Could you use a boost in your daily energy, productivity and self-control? A recent study from the University of Nottingham has linked these elements.
They have found that our energy levels go on a slow decline throughout the course of the day – as anyone who has found themselves inhaling coffee to combat the post-lunch slump will already instinctively know! This means that the hours in the morning are the most strategically important – they are when we have our peak energy levels, and also when our self-discipline is at its highest. By capitalising on our morning, and building a routine that works we can make the most of our natural circadian rhythms and make our energy last as long as possible.
Start With Hydration
It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many people stumble into their day intensely dehydrated. The effect of dehydration can include confusion and low focus, so taking a drink of lemon water as soon as you wake up kicks off your mental and physical powers and helps with energy levels by improving the absorption of nutrients through the stomach. Lemons are full of potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. Wait 20 minutes before eating. This one simple change has such a host of benefits.
Set Your Goals
While you’re drinking your water, aim to think about your day ahead and plan out some goals – a maximum of five is best so that it’s actually achievable and your focus isn’t spread too thinly. Having specific goals increases our feelings of self-control and confidence, but they have to be concrete to put your day in motion. Steer clear of anything vague. Something like ‘Improve SEO on the website’ wouldn’t work, but reframe it to ‘Read three articles on improving SEO and find five actionable points’ would. Your goals need to include a ‘how’ so that you know exactly what you need to do. Plan out roughly how long you have to spend on each goal, and remember to factor in time for reactive work like dealing with incoming requests or replying to emails.
Always Eat Breakfast
Skipping your morning meal is bad news for your blood sugar. You’ll crash and burn come 10am and will more than likely then be reaching for something sugar-laden. A healthy breakfast is essential for a productive day with concentration and steady energy levels. If you’re pushed for time in the morning, look into things which can be prepared in advance – bags of ready-made smoothie mix that just need a little almond milk, savoury breakfast muffins you can grab and go, or overnight oats which are ready when you wake up are all ideal. Shop bought alternatives, even ones which look healthy, tend to be full of sugar, so aim for something from home.
Stay Away From Email
The first thing most of us do at work? Go straight to checking our emails. But this is actually the worst thing you can do to have a productive day. As mornings are at the peak time for brain power, when you get to work you need to immediately tackle an important task from your list. Aim to tick two or three major tasks off your list before looking at your email. That way your focus won’t be dragged off in another direction and you can deal with replies when you naturally have less in the tank. Break this habit and it can transform your entire working day.