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4 Things You Should Not Do For A Productive Morning

4 Things You Should Not Do For A Productive Morning

Some people use their mornings as if it was their last glimmer of freedom before their heinous day begins. Don’t be that person. The morning is your time to leverage the rest of your day, it is not an island in time. The morning is the foundation of your sane and productive day. By constructing a sane morning that is linked to the rest of your day you will be blessing yourself later in the afternoon. You will not only feel more calm, you will be more productive too. Productive mornings are indeed withint everyones reach. Phew.

Follow these 4 simple steps to leverage that morning power.

1. Your morning is not an island in time.

Stop treating your morning as if it were your time to indulge before your ‘real day’ begins. You can use your evenings for that should you need it. Your mornings are an integral part of your day. From the moment your eyes open, your day has officially begun. Use that precious morning time for your advantage later on in the day when your energy and mental agility is declining. Get in the kitchen and get yourself a nutritious start to the day (no, coffee is not a stable breakfast) and while you are there think ahead for your lunch and dinner. Did you bring salad from last night for lunch? How about dinner? Can you take the 2 minutes to put a lentil soup on and fling some brown rice into your rice cooker? Are you always hungry at work? Pack some healthy snacks.

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Granted, these meal and snacks need thought and action before hand, but you would be surprised how many people are in such a daze in the mornings that they have all the right equipment for whipping up a nutritious snack/dinner/lunch and don’t even think about it as they pour themselves a coffee and check their Twitter status updates.

Sorry to be brutal but just as there are no exceptions to finance budgets, for productive people there are no exceptions for time budgets. Your morning self and afternoon self are BFF’s. Don’t forget that.

2. No email

That being said we need to get you out of the ‘let me just check my email’ mindset. Your email is a mailbox, plain and simple. If you were tidying up your house 3 minutes before your inlaws arrived would you be running outside to check your mailbox every 2 minutes? That would be quite a waste of time wouldn’t it? All that time wasted between throwing the clutter in boxes and running down the garden path to open up the mailbox and check… well there isn’t a garden path leading you to check your email but the concept is precisely the same. By checking your email every 2 minutes you are turning your productive time into swiss cheese and thats not what mornings are for.

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Entire books have been written teaching the perils of checking email in the morning. These books are not wrong, so commit to stop that time wasting habit right now. Check your email later in the morning (or after lunch) once your creativity is starting to wane and you can start to be more reactive than proactive. Take email off your phone right now. Yup, I can wait a few minutes. If it is difficult to break the habit because it has become an addiction of sorts. Do it anyway, trust me your 3pm self will thank you.

3. No Social Media

Now that we have mentioned email addiction there is no secret that social media is an addiction, too. Go and look at any group of  teenagers and see how many are interacting with one another and how many are updating there instagram status. It’s a plague. Don’t be like those people. There is nothing social about social media. It’s another false allure of the shiny red flashing light promising us excitement, false connection and news updates. We need none of that in our mornings.

In a perfect world you would indulge in your social media addiction on Sunday evenings as a fun activity. Most certainly never on a weekday and never ever ever on a morning. Take all those social media addictions off of your phone. Stop lying to yourself that it is getting you connected, it’s a false reality you are living in. If you truly want to be productive you need to stop donating your time, focus and energy to worthless endeavours.

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4. No decision making

As Dr Barry Schwartz teaches us so eloquently: we are bombarded left, right and center with decision making. Making too many decisions leads to decision making fatigue whereby we get so exhausted from making decisions over the small stuff that we don’t have enough decision making juice when it comes to the decisions that actually matter. So streamline your mornings so you don’t have to think. Leave out one toothpaste, one shampoo and one soap so you can enjoy your mornings without thinking. Don’t buy too many cereals and create a lunch and dinner plan so you don’t waste your precious early morning brain cells on needless decisions. Create a wardrobe of simple yet awesome work clothes so you don’t have to create outfit combinations before you are fully awake.

So if we take away social media and all decision making … what are mornings for? Mornings are for three main categories of living. Firstly, after a good nights sleep we should be waking up with a couple of good ideas or at the very least a person we want to reach out to or a phonecall we need to return. Don’t act on that idea at 5am as it will either wake up a nice person who is still sleeping or lure you into doing more email … simply record your awesome idea for action later on in the day. These great ideas often get forgotten or not recorded, what a waste!

Mornings are also for connecting with our loved ones, having a conversation with out children or even ( gasp!) shooting a few hoops before they leave to school. How about a morning jog for you alone or with your spouse?

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And remember, your mornings are connected to your evenings, see what you can do now for your 6pm self. You see once we remove the false crutches we get to truly live, truly connect and truly be productive and that is indeed what mornings are for.

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Published on April 16, 2019

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

When was the last time you did something for yourself?

Whether it was deciding to treat yourself with a little something or travel for some R&R, how often do you practice self-care?

Well, as good as above sounds, there’s a common misconception that many of us have about self-care: that it’s only about indulgence and enjoyment.

However, self-care goes far beyond indulgence. It’s actually about respecting your mind and body, understanding its limits, and being able to take care of every part of yourself, in a holistic way.

And, you really don’t have to go to extreme measures or do anything specific–like meditating or following a plant based diet–in order to practice self-care. You just have to make sure that what you’re doing is in your best interests.

So how can you make that happen?

Below are a few proven methods that will help you become a better version of you. Follow through with these regularly and you’ll be well on your way to living your very best life.

Listen to Yourself

The bulk of self-care is knowing yourself.

This means knowing your body’s limitations, and being in tune with your feelings, emotions and thoughts. So it’s important, then, to know who you are and what you want to do in life, in order to truly say that you know yourself. 

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What is your purpose?

Have you ever thought about this question?

Your purpose doesn’t have to remain the same throughout your life. What you found a purpose in at age 19 would likely be different at age 49.

In your current situation, think about the different roles that you have – as a working professional, a spouse, a partner, a parent, etc.

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose through any of these roles?

All you have to do is ensure that what you’re chasing is meaningful to you; this will bring focus and motivation as you strive to achieve your goals.

If you have your purpose defined, then that’s awesome! You know what drives you and why.

But, if you don’t feel like you have a purpose nailed down, it’s good to start by asking why.

For example, why are you working in your particular job or industry? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. In which case, you may find yourself not having a direction for where you’re headed in life.

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If you’d like to learn more about finding your purpose, then I recommend you check out this article:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Seek Out Continuous Education

Now, this may seem less common when you think of self-care, but lifelong learning is incredibly useful and an important component of taking care of yourself.

It’s Super Practical

Lifelong learning is extremely practical these days and does not require as much effort as it may have in the past. Long gone are the days when you could only find information on something by visiting a library. In this day of the internet, anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.

You don’t need to physically go to a learning institution to learn. You can watch Youtube videos to learn new skills, take online courses to earn a degree, and scroll through an endless amount of articles, books and journals from reputable news and informative sites.

When you’re constantly pushing yourself to learn and take up new things, your mental health also improves. Research shows that an active and engaged mind is responsible for diminishing age-related memory loss and improves overall cognitive abilities.

Your Confidence Will Skyrocket

You’ll also have improved self worth as it teaches you to step outside of your comfort zone, which will undoubtedly improve your confidence.

You’ll also connect better with others by expanding your knowledge base. Learning exposes you to a multitude of new ideas and perspectives that you may have otherwise never considered. This also increases your adaptability. Whether it’s at work or just wanting to adapt to society, your peers, and loved ones, life long learning prepares you to take on new challenges.

You’ll Be More Desired in the Job Market

Another obvious reason for continuous education, is that your employability will also increase.

With the ever changing economy, and huge influences from technology, social media, science etc., job descriptions today are moving targets. Assignments and roles change so quickly in response to changing business demands, it becomes a Herculean task to keep a job description database current.

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In years past, stability was a characteristic of the world of work. Procedures, information, jobs, and organizations were established and provided continuity. Education was completed in the first 14 to 22 years of one’s life, followed by a long career occasionally punctuated by short-term job training.

Today, however, jobs, companies, and technology are disappearing and being created simultaneously. To remain current and maintain a competitive advantage in the human capital marketplace, an individual is challenged to continually learn.

People return to school at every age to enrich their skills and knowledge for their current positions. Some even prepare themselves for new jobs or career changes, moving them forward into new opportunities and technology.

We can be assured that we will be challenged to continue to learn new tasks and information throughout our lives. Successful careers belong to flexible, curious learners who are prepared for opportunities because they know themselves and where they make their best contribution. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management stated,

“Knowledge is choice.”

Lifelong learning also increases social awareness and perspective. To genuinely understand and empathize with others, increase social awareness, and foster strong interpersonal relationships, it’s important to seek out new perspectives. Enhancing the skills that positively impact emotional intelligence can bring even greater happiness and success, both personally and at work; and, this is all part of self-care.

Improve Your Habits (Both at Work and at Home)

Now, the last piece of advice I want to introduce to your self-care regimen, is to improve your habits.

Habits define who you are, and are built up over time. You are what you eat is a great example of this. If you make it a habit to eat foods that nourish your body, rather than make your body feel bad, then you will be much healthier overall.

Good Habits Allow You to Reach Your Goals

Since habits dictate your days and nights, such as waking up every morning to get to work before a certain time, or brushing your teeth before bedtime every night, they play a major role in whether we do or do not reach our goals.

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When you form habits that allow you to progress towards your goals, you’re automatically living a purposeful day, everyday.

Habits Make Your Time a Priority

How do you spend your free time? Do you opt to lounge on the couch watching Netflix passively, or do you engage in activities that support your purpose in life?

It’s natural to waste a lot of time during the day, but fostering good habits will make you set a pattern for how you spend your time and give you the choice of what you choose to spend your time on. By improving your habits, you’ll find that you can be a LOT more productive. When you create good habits, you become more efficient with your time and a lot less is wasted.

This in essence creates an overall positive influence on your life, allowing you to treat your mind and body well, which is why improving your habits are so important to self-care.

Your Well Being Comes First

We live in such a fast-paced society, where we are often so caught up in our work, families, maintaining our social lives, our studies and everything in between. It’s an understatement to say that life can get a little overwhelming at times.

If you’ve ever watched the safety video onboard a plane, you’ll know that they always ask for a parent or adult to put on the safety mask first, before tending to the child. This may sound selfish, but the fact is that if you truly want to ensure the child’s safety, then your safety needs to come first so that you can protect and care for the child without complications from your end.

The same goes for self-care. We need to ensure that our well being is priority, so that we can be the best for the people around us.

Listening to yourself, practicing lifelong learning and improving your habits are steps that you can take to ensure you’re constantly in the best state of mind, alongside the indulgence and rest that you reward yourself with.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Raychan on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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