mornings.

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      3. Don’t Over Extend Yourself

      It is very easy to set yourself up for failure by placing too many things on your “to-do” list.  I have found that by limiting your lists of things you want to accomplish in a day, to a smaller number, it allows you to be able to do more and be more productive.  The sense of a huge list of things that are needed to be done, weighing on your mind, adds stress to your day.  When you begin to stress, you lose ability to focus and your levels of productivity are greatly lessened.  Be reasonable with your limits.  You are not super-human. A smaller list accomplished is much better than a longer list only partially completed.

       

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        4. Don’t Check Your Emails First Thing in the Morning

        In this electronic era, it is tempting to pick up your device the minute you wake up to check on what has happened in the world during your sleeping hours.  But don’t!  Resist the temptation to scroll through your emails.  Set appointed times throughout the day that you will check and respond to incoming email.  What happens often times when we begin to open emails, there are demands or requests upon your time. You have a plan for your morning and all of a sudden your morning has the potential of taking a whole different route just by glancing at your emails.

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          5. Don’t Wait Till Morning To …

          One of the very best ways to avoid unproductive mornings is to prepare the night before for the day ahead.  If you were to research the lives and habits of successful men and women, you would find that much of their success lies in preparation.

          •Don’t wait till morning to choose what clothes you will wear that day. Instead, pick out what you will wear, as well as, any shoes and accessories the night before. When morning comes you won’t have to waste precious time pulling things out of your closet and deciding last minute what to wear. You will have ample time to make sure everything is clean, neat, and arranged to your liking. No more rushing around in the morning to find something to wear. You will feel much more prepared to start your day by taking these steps.

          •Don’t wait till morning to make your “to-do” list. Instead, set your lists of goals and tasks the night before. When morning comes you will wake up with  direction. You will be able to start the day off quicker, easier and the end result will be productivity.

          •Don’t wait till morning to make your lunch. Trying to figure out what you want for lunch while slurping your morning coffee doesn’t end well. Instead, after dinner or sometime before bedtime is the best time to pack a healthy lunch for the next day.  Taking a little extra time in the evening will reap rewards the following day. You will have a nutrious lunch to take and one last thing to do early in the morning.

          •Don’t wait till morning to see if you need extra time to get gas for the car, or if you have an early morning meeting, or if you are the carpool driver.  Basically it is best to check and be aware of the next days agenda before you go to sleep. By checking your calendar you will be prepared for any and all aspects of the upcoming day.

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          6.  Don’t Get Sidetracked

          Wake up, have a mission and don’t get sidetracked! This is when your list of objectives for the day come in handy, without a direction you will easily fall into the wander mode and become easily side-tracked. It is surprising how much valuable time that can be eaten up by straying from your goal. When interrupted, one task that could be completed in 30 minutes can turn into a project that takes hours to complete. Practice being single-minded in your tasks. This tip will help make your day more productive.

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            7. Don’t Skip Breakfast

            It is true; breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Yet, many start their day without taking time to eat.  It is a known fact that cars need fuel.  The same for our bodies.  Breakfast is fuel for our bodies. Science has shown that you have a “mental advantage” when you start the day with a healthy breakfast. You will be able to focus and concentrate much better once you have eaten.  This will aid you in problem-solving and making better choices throughout your day.  What better way to make your day productive than by starting it off with a proper breakfast.

             

            8. Don’t Go Into Office At the Same Time As Everyone Else

            I recently was speaking with a VP of a successful company. I told him about this article and asked him some of the things he avoids, in order to have productive mornings. Mr. R said, “Don’t go into the office the same time as everyone else does, go in an half hour earlier.”

            Some of the benefits to arriving early include less distraction, less temptation to socialize with others, and  extra moments to set up for your day. When everyone else comes in, you will have already gotten your day in order. It is true that sometimes you can get so much more accomplished in  small undisturbed frames of time. Take advantage of tips like this to aid in making your morning as productive as possible.

            9. Don’t Waste Time

            If there were an award given for most time wasted I certainly have seen some viable candidates. If you want to have truly productive days, this is a luxury you cannot afford.,”Don’t say you don’t have enough time.

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            You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” says H. Jackson Brown. We all have the same 24 hours in our days, how you use it is what determines your success.

             

            10. Don’t Leave Your House Angry Ever

            Anger is a powerful emotion that everyone experiences at one point or another. If not expressed correctly, anger can lead to very unpleasant consequences. When you are leaving your home in the morning the mood or tone of your day begins. If you leave in a huff, because you are upset, then you will find it difficult to concentrate on the things you need to accomplish that day.

            Anger will cloud your thinking making production difficult. It also is very difficult to be productive when you have unfinished emotional baggage on your mind.  Another important reason you should never leave your house angry is because life is short and uncertain. You have heard stories of people who wished they could take back those angry words spoken in the morning because their loved one never made it home that day. Now they have to live in constant regret.

            Start your day on a positive note to make it productive. Speak kind words of love and affirmation to all around you.

            We will all experience those days where it seems nothing will go right. However, let’s put into practice these 10 tips to help us learn to be more productive than we ever dreamed possible. To sum it up, you need a good night’s sleep, preparations for the day ahead, healthy eating habits and a focused mindset and you will sail through your mornings with more vigor and control. Here’s to living a meaningful and productive life!

             

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            Last Updated on July 17, 2019

            The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

            The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

            What happens in our heads when we set goals?

            Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

            Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

            According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

            Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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            Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

            Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

            The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

            Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

            So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

            Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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            One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

            Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

            Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

            The Neurology of Ownership

            Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

            In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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            But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

            This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

            Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

            The Upshot for Goal-Setters

            So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

            On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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            It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

            On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

            But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

            More About Goals Setting

            Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

            Reference

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