Success Habits to Power Up Your Day
Here are twenty-one ideas to help power up your day. Use them during your new two-hour morning routine or add them elsewhere to supercharge your productivity.
- Make Music Playlists to Fuel your Purpose
Music can energize, galvanize and inspire. It can also calm, de-stress and soothe. Use energizing music when you are exercising or cleaning or sailing along through your tasks, getting them out the way.
Use soothing music when you need to de-stress or center yourself, such as during meditation.
Making separate playlists to suit your mood can really help make your day more productive.
- Cut the Coffee
Even if you’re addicted to caffeine, try to cut it down to no more than two or three cups a day. Any more than that, and the energizing effects are reversed. You will be prone to side effects like:
- Upset stomach
And if you must drink coffee later in the day, switch to decaffeinated after 3 p.m.
- Honor Your Learning Style
Everyone has a predominant learning style, or even a mix of styles. Decide which type of learning is most effective for you:
You find it easier to learn from graphics, videos, cartoons, diagrams, webinars or infographics.
You’ll pick an .MP3 file or a podcast over a webinar or article any day!
You need to learn “hands on”—by doing things, touching them; jumping right into a new platform or software
You prefer the written word—transcripts, written instructions, articles—in fact, you can read an article faster than you can watch a video.
Once you have determined your best learning style or styles, honor it. Get rid of that written “To do” list if verbal learning is last on your preferences list. Dictate that article, if you’re an aural learner. Draw little icon-pictures instead of writing things down or use a mind-map, if you’re a visual learner.
If you cater to your preferred learning style(s) you will find that tasks flow easier and you remember things better, leaving you with more time, focus and energy.
- Automate Your Day
Why do something from scratch when you can automate it, using resources, apps, tools and templates?
Use timers, tracking apps, scheduling suites—whatever makes tasks easier for you or helps you perform tasks and take care of responsibilities more efficiently.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Throw out any task that isn’t absolutely essential. If you can’t throw it out, delegate or outsource it. That goes for household chores like cleaning—hire a cleaning lady—or grocery shopping too—many supermarkets allow you to order over the phone and have your groceries delivered.
- Just Say No
Ever find yourself in a reactive state, where your routine slips out of control? Chances are, you’re agreeing to take on other tasks and responsibilities, when you should be saying “no”.
Protect your routine by learning to respect your own boundaries. Never give excuses or reasons why you can’t do something (this just encourages argumentative pressure). Just tell them “No. My plate is full.”
- Don’t Multi-task
No longer are women expected to be multi-tasking machines. Numerous studies now claim that multi-tasking reduces productivity and focus. A better idea: Plan your day ahead of time—either at the end of the day before, or in the morning as part of your routine, away from the computer.
Planning and prioritizing often reduces or eliminates reactive behavior—which can include multi-tasking!
- Take Frequent Breaks
Don’t just think lunchtime will do as a break. If you spend your days sitting at a computer, schedule a break every hour (two at the max) and use a timer with an alarm to remind you, until it becomes a habit. Then get up. Walk around. Walk round the block. Do some exercises: Or just lie flat with your legs on a pillow, letting your mind wander and your back rest.
Make the breaks short—ten to fifteen minutes, maximum.
When you go back to the computer, you may find that the break stopped you from going off on a tangent, getting too involved in extraneous research or gave you the perfect opening for your next video. Solutions may suddenly present themselves, or your day will just get back into focus, so you can zoom in on your priorities.
If you’re not convinced: Before you try this, track and assess how much you actually accomplish during your regular week. Then add the breaks, track and assess. Was there a difference? Did you get more accomplished, even though you took breaks? The same? Less?
- Eat Healthy Snacks
As part of your morning routine, prepare or select healthy snacks to take with you. Protein bars, fresh fruit, fresh veggie sticks, cheese, mini one-serving cans of tuna, nuts—whatever takes your fancy.
Remember to include healthy drink options too—sachets of green tea, or water with lemon or lime.
- Start Your Day with a Balanced Breakfast
Many people like carbs or something “light” for breakfast—but your brain and energy levels will do better if you eat a breakfast that is balanced. That means including protein and fresh produce too.
If you really don’t want to eat bacon and eggs, there are lots of healthier alternatives. A glass of milk or yogurt for protein; protein powder mixed in with porridge or with a smoothie; a protein bar plus an apple (that gives you all the protein and carbs you could want).
Adding spinach to your smoothie also gives you those crucial “leafy greens”—and you won’t taste spinach. It becomes a neutral flavor in smoothies.
- Start Work at the Same Time Every Day
Even if you’re self-employed and you live to be flexible, keep yourself to one set time slot—and that’s starting work at the same time every day. No matter how flexible you are the rest of the day, getting yourself into the habit of sitting down to work at the same time every day will help you accomplish more—and avoid procrastination.
- Find a Partner
Some people find it really inspiring to exercise with others or have an accountability buddy to help them stick to a new routine. Find a peer or friend that wants to increase productivity too, and discuss how you can help each other—and cheer each other on.
- Create Rewards in your Day
It’s a well-known fact: If there’s a reward at the end of a difficult road, people are far more likely to stay the course. What is your ideal reward for being productive?
Remember that rewards are not always tangible. While it’s nice to eat a truffle every time you exceed seeing three clients a day, you can also indulge in rewards like using a Fitbit to measure the number of steps you take; or going for a swim, if you shave an hour off your work time.
The important thing is to identify the type of reward that would appeal to you—and set it up so you can achieve it. (It should be neither too unreachable nor too easy, for the best emotional impact.)
- Learn to Tune Yourself Up
You’ve likely made adjustments at the beginning of the day, but to make your morning routine extra-effective, get into the habit of stopping for a quick “tune up”—just after lunch is ideal.
Review where you are in your day. Exercise or meditate, if you need to. Refocus and tweak your day’s calendar, if you’ve run into snags or miscalculations.
- Read One Inspiring Article a Day
Find inspiring blogs relevant to your goals or coaching field or life state. Bookmark them and subscribe. Choose one article a day, and read it.
(Search using keywords like “best coaching blogs 2016”.)
- Shorten Tasks You Find Difficult
If you know it’s going to kill you if you exercise for fifteen minutes in the morning, exercise for five. If you know you’re going to hate devoting a timed hour to cleaning out your inbox, just unsubscribe from six contacts; or delete twenty letters.
The important thing—especially if you’re trying to take on a new resolution or activity—is to get into the habit of doing it first. (Worry about “how long” later, when the habit is firmly adopted!)
- Schedule Time for Yourself as well as Time for Clients
Physically schedule time for your own projects on your calendar. You’ll be much more likely to start your project and not let it get bumped by some other task or issue.
- Realize that “Urgent” is Not the Same as “Important”
Especially when the urgency is true for someone else—not you. Urgency is often unfortunately paired with reactivity: And that’s a counter-productive state and trait.
- Switch Off Unnecessary Devices
Disconnect from the net and close your browsers unless you are actively researching or uploading/downloading. Turn off your phone. Concentrate only on your top priorities for the day—and don’t turn your devices again until you’re done.
- Keep Track of Ideas
When you’re in a productive zone, ideas tend to fly at you out of nowhere. Make sure you devise and adopt a system to keep track of them: A physical notebook in your purse and one each beside your bed and favorite chair; an app such as Evernote on your computer or iPhone; even a Rolodex and index cards.
You may think you’ll remember those ideas later, but it’s a proven fact that most people don’t: So make sure you catch them while they’re hot!
- Give Yourself a Time Limit
If you often find that the more you try to complete something, the more work it seems to generate, meaning you never finish, then give yourself a time limit—and focus on meeting that deadline.
“You’ve likely made adjustments at the beginning of the day, but to make your morning routine extra-effective”