We’ve all experienced it…one of those days where you have no motivation to do anything productive. Or maybe you have the motivation to get something done, but you end up being as useless as a third nipple and as unproductive as a child with severe ADD.
Anyhow, the good news is, many of these unproductive days can be avoided with a few preventative measures.
The key to having good, productive and energy filled day relies in part on your actions from the day before. What you eat, what you do, how much sleep and the quality of sleep you endure, will have a significant impact on how your day plays out tomorrow. Likewise, what you do when you first wake up will also influence the rest of your day.
Here’s 12 tips on how you can have a more productive day, more often.
The night before..
1. Avoid eating anything heavy 3-4 hours before bedtime. If you must eat something before bed, eat low-sugar fruits and vegetables, or easily digestible foods.
2. If you’re an adult, aim to get 7 hours of sleep each night, no more and no less. 6 hours is just as bad as 8 hours, 7 hours of sleep has been shown in studies to be the “magic” number. Teenagers on the other hand, need 8-10 hours of sleep.
3. Time your sleep as best you can with the rise and fall of the sun. Aim to go to sleep when it is dark, and arise only when it has become light. If you can’t keep the time you go to sleep and the time you wake up consistent, at least try to consistently wake up at the same time
During the day..
4. Don’t skip breakfast, but don’t eat a heavy breakfast either.
Each morning your body naturally goes through a detoxifying process, you can help it along by eating cleansing and detoxifying foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
A good example breakfast may include a few kiwis, an apple with some honey, and a handful of walnuts. There’s many other possibilities for a healthy breakfast, just use your imagination. A traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast is one of the worst combos if you want to have a productive day.
5. Try a stimulating tea instead of coffee.
Coffee contains caffeine, and is usually loaded up with sugar before you get around to drinking it. Sure it will provide an instant boost in alertness and clarity, but before you know it you’ll lose the invigorating effect and sloowwly dr-i-i-ift into lethargy.
Instead of coffee, try a stimulating tea such as peppermint tea. In fact, I have a peppermint tea every morning, without any sweeteners or additives, and I’ve learned to love it.
6. Review or write down your goals for the day.
This act alone will do a great deal in boosting your productivity. Simply write down what you want to accomplish for the day or review your goals if they’re already written down.Read my post on how to set goals and follow through with them.
7. Take frequent breaks.
You should take a break at least once an hour. It doesn’t have to be a long break, just long enough to get away from the desk and give your mind and eyes a break. Get up and move around or stretch for a few minutes.
8. Eat small, frequent meals.
Instead of eating 3 big meals each day, eat 5-6 small meals at more frequent intervals. This will keep your energy levels up, allow you to digest your food more thoroughly, and is also a much healthier way of eating.
9. Take a power nap.
Studies show that most people start feeling tired between 2-4 PM, and if you can get through this “low” your energy levels will start to pick up again until about 7-8 PM. Instead of simply working through this low, a much better solution is to take a quick power nap. A study by NASA found, for example, that a 26-minute nap increased pilots’ performance 34%.
A power nap is generally only 15-30 minutes, any shorter or any longer and you may not get the full benefit. In fact some companies in cities like New York are now charging upwards of $30 for 15-30 minute power naps during office work hours. These companies exist for the sole purpose of selling power naps, and have been doing quite well since there conception.
10. Maintain focus on your task at hand.
In any job, and especially working online, it’s easy to lose focus and go off on tangents that have nothing to do with your goal. Make a conscious effort to maintain your focus, and finish the task you started working on.
11. Reward yourself.
It works with dogs, it works with cats, and guess what, it works with humans too. For instance, you might say, “As soon as I finish this post I’m going to go for ice cream”. Your reward will provide motivation to get the task done, and will also reinforce good work habit after the task is completed.
12. Do not overwork yourself.
There is a fine line between working to get something done, and working
too much, be careful not to cross it. I’m guilty of this one, and I must constantly remind myself that I’ll get more done if I stop what I’m doing and continue when I’m refreshed.
As an example, I’ve spent many late nights and long hours working out bugs in code. Sometimes I might spend 4 hours working on what should be a simple bug fix, only to give up and go to sleep. The next morning I take one glance at the code and instantly know the problem. That 4 hours could of been spent sleeping, instead of frustrating myself to the point of exhaustion.
Now..tips do you absolutely no good if you don’t put them in to practice. So the number one way to improve your productivity and have a more successful day is to actually use these tips and incorporate them into your life. Soon you’ll find yourself flying through your work, enjoying yourself while you’re working and having more time to do the other things you enjoy!