Whether you’re trying to start your own business, amp up your side hustles or just do better at the job you’ve got, improving your daily performance in everything you do is a great way to make sure that you are growing and headed in a successful direction.
Don’t Waste Your Mornings
Waking up with a fresh brain and putting it to work on your goals, not your bosses goals, social media or anybody else’s stuff, is one of the best ways to keep your goals front and center. How can you protect and best use the power of your own morning brain?
If you go to the gym in the morning, good for you! Make sure you set out your gym gear the night before so there’s no chance for your mind to come up with an excuse.
2. Don’t Decide
There’s no greater waste of your morning brain than to ask it to make decisions about mundane things when it’s reaching for the stars. Eat the same healthy thing for breakfast every day. Get creative with your food when your brain needs a break around supper time. Instead of wondering what to wear, buy some suit hangers and put together outfits when you pull your clothes out of the dryer. This can save brainpower and reduce the need to iron.
Whether you’re jogging on the track or walking through your neighborhood, let your mind wander. Many times, habitual behaviors free up the creative part of your brain to problem-solve. “Aha” moments come to us in the shower because showering is a routine habit that we don’t have to think about.
Use a Timer
Once you’ve put your morning brain to best use and are trying to settle in to the tasks of the day, you may feel scattered. You may start reaching for your phone and get sucked into emails, tweets, posts or texts that draw you away from the real work you need to get done today. Instead, set the timer on your phone to beep in an hour, turn it face down on your desk and go like crazy. Put every ounce of your attention and focus into the project in front of you.
For those who find themselves distracted by the outside world, noisy co-workers or the neighbor’s yappy dog, noise-cancelling headphones are a great idea. Think of them as blinders on a horse. You can’t be distracted from the work you’ve got to get done until the beeper goes off. Then, turn it off, get some water or a snack, stretch, walk and talk to people (or the dog).
Before you sit back down, create a to-do list of what you’d like to get done today. The stuff you have to get done today? Draw a clock face beside those tasks. Once your break is over, set the timer again and dig back down into your work. If you have a door, close it. If you don’t, let your co-workers know that the headphones mean you’re working under a (possibly self-imposed, admittedly) deadline but you’ll stop by and talk to them as soon as you can. Then dig back into your timed project.
Know When to Quit
Set a stopping time every evening. When you get up and when you go to bed is your business, but make sure that you set a quitting time every evening so you have time to stretch, wind down, drink some water, and lower the lights. Make sure you use good sleep hygiene so that by the time you go to bed, you can sink into restorative sleep and stay there.
All work and no play just means that Jack and Jill may wind up with insomnia. Find an evening meditation practice or just start turning off lights after supper. Leave empty rooms dark. By the time you go to bed, it’s just you and one hand-held battery operated candle guiding you to your cool, dark bedroom for a great night of deep sleep.