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10 Don’ts to Avoid Unproductive Mornings

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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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            More by this author

            Charlene Tops

            Charlene is a certified life coach who is passionate about writing, speaking and teaching.

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            Last Updated on October 7, 2021

            Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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            Are You Addicted to Productivity?

            “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

            Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

            “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

            Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

            Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

            “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

            This is my mantra:

            I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

            But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

            Addiction to Productivity is Real

            Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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            “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

            Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

            “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

            Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

            “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

            “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

            “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

            There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

            Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

            By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

            Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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            Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

            Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

            Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

            The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

            Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

            • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
            • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
            • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
            • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
            • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
            • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
            • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

            The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

            Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

            Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

            1. Set Limits

            Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

            For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

            2. Create a Not-to-Do List

            Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

            3. Be Vulnerable

            By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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            4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

            Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

            Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

            There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

            5. Don’t Be a Copycat

            Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

            That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

            6. Say Yes to Less

            Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

            That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

            Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

            7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

            “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

            “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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            • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
            • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
            • Establish realistic goals.
            • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
            • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
            • Hold yourself accountable.
            • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
            • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

            8. Simplify

            Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

            The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

            9. Learn How to Relax

            “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

            “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

            “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

            But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

            • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
            • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
            • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
            • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
            • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
            • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
            • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
            • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
            • Visit a massage therapist.
            • Just breathe.

            “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

            It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

            Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

            Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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