I’m writing this on one of the first Mondays I felt good in a while. I don’t feel exhausted, I don’t feel anxious, I don’t feel alone, I feel good. This year has been really tough, full of uncertainty, challenges, new beginnings, and a lot of sudden decisions to make. I definitely won’t hide it, it broke me a little.
But today, after a long, long time, the sun is out and I feel that I’m getting my energy back. I woke up early. Played some music. Cleaned my apartment. Put on some normal clothes and make-up (WOW), and now I’m ready to start the week. But before I do, let’s look into some techniques I use in my never-ending trials to increase my productivity.
1. Get a good night sleep the night before
I know, finishing out that season is so tempting. Same as finishing the book, or the movie. But as important are your mood and productivity for the next day. I can’t even count the days I’ve neglected my sleep. As an architecture student with so many challenging times around deadlines, you realize how important sleep actually is. It’s so funny only thinking of our childhood when we all would cry when our parents or grandparents would try to put us to sleep. How naive were we, right? But now, for real. Finding an appropriate time for you to get to bed, and find the balance, goes along way. I do try sometimes waking up early because it can so beautiful and I get so much more out of the day that way. The morning smell of aday just beginning. It’s pure magic to just experience it all.
2. Don’t snooze your alarm
I’d love to say that I got this one handled, but that would definitely be a big big lie. I used to commute for about 2 hours to get work when I lived in Denmark. That was super hard to just get into this mindset of setting up my new routine, wake up every morning at 5 or even earlier, and then it all started. I would say that many of these things I am writing here, I discovered and developed around that time.
For this reason, I would set 4 different alarms to make sure that I get up and prepared in time to catch the train. So I’d have one alarm for when I would have to wake up (Nah), another one for when I would really have to wake up (!). Then, I’d give myself 30-40 minutes to get ready, with a new alarm then, for when I have to get my things and prepare to leave the house. 5 minutes later another one to leave the house. If not, the train would be lost and I’d be late for work. This whole routine might sound crazy or make me a control freak or OCD (I might too). That was the only way I could make sure of a schedule and I’d get ready in time.
I don’t do it anymore. Now I’m trying to develop a new system, more realistic and normal. It’s definitely a struggle, but you get to really appreciate your sleeping time and gives you discipline. So do it. Push yourself and find the right system to work just for you.
3. Play your favorite music
This morning I was listening to this playlist, but there’s definitely so many more out there. I normally listen to this kind of music when I’m working, or even podcasts, something that is calming and helping me focus. Now, don’t take my word for it. Find your own, or you maybe already have it, save it nicely somewhere, and play it whenever you feel like. Music helps so much. The same as dance , and it’s said also that few minutes of dance a day helps us improve our mental health and gives us dopamine .
4. Get dressed like any other normal day
You might already be doing it. This helped me so much in these past months of lockdown. I’d put on the same clothes as a normal working day, also some perfume, maybe a bit of make-up here and there. That would help so much setting up the ‘working mood’ and would make me understand that although I am working from home, I’m doing ‘work’ actually. I do sometimes spend my days in pajamas, of course, depending on the mood, but then it really feels like a holiday, and sometimes when we got a lot do, we don’t really want that.
5. Organize and stay focused
I’d always prepare a to-do list from the day before, just to have something to start up with for the next day. Actually every Sunday, I’m dedicating some time to reflect on what would be my main responsibilities for the coming week and how I’d organize. It’s a good way to get a feel of what’s coming and helps with the focus. Now, I don’t know how everyone is doing it, but I’m personally a huge fan of lists (yep, OCD much). So I’d have one, which does help me oversee all my activities. If you don’t use them, just try – there are also other alternatives out there, like digital, app-based, or simply the traditional pen and paper.
6. What are you grateful for?
With everything happening in the world right now, I think it’s so important to just stop sometimes and reflect on our lives, acknowledge our privileges, and be grateful for however it is. Only writing this is a huge privilege. Same as reading it. And I am SO grateful that I finally got my s* together and started creating again.
I genuinely wish that we would all have equal opportunities, but unfortunately, we have such a long way to go and it might never really happen. Now I’m asking you… What are you grateful for? And most importantly, how can you share this further to make other’s days a little better? Today, I’m writing this piece. Other times, I’d travel all across the world to volunteer and contribute for real, from the little I have, with the little I can. And I am so much looking forward to being able to do that again.
For that, I’m trying to remain hopeful, and find those little things that make me happy. I hope you’ll find yours too.
Article initially posted on Vocal.Media