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5 Things You Can Do Before Bed To Jump Start Tomorrow

5 Things You Can Do Before Bed To Jump Start Tomorrow

Ben Franklin told us years ago, “The early bird catches the worm.” But perhaps we can amend that now to say: The Worm that Gets a Jump Start Gets His Prize!”

It’s no great news flash to share that we all live in a very busy world. It slows down for no one and almost seems as if we’re in a constant state of playing catch up. Life, people and circumstances demand our time, energy and thoughts constantly – or so it seems. This state of always being in demand and constantly being at the beck and call of outside influences can be draining to say the least and overwhelming to put it mildly! How can we ever hope to get a jump on all of the things that we’re supposed to do and take part in? Is there a way?

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Well actually there is…and how you do it, can put you a step ahead of those who share your same burdens.

How you get that extra jump is very simple…you prepare the night before!

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Want to feel more in control of your time?

Take a look at your calendar. Whether you keep your calendar digitally or in paper form, spend a little time each evening actually consulting it. Take a look at what’s coming up. Is there a doctor’s appointment, you set a few months ago? A party coming up that you agreed to attend? A lunch date with a friend? When you look at your calendar on a regular basis, you are creating a mental stamp in your mind of time blocks that have been committed to a certain purpose. It helps keep you focused as to what’s coming up next that needs your attention. There are so many wonderful calendar tools that we have at our disposal to keep track of our time, use them and gain a sense of knowing what is going on in your own life and maybe you’ll feel a little less like you’re flying by the seat of your pants!

Want to feel more energetic?

Get the  gym bag ready! This is huge. I don’t know anyone these days who doesn’t complain at one time or another that they’d like to have more energy. We each have found some coping mechanism to get us through the day and especially the morning (if you’re naturally a night owl). Whether you gravitate to that morning “cuppa joe” or protein shake or energy supplement. We all are looking for that magic bullet to restore our energy and revitalize us. And while we may have moderate amounts of success with the above, the cold hard truth is, that we need to exercise. Our bodies, in addition to being fed, also demand being exercised. What better way to get a jump on the excuse, “I don’t have time to prepare” than to pack a gym bag the night before! Get your shirt, shorts, yoga pants, tennis shoes, water bottle, etc. and stick them in a bag and have it by the door ready. When you leave to start your day, the bag gets scooped up too!

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Want to sleep better?

Turn off your phone for better sleep – This really should be a no brainer, but sadly, there are those who are so completely addicted to technology that they have a sense of needing to be “plugged into” the world at all times. You’ve seen them. Those people who constantly have a cell phone in their hands. Texting, talking or downloading the next hottest app is a ever constant state of being. So, is it hard to understand that they actually sleep with the phone by their bed? This ultimately leads to being awakened with every subtle little blip or beep of the phone. Your body simply can’t shut down operations for the night and restore itself if it is constantly being alerted with every little message. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE! Or better yet, don’t even have it in the same room with you. Leave it in another location and come to it in the morning. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have legs…it’ll still be there!

Want to gain a sense of self?

Write in a journal. Journaling is one of the best ways of reconnecting to self. Since we are so distracted with the needs of others and demanding circumstances that we find ourselves involved in, it becomes very easy to lose one’s sense of identity. When a person journals, they are taking the time to mentally clean their slates. Self examination of feelings, motives and plans for the future allows for mental preparation for what lies ahead.

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Want to relax?

Read a real book – Immerse yourself in a story. Go back in time or allow yourself to be propelled into the future. Perhaps, become an investigator or a world explorer! Anything is possible inside the covers of a good book. When we allow ourselves to be transported to another time or place or simply to be engrossed in a story, we are freeing our minds of the stresses of today and mentally preparing (whether we know it or not) for what is waiting for us when we wake up tomorrow. 

In summary,  we have more of a say so in what takes up our time and thoughts than what we realize. It’s truly as simple as making a decision as to what you actually consider to be a priority. Life doesn’t happen to you, you make it happen with how you choose to respond to circumstances and how you choose to prepare for those things you know are on the horizon. You can choose to put your head in the sand like an ostrich and hope they’ll go away or you’ll miss the hard stuff or you can be like that worm that Ben Franklin told us about years ago and jump start on “it” (whatever it is) …EARLY!

Featured photo credit: A Leaf in Morning Dew via picjumbo.picjumbocom.netdna-cdn.com

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Cathy Robinson

Cathy blogs about mental strength, motivation and happiness at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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