This week, we look into ways to boost productivity whilst working from home and adjust the way we plan our days to ensure we get the most out of them.
My name’s Zach Berwick, and after ten years working in the health and fitness industry to help people improve their wellbeing, I wrote this book to put down on paper what I’ve learned to share with others. In this article, I’m pulling out information from the ‘Chasing Your Goals’ chapter.
There are so many things we know we should be doing, even in a lockdown, but we often sit there and wonder why we can’t achieve everything we planned to in a day.
You might have organised yourself properly the day before, starting strong with motivation and ambition in the morning, and then throughout the day losing motivation and falling into a slump by the afternoon. If this sounds familiar, then trust me, you’re not alone. The funny thing about motivation is it really does come in waves.
I believe that there are specific ways you can counter the lows of motivation, pick yourself back up, and keep your productivity levels high right up until the end of the day. You can also strive for consistent productive days, and this starts from your actions when you first wake up in the morning.
Sometimes, all it takes is how you look at your daily tasks to achieve them. When your ‘should’s’ become ‘musts’, you will be able to complete all of your daily tasks. These ‘musts’ can also be transferred to hitting your personal goals. I must make forty calls today, I must get this project completed in time, I must finish this article. When your tasks and goals become musts, the way you look at them changes, and you will find the motivation to complete them, no matter how you feel.
Here are 5 techniques to boost your productivity:
1. Wake up an hour earlier than your usual wake uptime
Create a habit of waking up an hour earlier than you usually do and start to reap the benefits of that extra time in the morning. Many people wake up just before starting work and don’t give themselves time to ease into the day and do things they want in the morning. What you feed your mind in the morning can be the decider between having a bad day and a great day.
If you wake up and immediately look at your emails, there might be a negative email sat there that can put you in a bad mood. Understanding the power of using the time between your morning routine and work will give you complete control of your mornings, and you can start to enjoy them. There are many things you can do in the morning with that extra hour. You could read, connect with your family, exercise, write in a journal or sit on the sofa with a coffee and relax. Own your mornings, and when you start work, you will feel in control and energised.
2. Affirmation helps every day
When was the last time you stopped and patted yourself on the back? We seek feedback from our family, friends, colleagues and spouses, but why do we not give ourselves enough praise and encouragement? The way you speak to yourself and what you feed into your mind matters. If you believe the phrase ‘you are what you think’, then life indeed stems from your thoughts.
But you can’t rely purely on your thoughts; you must translate them into words and eventually actions to manifest your intentions. Celebrate your daily wins by affirming yourself that you did a good job. Make yourself your favourite drink, or cook a great meal in the evening to show yourself the praise you deserve for achieving what you set out to during the day. No-one else is going to give this to you when you first wake up, so take 10 minutes in the morning to practice affirmation too.
3. Exercise to release those endorphins
Physical wellbeing in times like these has never been so important. It can help improve your mental wellbeing by releasing endorphins in the body, making you feel great about yourself. You may have more time in your day due to the pandemic, or you may have less time because you’re homeschooling at the moment, but you prioritise finding time to look after yourself and by fitting in some exercise.
Gyms are shut at the moment, but it’s important not to put exercise on the back shelf. Keep your focus on improving the body, which will also enhance the mind. Exercise gets the blood moving around the body, giving you more energy to complete all of your daily tasks. You will be less likely to feel lethargic in the afternoons, and you will have more energy to complete planned projects. If you dedicate yourself to waking up an hour earlier in the morning, use this time to fit in some exercise.
4. Have a cut off time for tech
Do you find yourself aimlessly looking at your phone when you get into bed or wake up in the morning? Are you a victim of looking through social media feeds and reading posts about people you don’t even know? You might not realise the adverse effects this can have on your psychology. When you wake up, your mind is relaxed, and the brain produces electrical patterns, the scientific term for which is the alpha stage.
The alpha stage is referred to as the gateway to the subconscious mind, so using this time in the morning to think positively is crucial to accomplishing more throughout the day. Set yourself a time in the morning that you aren’t allowed to look at any tech and when you go to bed, have a cut off time. You will feel a sense of control and get time back to use in a more valuable way.
5. Get out of your comfort zone
It is easy to go through the same motions day in and day out during lockdown. Your routine is the same, and frankly, you’re getting bored. Our lives are extremely restricted right now, but this doesn’t mean we can’t change our personal daily routine and jump outside of our comfort zone to help us grow. Learn something new, starting a new exercise program, challenging yourself to eat better, or even talk to two strangers a day on your daily walk.
Embrace the discomfort of putting yourself in unfamiliar situations, as these will trigger a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s happy hormone. This part of the brain is only activated when you experience new things. You will start to enjoy the challenge of stepping outside of your norm and will begin to grow and learn from the discomfort, ultimately improving your daily energy and productivity.
Start to think about the things you can do to change your approach each day, and don’t let the lockdown label keep you mentally restricted. You can excel during these times and increase your productivity in every area of your life.