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

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.

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.

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Chris Haigh

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

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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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