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10 Things You Need To Remind Yourself Of To Begin A Brighter Day

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10 Things You Need To Remind Yourself Of To Begin A Brighter Day

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what’s needed in order to begin your day in the best way possible. Doing exercise, checking your emails, not checking your emails, having a shower, sleeping in, having a light breakfast, having a full breakfast…the list goes on and on until it’s an unmanageable mess and you can’t decide what to do one way or another.

Want to know how to begin your day? We’ve compiled some of the best things to do and remind yourself of to make sure you begin your day on the right note and keep having a great, bright, and positive day.

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1. Remember that it’s a brand new day

Upon waking up, a positive way to begin your day is to simply acknowledge the fact that this is a brand new day, unlike any you will ever have again or will have ever had previously. Some days, the bravest thing we can do is wake up and face the world, and it’s made much easier by the fact that every day is the chance to do something right, to be the best version of yourself you can be. You can work towards those goals of yours, those dreams, and you can achieve anything you want in those same hours as are available to everyone else. Begin your day with the knowledge of that fact and go forth into a brighter day feeling indestructible.

2. Have a proper breakfast

One of the best ways to begin your day is to actually sit down and have a proper breakfast, rather than rushing around and either skipping the meal altogether or grabbing something on the go. Wake up early and carve out the time for a breakfast that will act as the proper fuel for your day ahead. There’s something incredibly satisfying about sitting down with a full and enjoyable breakfast you can eat and savor—a full English, some yogurt and honey, scrambled eggs, orange juice—whatever really attracts your taste buds in the morning, and if you want to have a brighter day, go ahead and enjoy a piece of the day entirely for yourself.

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3. Spend time in the sun

Or just generally outside, if preferable, because let’s be honest, the weather isn’t always pleasant. The point is that if you want to begin your day in a positive manner, you should spend time outside in nature or at least in fresh air. Numerous studies have shown that spending time out in nature, or even living close to nature, can positively affect a person’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It’s advisable for everyone to try and spend a little time with nature, even if it’s only for five minutes during a lunch break. Go sit out in a park or take a walk in a forest. It’ll be reinvigorating and rejuvenating and will help you continue your day.

4. Check your emails as little as possible

We’re all experts at checking our emails at numerous, regular intervals and often it proves to be such a disruptive time-vampire that it can make even the process of beginning your day much more broken. One of the best ways to have a brighter day is to make sure that you’re not constantly running back and forth from the altars of Outlook and Gmail. A lot of the time you won’t be needing something specific and it’ll be wasting time for the sake of wasting time, purely out of habit. Limit yourself to checking your emails every half hour, or even better, every hour. You’ll feel more freedom and will enjoy having more time and focus throughout the day.

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5. Smile at everyone

Smiling is good for you. It’s a scientific fact that smiling helps improve positive feelings, mental health, and has plenty of physiological benefits, even if you start off faking that smile. Let’s face it, the world can suck a lot of the time, but putting a smile on your face can be the perfect way to begin your day on the right foot. Smiling encourages positivity and also helps affect other people. Several studies have shown that smiling at other people makes them much more likely to smile back, a reciprocal gesture developed to foster social inclusivity through our millennia of evolution. Essentially, smiling and smiling back helps you feel more positive and generally better, something we’re designed to do. What better way to begin your day?

6. Read something good

Begin your day by reading something good, something that makes you smile or makes you think, because nothing will wake up your mind and inspire you to have a great day more than reading something you love or that interests you. Reading widens your horizons, focuses your mind, and enlightens you to new ideas, new thoughts, and new stories that can help positively shape you. Read a chapter of a novel, read a magazine article that caught your eye. Read it on the bus to work, read it during your lunch, and use it as a break and as a way to have a brighter, better day.

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7. Have something sweet

Having something sweet might not be the best idea first thing in the morning (see tip 2 for some breakfast suggestions, because three donuts does not a good breakfast make) but planning a treat throughout the day is a perfect motivator to help you begin your day. It doesn’t even have to be sweet—treat yourself to something nice and that is guaranteed to make you happy and smile. Keep it in your back pocket and make it a part of your schedule so that you get to begin your day in a positive way and with at least one treat set for later.

8. Use a to-do list

To-do lists are the new kind of social accessory that everyone seems to be carrying around with them, or at least the people I know. To-do lists are extremely useful, however, and they can certainly help you begin your day on a bright and positive note when utilized right. Preparing a to-do list the night before can be extremely beneficial, as it allows you to assess your goals for the day, state your objectives and determine which tasks need accomplishing. It also provides some much-needed mental space; once you’ve jotted everything down, it’s safe and on paper or electronically stored. Use that to-do list to begin your day right so that you wake up happier, more at ease, and in a much more relaxed state, allowing you to have a bright day.

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9. Have fun plans

Getting off of work gives a rush of euphoria that nearly everyone feels, and one of the best ways to begin your day is to ensure you have some awesome plans lined up for when you get off work or finish all your duties for the day. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be base jumping or dinner with Beyoncé, but having something positive, fun and enjoyable waiting for you at the end of the day can make the beginning of your day infinitely easier. Make a date with yourself for an evening of reading, TV, and takeout; go out dancing and drinking with some work colleagues and friends; go see a film on a date; absolutely anything! It ensures you can begin your day with a positive end goal and a treat at the end of things to make it all worthwhile.

10. Get plenty of sleep

Lastly, the best way to begin your day brighter and happier is to get plenty of sleep. Yes, I know there’s a culture of ‘let’s see how little sleep I need to function’ and wearing your three hours of sleep like a badge of honor, but getting such a small amount of shut-eye can lead to a multitude of health problems and a complete shutdown of any sense of healthy productivity or well-being in general. The best way to begin your day? Make sure it’s been preceded by a good amount of restful sleep so you can ready yourself for a productive and brighter day.

More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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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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