How many times have you thought about the next day ‘’it’s going to be difficult’’? I do have that sometimes, but there are 3 tricks that help me keeping such a day intact.
Plan your day the night before.
I cannot stress that one more. Especially when you know there are important or stressful things to be done the following day. By making the plan the night before, you will not only sleep better but also wake up with focus and save all that time you’d waste on getting yourself together in the morning. A simple to do list in a correct order would do. However, you may want to wait for the next post on how to use your calendar most effectively, coming soon. (follow us on social media to stay updated)
Develop a morning routine.
It may seem trivial but morning routine helps us minimize reactivity and set our minds on productive mode. Remember that our cognitive functions of the brain are scarce and depleting with every decision we have to make. Knowing how the first 60min of your day looks like will help you avoid small decision-making and therefore avoid decision fatigue. Every choice you give yourself in the morning – what to wear, what to eat, drink juice of coffee, makes your brain more tired.
Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. (Roy F. Baumeister)
You do not need to follow a minute-by-minute plan and beat yourself up every time you skip a thing. I, for instance, keep a habit tracker. I do not plan my routine in time so that if I sleep 5 or 10 min longer sometimes, I do not get up with a thought of already being delayed. We all know it’s hardly possible to have mornings like in movies where a parent has enough time in the morning to read a book, go for a run, take a nice shower and then eat and chat over the breakfast with the whole family STILL BEFORE leaving for work.
I know that every day after waking up I’ll exercise than a quick shower and finally breakfast. These are my ‘must do’ activities. There is also a list of ‘good to do’ things that include: quick grocery shopping, going for a run, drink a fresh juice, meditate. I do admit, I don’t do that always, but having it as ‘good to do’ instead of ‘must do’ puts my mind at ease and I don’t have to think of what to do with my additional time on more productive mornings.
Eat your frog first.
That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Well, the frog is the most stressful or difficult thing that you do not look forward to. Why should you start your day with that then? Well, most difficult things give us the most satisfaction when completed. Even when some other things will not go as planned during your day, you will still feel that at least this one big thing is off your mind. In contrast, when you leave eating the frog until the last minute, you expose yourself to the whole day of thinking about it, more stress and actually doing it when you are least productive. Remember I mentioned that cognitive functions of the brain are scarce?