Simple tweaks to your routine for a highly productive day
3 min read
There’s a wealth of information online about ideal morning and evening routines to boost your productivity, but if you’re anything like me, you get overwhelmed trying to implement the laundry list of changes and just end up Instagram scrolling yourself to sleep.
Well, good news. Below are two (yes, only two!) tweaks that are easy to implement, but highly effective in helping you take advantage of your work hours and cross shit off your to-do list - who doesn’t love that?
The way you spend the last hour before bed and the first hour on waking are crucial to your productivity, so there's one tweak for each.
TWEAK #1: Minimize blue light exposure 1 hour before bed
Blue light comes from electronic devices and energy-efficient light bulbs. These lights interfere with your natural circadian rhythm, preventing your body from producing melatonin, the hormone that makes you drowsy and ready for sleep. Because of blue light, your body has trouble recognizing it’s nighttime, so it’s still in 'go mode'. This is why your mind races at night as you try to fall asleep. Mystery solved.
So, how exactly do you minimize your blue light exposure? Avoid using any electronics 1 hour before bed, including your phone and TV. If you want to take it a step further, in her bestselling book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington recommends keeping all electronics out of the bedroom and using an old school alarm clock to wake you up in the morning. She's talking wind up, not clock radio.
Finally, if you like to read in bed like I do, switch out the bulbs in your bedside lamps for amber or red incandescent bulbs, which you can pick up on Amazon or at your local hardware store.
TWEAK #2: Set your alarm 30 mins earlier than you normally would and don’t hit snooze
Snoozing confuses your body. Dipping in and out of sleep in the morning causes something called “sleep inertia”, which is essentially a snooze hangover that can last for 2-4 hours making you feel groggy and unfocused all morning. Not cool. Instead of dealing with that mess, force yourself to plant your feet on the floor as soon as your alarm goes off.
Skipping snooze also ensures you’re waking up at the exact same time every day. Our bodies thrive on routine. Waking up at the exact same time every day will make you more alert in the morning as you become accustomed to the time and will also help you naturally become sleepy at night.
Now, take the 30 extra minutes that you just gifted yourself to be mindful and ease yourself into your day. This means not touching your phone. It’s likely the first thing you reach for, but checking notifications, reading messages and scrolling through social media gets you thinking about everything you have to do that day, which is a highly reactive state of mind, shocking your body into 'go mode' and boosting cortisol, the stress hormone. Not the best way to start your morning.
Giving yourself thirty minutes in the morning without any requests being made of you will ground you in presence. The longer the better. Instead of trying to play catch up with your stress response, your mind will be clearer for the rest of the day, boosting your productivity and helping you focus on what needs to get done.
If you have any other simple tweaks to your morning or evening routine that have helped you be a boss, share it below in the comments! If you found these tips helpful, share it with a friend and/or pin it for later: