When it comes to productivity, there is one myth that needs busting—the idea that you can manage your time.
Everyone is given the same number of hours in a day—24. Oh, we all wish for more but that ain’t gonna happen. So, folks think they need to manage the hours in their days better. Makes sense, yes?
Oh, sure, you can quit wasting time. Stay off Facebook and do the work, yes. And you can organize the time—my work hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday. And, you can even work longer hours and quit taking vacations. But that isn’t managing time; that is making a decision about what you are going to do with your time.
What you can manage is your energy. And the more energy you have, the more work you can produce in the same number of hours as the next gal.
Think about it. If you drag yourself out of bed each morning and scuff to the coffee pot, phone in hand, and spend your first waking hour sucking down black juice and scrolling through Facebook because you are exhausted, you are setting yourself up for a non-productive day.
If this describes you, imagine popping out of bed and dressing to the shoes before sipping on a cup of coffee. Spending your first hour in meditation, prayer, exercise, or some other profitable activity. And, hitting the day running.
Five Ways to Energize Your Day:
1. Get a good night’s sleep.
Figure out what that means for you. Most adults need 8-9 hours of sleep but hover more around 5-6. Try going without an alarm for a few days and see how many hours you sleep. That number is what your body needs. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical sleep deprivation. I was trying to do it all. Let me tell you, you cannot do it all. I was launching my freelance career by waiting until the household was asleep to do my writing. At 5:30 a.m. I took a teenager to work and came back to pack a husband’s lunch and make breakfast. I then homeschooled the other children. Some days I might grab an afternoon catnap, some days not. The routine finally caught up with me. But did I learn my lesson? Nooo. I still find myself trying to cheat myself out of sleep. And I pay for it, in my energy level and pain level.
Ways I get a good night’s sleep
- I limit screen time after supper. The blue lights cause insomnia.
- I TURN OFF MY PHONE! Did you get that? I turn it OFF, put it to charge in my office, and shut the door. If there is an emergency, family members will call the landline.
- I add a drop of lavender oil to my face cream and rub all over my face and arms. The oil helps me to relax and fall asleep rather than lay in the bed thinking about my latest writing project.
If you still need help with your sleep hygiene, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website for more tips.
2. Practice a Quiet Time
As a Christian, I spend time each morning reading my Bible, praying, and writing in my journal. Whether you practice a faith or not, having a morning quiet time, a time of meditation or reflection, will help you to be ready, inside, for whatever the day throws your way. I also go over my schedule for the day so that I’m not surprised at 2 p.m. by a meeting reminder on my phone.
Exercising in the morning releases the right chemicals in the brain for a good night’s sleep and provides energy for the rest of the day. If you take a walk or run outside, the exposure to sunlight is necessary for vitamin D production which helps our bodies handle stress.
4. Eat Breakfast
For years I skipped breakfast. Or, worse, if there was something sweet in the house, like donuts or brownies, I would eat that with my coffee and call it good. That is NOT GOOD. The right balance of protein and complex carbohydrates produces the energy that will sustain you through the morning. My breakfast, most mornings, is an omelet with kale, mushroom, sweet red pepper, and cheese. If I’m not up to eggs, I make a smoothie with almond milk, banana, berries, and kale.
5. Get Dressed
Ever heard the phrase “Dress for success”? The same goes for the freelancer at home. Let’s face it, when we get dressed, do our hair and make-up, and put on shoes, we feel ready for stuff to happen. But if we stay in our pajamas, or dress in yoga pants and sweatshirt, the only thing we’re ready for is a nap. Don’t believe me? Try it. Tomorrow, put on clothes you’re not embarrassed to be seen in, brush your hair, add a touch of lipstick, and most importantly, put on shoes. Then watch your productivity skyrocket.