Simple habits are something we develop over time. And whatever they are, it compounds through the years. Here are 8 simple yet effective productivity habits you can do. Remember that it takes approximately 21 days or 3 weeks to form a habit or forget a habit, so stay consistent by writing these down on a piece of paper next to you when you wake up. Let’s go!
1. Plan your week on a Sunday night or before your first day of the work week – there’s no need to do an hour by hour schedule, but instead write down your top 3 tasks/goals you want to accomplish every single day. Please note that if checking your email or replying to messages is not part of them, these are regular tasks that you’re supposed to do. Divide the responsibilities you have for the week onto specific days. This gives you a great view of how your week will look like and lets you know if you can accept additional tasks that could be given to you. Separate those for work and those that are personal to you.
2. Preparation is key – before going to bed each night, set yourself up for a productive next day by getting the things you need when you wake up. This is as simple as getting your clothes ready, your workbag at the door, your packed healthy food, water container, etc. So when you wake up groggy in the morning, you’ll thank yourself for making it a lot easier.
3. Hydrate yourself at night and upon waking – make it a habit to down 2 glasses of water before going to bed. The reason for this is that when we sleep, we go 6-8 hours without any water in our body. We get dehydrated upon waking and our energy tends to be low. Then upon waking, instead of prepping a cup of coffee first, down 2 glasses or 1 liter of cold water to hydrate yourself. Then get that cup of coffee you’re used to drinking afterwards. You’re going to feel more refreshed and get your day off to a much better start!
4. Have a light breakfast – I usually have my coffee early in the morning and something I can nibble on with 5-6 bites to have something in my stomach to last me until my first and only large meal around 4-6 PM. I picked up this habit when I researched the eating habits of successful entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. On their workdays, they usually have very light breakfasts, contrary to what I was used to growing up where breakfast was king. The reason for that is because digesting food takes up a lot of energy instead of giving us energy. This takes some time (2-3 weeks) to get used to if you’re also used to having a hearty breakfast, but trust me, you’ll be more laser focused for the next 6-8 hours prior to your first meal. Your stomach will be grumbling the first few days, but it will get better as the days go on. I skip lunch and use the eating time to read a book or something educational online.
5. Use an alarm clock and put it as far away from you – it’s a simple hack but very effective. Since your alarm is far from you, you’ll need to stand up and reach for your alarm clock. Also, do not use your phone as your alarm clock. Why? Because using your phone as an alarm will just make you want to check on your messages or social media, before you know it, you’re stuck scrolling on your feed for the past 30 minutes when you could be getting ready for work or your meditation time.
6. Set a weekly or biweekly “Maintenance Day” where do you don’t accept added tasks and focus on your home tasks – a lot of things can be done on this day like cleaning your home, paying bills, doing laundry, giving your dogs a bath, etc. Remember, we’re trying to compound good habits you can do consistently. Having that maintenance day makes it easier to prioritize other commitments during the week without the stress of adding another project you need to do at home.
7. Write down your “Productive Morning Ritual” in order – I have all my morning rituals each written down on a post it note one by one. From fixing my bed, exercising (see # 8), to reading a bible verse, to drinking water, meditating, reading my 10 affirmations, drinking coffee, taking my medicine, taking a shower to reading my messages and writing my daily blogs like this. Everything is all accounted for and helps me form a productive habit, instead of waking up and just checking on my social media feed mindlessly for the next 30 minute or more. Writing these simple tasks gives us a sense of accomplishment, that we can do anything throughout the day if we start with completed simple tasks that compound.
8. Jumpstart your morning with exercise – this is the quickest way to get your blood moving and circulating to make your brain awake, ready for action! No need to go to the gym for this. I do this simple routine in front of the mirror upon waking up before downing my 1 liter of cold water: 30 jumping jacks, 30 squats and 30 pushups. I’ve added more repetitions as the months go on and maxed at 120 reps of each. That breaks a few sweats for me and gets me pumped up for the day, helping me move a lot more with great energy!
Question of the day: What’s your early morning ritual like?