Routines can save time, give us comfort, increase our productivity, and keep us on the path to our goals. Add these habits to your daily routine right now to join the most powerful and successful people in improving your results at both work and home.
Wake up at YOUR right time (and keep it consistent)
While your day may, unfortunately, be governed by the standard work hours at your job, or the school schedules of your children, there is no one-size fits all approach to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “the best approach is to match your sleep times to your physiological rhythms and get the seven to nine hours of sleep that you need regularly.” You can experiment with this by trying bedtimes between 8 pm and midnight, and seeing when it’s easiest for your to fall asleep. Once you find that sweet spot, make sure that you awaken at the same time every day (even on weekends). This supports your body’s own circadian rhythms and makes it easier to fall asleep, easier to wake up, and leads to improvements during the day like increased alertness, better memory and focus, better immune system function, reduced pain and irritability, and more. B.O.S.S. Hint: Sleep timing isn’t the only function that’s highly specific to each individual. Check out the book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink to learn more about what times of day you should concentrate different areas of activity according to your own personal productivity power points.
REFLECT AND MEDITATE
Want to enjoy a bunch of endorphins at the start of your day without breaking a sweat? Try meditation. You don’t have to be a spiritual person to enjoy the benefits of some silent reflection, and research suggests that the best time to do this is first thing in the morning. And according to the David Lynch Foundation, you can enjoy a 40% reduction in stress as a result of meditation. B.O.S.S. Hint: Check out this 10-step plan for building a mediation habit from Reflection Pond. Prefer an app? Try Headspace.
People who eat breakfast are 25% more likely to be high performers than those who skip it. Eating breakfast has other important benefits like preventing weight gain and ensuring you get essential nutrients for your brain and body. B.O.S.S. Hint: Try our THINK Brainpower or SMILE Upbeat Focus bars for your most productive morning ever!
ENGAGE IN SELF-LEARNING
Whether you read a newspaper, your favorite blog, a book, or online course, successful people never stop learning. Reading in the morning will give you something to think about the rest of the day, newsy facts to keep up with the conversation in the break room, and gives you a sense of accomplishment before you’ve begun your work day. B.O.S.S. Hint: SmartNews is an app that downloads all the news stories in your feed so you don’t have to worry about being online to catch up.
EAT THE FROG
Ready to get to work? According to Mark Twain, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you can get through the rest of your day knowing that you probably won’t encounter anything worse. While that may not always be true, it makes a lot of sense to tackle your biggest, most challenging and important task (or tasks) first. If you have two frogs, start with the largest one. B.O.S.S. Hint: A virtual assistant can take care of all the little tasks so you can make room to focus on the big stuff. Try Zirtual, Time Etc., or Boldly for help finding someone fast.
GIVE YOUR EYES A BREAK
To help alleviate eye strain and prevent dry eyes, put away tablets, smart phones and any other blue light devices during your lunch break. B.O.S.S. Hint: Tech Armor sells a wide variety of screen protectors for all your devices that also save your eyes from blue light. We like them because they offer a lifetime guarantee plus free shipping on all their orders.
TAKE YOUR LUNCH
Eating lunch at your desk doesn’t count. Get out of the office! Go outside, unplug, build relationships with colleagues, or take someone from another department out for lunch to diversify. Richard Branson even advocates for having lunch with your enemies. Try to catch up with an old friend at least once a month. The important thing is to enjoy your food, disconnect from the problems of the day, and develop your professional connections. B.O.S.S. Hint: The FoodFriends app literally connects people over food. Invite people you know or, if you’re in a new city, make a connection with a local, and bond over restaurants and great food. DineHero is another similar option.
All best intentions aside, sometimes we’re just too tired at the end of the day. Exercise during lunch definitely gets you out of the office, and can lead to benefits in stamina, performance, creativity, and more. If you absolutely can’t get out of the office, try some exercises right in your office (WebMD tells you how). We also enjoyed this article from Health magazine with super practical tips on how to make a lunchtime workout routine work for you. B.O.S.S. Hint: Using your lunch break for exercise might put you in a time bind when it comes to eating lunch. Our MOVE Fit Energy bar is filling and energizing, with a plant-based ATP builder that increases your energy from within, nine grams of filling fiber, and aronia for post-workout recovery.
ERRANDS EASE The stress (EXCEPT FOR ONE…)
Maximize your after-work hours and weekends by taking care of errands in the middle of the workday. This provides the dual function of getting you out of the office, and making a productive use of your time. Banks actually have a lull during the lunch hour, so this could be the best time to get any in-branch banking taken care of. Post office lines can be long at lunchtime but if you grab an account with PirateShip, you can pre-print your labels (and get the absolute lowest rates on postage for no extra fee!) Be sure to group your errands by location to maximize the productivity of your outing. B.O.S.S. Hint: Don’t use lunch time for doctor’s appointments. You want to get those done first thing in the morning because almost all doctors run behind in the afternoons.
NAP IF YOU NEED IT
We all have days where we didn’t get enough sleep or feel extra sluggish. The fierce don’t fight it. A short nap of even 20 – 30 minutes can help boost your alertness, mood, and performance. You may find this activity helps you to be more productive even if you had a great night’s sleep. Weather permitting, your car might be a good place to retreat to for this activity if you drive to work. If you have your own office, you’re in an even better spot to accomplish some private rest. Alternatively, book a conference room and lock the door. The New York Times recommends that you “apologize to no one” about naps during the day. B.O.S.S. Hint: Remember to put your phone on silent, and try to get your nap in between 1 pm and 3 pm for optimum rest.
CLEAR YOUR MIND
Leave work behind at the end of the day. It’s important to get a clear head after you power down your computer and head to the car, bus, or train. There are many ways to do this, from talking to a friend, to exercise, to reading a book or listening to a favorite podcast on the way home from work. The important thing is that you transition to your next activity with no burdens from the day you just completed. B.O.S.S. Hint: If you’re really struggling after a particularly tough day, try Colorfy. Yes, it’s a digital coloring app for adults. And it works…
FIND THE FAM
Mornings can be a rush and you’re all busy with your own stuff during the day, so family time is especially important in the evenings. Whether this means dinner or going to the kids’ activities together, time with your loved ones helps you de-stress and connect. Prioritize it! B.O.S.S. Hint: You probably don’t need advice for how to have fun with your family, but in case your stuck, here are some ideas: make dinner together (meal kits subscriptions are great for this), try new restaurants, head to the mall or a show, play a game, plan a trip, or anything that relaxes you. It doesn’t have to be well-planned or high-pressure. The important thing is the time itself.
PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY (ESPECIALLY AFTER 9 pm)
Work-life boundaries can be difficult to maintain, and are a frequent source of stress. Setting them, however, can be life changing. You will likely find that once you set the boundary, people respect you even more. So make a policy not to engage in work after work. Putting your phone away will allow you to be present with your family, or fully focused on hobbies and activities that you enjoy after hours. In the hours leading up to bedtime, it’s especially important to disengage from smartphone use. University of California San Francisco researchers found that smartphone use can significantly disrupt sleep quality and duration. B.O.S.S. Hint: If you’re finding yourself addicted to your smartphone, try Forest, which makes time away from your phone a game. Earn tokens to plant trees in real life with their Trees for the Future program.
It’s difficult to end any day on a sour note if you can find at least one thing that you are thankful for. And scientifically, people who practice gratitude are happier and more resilient. So be sure to find something (hopefully a few things) to be grateful for every day. Write them down in a journal, express them to your family and friends, and also notice who you found it difficult to express gratitude towards that day. If you’re really struggling, be thankful for your warm, cozy bed at night. B.O.S.S. Hint: This article helps you incorporate gratitude throughout the day, not just at night.
Write down three things you want to accomplish the next day. Set up for the morning (choose your outfit, pack your lunch, program the automatic cat feeder, etc.) Taking 10 minutes to get ready for tomorrow will help your mind relax so you can get a good night’s sleep (and feel no remorse when you hit the couch to watch some junk TV before bed). B.O.S.S. Hint: Planning is actually one of the most effective success tools; and it’s so simple to do. Suzanne Evans, author of The Way You Do Anything Is the Way You Do Everything (a life-changing book, by the way), recommends making 60 day plans. She also recommends making a daily list of what you need and way. And to ask for what you need within 30 minutes of needing it. So know what you’re going to need tomorrow, and get ready to go get it!