Make Each Day Count
Emma Thompson – Massage Therapist
Do you ever get to the end of the day and think, where did the time go? What did I actually achieve for today? Guilty, the days have a habit of rushing on by and it seems the weeks and years are starting to follow! However 2017 is still young and with the enthusiasm of a new year comes new goals, hopes and ambitions. So lets make the most of every day, follow these 10 tips for a more productive day and sounder sleep at night.
- Create a Clear Mind and Purpose
It should come as no surprise that stress affects the way we concentrate. It narrows our awareness and it becomes difficult to see novel and creative possibilities. Stress can also contribute to a decrease in brain cells not to mention completely zap us of energy which explains all that fog in the nog. So to help create a clear mind, add a little bit of mindfulness into your day. A simple 5-10 minute period of sitting quietly can go a long way! Next time you are feeling a little hazy take a deep breath and switch off to regain your focus.
- Create A Beautiful Space
Clutter on the desk can equal clutter in the mind. A big part of Traditional Chinese Medicine is the belief that we are all products of our environment. There is an emphasis placed on the act of deeply cleansing and organising your environment for great health and happiness. Being surrounded by clutter slows us down, makes us feel mentally and physically fatigued and contributes to stress and anxiety. The process of creating a peaceful, spacious, light and functional environment helps to increase our motivation and keeps us focused.
- Make Achievable Lists
Making lists is a great way to remind us of what needs to be done but they can also quite easily become our worst enemies. A list of never-ending duties staring us right in the face can often become a little daunting and occasionally may even result in a minor panic attack! Even though it might be at times a little overwhelming to see just how much there is to be done, they are still one of the best ways to track your productiveness. I often have multiple to do lists on the go and each day one of the first things I do upon waking is look at these lists and take from each what needs to be achieved for that day. I love the gratification that comes from ticking off jobs but to do lists should be two things: prioritised and achievable.
- Eat Less Processed Foods.
Food fuels your brain as well as your body, so what is on your plate can easily influence your productivity throughout the day. Chemically processed foods (foods derived from refined ingredients and artificial substances) are high in sugar and full of preservatives, colorants and flavours leaving us feeling tired and listless after consumption. When these ‘simple carbohydrates’ are consumed we experiences rapid spikes of insulin and blood sugar levels, contributing to that middle of the day lull. A rise in glucose has also been found to reduce neuron activity within the brain, so steer clear of the dietary devils and instead…(see step 5!)
- Nourish Your Body with Foods that Support Brain Activity
We rarely think about caring for our brains, yet it is an integral part of who we are and how we operate. The brain controls the body as well as the mind. Neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers of the brain) Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin are produced in the brain but there function can also be increased by consuming supportive foods. Important foods to include in your daily diet to help increase alertness and maintain concentration levels are: healthy fats (Oily Fish, Nuts, Seeds), proteins (Eggs, Quinoa, Chia, Lean Meats) and antioxidant rich foods (Blueberries, Acai, Green Tea).
- Limit Time Spent on Social Media Platforms
Probably the biggest procrastination tool of the modern era, it is so easy to get caught up in the world of Social Media. A quick check of notifications can quickly become a solid session of meme tagging, stalking and adoration of another’s life through squares. Turn off notification settings to help limit temptations and try to allocate specific times during the day for when you are allowed to check in, we don’t expect you to go all Kimmy K.
- Make Time to Exercise
How many times have you justified not exercising because you just don’t have the energy? This is in fact one of the biggest reasons you very well should be moving your body. Exercise increases oxygen delivery around the body increasing our energy conversion rates. It re-directs blood flow to the brain, sharpening our awareness and overtime helps curb depression and anxiety by releasing serotonin and helping improve your state of mind and give you that on-top-of-things feeling.
- Get more Sleep
It’s ironic that when we are busy the first thing we often tend to sacrifice is sleep, our logic being that the more hours of the day we spend doing things the more we will get done. This may be correct in theory but how well are we utilising this time? It has been found that if we are getting less then seven hours of sleep a night then we are not at our best. Lack of sleep can affect our thoughts and processes, decision-making skills, memory and mood, making for a less then ideal scenario of getting things done. Skimping on the hours may give you more time but ultimately it’s time wasted. Aim for seven hours of restful sleep a night.
- Remember You are not Alone
Delegation (del-e-gation) || Noun: The act of giving control, authority, a job, a duty etc. to another person. I’m sure this word is quite new to a lot of you and maybe a little hard to wrap your head around but I can assure you no one got to the top by doing it all on their own. Behind every great leader you will find a great team – many hands make light work. I could continue with the idioms but I’m pretty sure you get the point. You are not alone, never be afraid to ask for help.
- Learn to Forgive
At the end of the day we need to realise that we are human. Some days we are going to feel like nothing can get in the way of greatness, other days that to do list will seem like an impossible feat. The days this happens – forgive, forget and re-focus. Wake up with fresh eyes, a new day brings new prospects.
So in the wise words of a young boy Jack Dawson, here’s “To making it count”