With the end of the year approaching I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one having a mild anxiety about not accomplishing all the new year’s resolutions made. There is less than 70 days to make it all happen or at least plan to do so and execute whenever is possible.
Overall, I am absolutely happy with everything I’ve done this year so far. Although I didn’t achieve all I hoped for, I feel utterly proud of the huge progress I’ve made in becoming a more productive person.
My laziness Story:
For the past two years up until this Summer, I had been my biggest saboteur in regards of getting things done. Laziness became deeply ingrained in me after battling with depression in 2015 and being on anti-depressants, that would make me pretty sleepy, for almost a year. The draining effect that University has had on me over this period is another factor to blame. As a student I have always been queen procrastination which would lead me to having tense moments of extreme pressure and a reward of 12h of sleep ‘post coursework submission’.
With such lifestyle, there is no doubt little energy was left for content creation yet because of love I never stopped doing it. But what did I do to keep it up? I ‘half-assed’ it. I would do my best to create content whenever I could but I wasn’t in any shape or form doing what was necessary to grow my platforms.
Still, I made peace with the fact that I couldn’t have done better then due to all I previously mentioned, yet I promised to myself that once Uni was over things would head straight. To my surprise it didn’t occur easily. I finished my exams and although passion would push me to create everyday, I still wasn’t optimizing my time and giving it its due value. No surprise. Coming from a routine of ‘sleep all day and watch Youtube until morning’ it was very naive of me to assume my body would suddenly be on ‘active mode’ without any mental effort. That’s when, after doing some googling+youtubing on ‘How to become more productive’, I realized I needed to incorporate habits that influenced my body and mind in a positive way, fueling overall productivity throughout the day.
It was far from easy though. The human body takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit and that is a lot of time for someone who lived in the depths of laziness. However, I was pretty much decided to make it work and after reading ‘No excuses’ by Brian Tracy the desire to become a more productive person and improve my time management skyrocketed.
Now, these habits are nothing new and are very well hard of, probably because they can really improve ones day.
Here are my top 5 productivity habits:
1. Planing tasks in order of importance, the night before.
I deeply believe this is step guarantees a productive day. The days in which I wake up without a clear idea of what I should get done are usually filled with hours of daydreaming and unnecessary naps. When I make myself a ‘To Do’ list for the following day I tend to organize the tasks in order of importance, always prioritizing the creation of content that over a spam of months/years will earn me added credibility.
When the day comes I tend to easily follow through with my list since it represents a commitment I made to myself the night before. I readily deny any spontaneous distractions such as ”Yara, shall we go and grab a coffee? Pick you up in 5?”– sorry but that coffee doesn’t fit on my schedule today hun, book me in earlier next time. Harsh? I swear it isn’t easy to do. Sometimes I just want to say yes to the distraction, leave my room and live life. But I quickly comeback to my senses and remember my ‘Why’, which easily gets me grounded and back to full work mode.
Trust me, ticking off completed tasks from the list is one of the best feelings ever – getting shit done is one of the best feelings ever.
Hack: When creating your to do list, prioritize your tasks by asking yourself:
‘What can I do tomorrow as an investment to my future?’
‘What can I do tomorrow that will get me an inch closer to my long-term life goal?’
Answering those questions is a great way to assess the main tasks that once achieved, not just on the day but over a month or a year, will bring you fulfillment and a sense of purpose.
2. Exercising in the morning.
This was somehow the biggest challenge for me. I could never understand people that would wake up super early and head for a run/to the gym first thing in the morning -”What kind of creature are you? How could you resist the snooze button?”- well that was before I attempted it my self. It’s safe to say that a week of exercising daily every morning is enough for one to start realizing its benefits. I feel as if doing so, I’m saying ‘Good morning body, let’s get it’. Gone are the days in which I only exercised to gain weight, to influence what I saw in the mirror – to look good. Nowadays if I make an effort to go on a 10min run, I do it not only for the endorphin release but also to reward my body for being so good to me, to reward my heart has pumps blood throughout my body since the day I was born.
It’s a fact that with Winter approaching it gets harder for me to want to leave the house so early whilst so cold simply to exercise. But I promised that whenever it’s not raining I should put in a quick run. Also, I recently cancelled my gym membership because I simply got bored of the place and its machines. I am eager to try something new such as Yoga or Pilates.
No matter what it is you choose to do: gym, yoga or just stretching, exercising your body first thing in the morning will definitely get it awake and set the tone for a good day!
3. Allocating time for each task.
A very rational thing to do is estimating how long each task takes and allocating a time limit by which it should be completed. This practice makes things challenging but in an exciting way since whenever I’m able to beat the clock or finish something earlier than supposed to, it’s a great high.
One thing that’s very crucial to me is flexibility. Because I like things to be well done and sometimes it can require more time, I try my best to avoid extending a task for way too long. Having a variety of things to execute is a great motivator so I rather break a long task into two than draining all my energy on it in one go, negatively affecting my performance on posterior tasks.
4. Leaving the big meal for last.
This is definitely my personal experience but throughout the years as a university student I realized that after any heavy meal my energy level would go downhill (rhyme-unintended haha). A quick google search blames the sensation on eating processed foods that induce melatonin (sleep hormone) production. Basically a change in food choices can help rid the problem, but since I’m unable to diversify my food so much atm, leaving my big meal for last helps me ensure I have all the energy throughout the day to complete my tasks. I will usually only have lunch (vegetables/rice/pasta/meat/fish) any time between 5pm-7pm. I tend to start the day with a good oatmeal bowl for breakfast, which fills me without sabotaging my energy levels and during the afternoon I snack healthy with peanuts, cashew nuts and sandwiches.
5. Rewarding myself.
Finally the sweet spot. As I mentioned early, completing all my tasks for the day gives me such great high and with that high come endless ideas of how I should reward myself for such hard work haha. Unsurprisingly, the reward of choice is usually 1h/2h binge watching my favorite Youtubers with a cup of tea and some digestives, or my favorite ice-cream. That’s because I have no friends in the city I’m in. My friends live abroad but I must confess that hanging out with them would be a much more appropriate reward for a good day!
So, there you have it! These are the main productivity habits that have been helping me create, learn and do so much since Summer began.
The major enemy of productivity is usually ourselves and our minds. Once you start controlling your mind instead of letting it control you, it’s a whole different kind of life. I am happy because I can really see how much I’ve changed for the better with the employment of these habits and many other positive ones into my daily life.
It’s all on me; It’s all on you!
”Don’t hope for a good day, demand it! ”