No matter what your dreams in life are, we could all stand to be more productive from time to time…and I believe that with productivity comes health and happiness (and vice versa!). These are my 10 tips for feeling healthier, happier, and more productive:
1. Figure out when you should be waking up.
I have always naturally been a morning person, but lately I’ve been really reveling in getting up early. I’m not talking 4am early, because I’m not crazy, but I am talking sunrise. I wake up everyday at 6am. That’s just when my body says EXCUSE ME PLEASE WAKE UP! And so I do. But lately I’ve been taking advantage of the unusual happiness and energy that radiates from me in the mornings. I wake up. I drink a big glass of water. I go outside to watch the sunrise while stretching and doing yoga. Afterwards, once the the sun has peaked, I sit and “meditate”. And so, onto number 2!
2. Guided daydreams.
I usually don’t say “meditate” for fear it will scare people off. Truth be told, I’ve never been taught meditation, I don’t totally understand what it is, and I’m a bit sad to admit that. However, I do something for myself which I assume is quite similar. I go on guided daydreams. After my morning exercise I sit and daydream. I force myself to clear my mind and simply let myself have a big, meaningful, fairytale-filled adventure in my mind.
For example, yesterday I imagined myself running across rolling green hills and then climbing a tree so tall I sat above the clouds and looked down at a village below.
Another day I daydreamed I was swimming in a vast ocean with hot air balloons floating near the surface.
And another day, I imagined myself on top of a glacier overlooking an expansive land with a beautiful hot pink sunrise.
It doesn’t matter what you think about, just that you are exercising your mind in a creative way and allowing yourself to go to that place that you envision. It helps to clear your mind of stress, think creatively, and relax.
3. Challenge yourself .
I work on goals, I always have and probably always will. I love to set myself deadlines and see if I can complete them. So each morning I define what is most important to finish, and I choose a time to finish them by. Usually between 12pm and 3pm I start to get restless and need some outdoor fun, so I typically choose a time in between there.
But let’s go further. Don’t just challenge yourself with everyday tasks…have an ADVENTURE. Go out and do something completely unique and memorable. Create a life not just worth living, but one that you feel fortunate to call your own. Do something outrageous. Do something silly. Do something that will make you laugh or cry…or both. Seek adventure.
4. Reward yourself.
Once you’ve completed those tasks, big or small, reward yourself! It is okay to pretend you’re a dog playing dead to get a treat…because really, we aren’t that different! We want to feel good after completing a task, so why not reward yourself with something fun. Examples are a walk, a snack, a TV show, a hot bath, etc.
5. Make friends who will hold you accountable.
You don’t have to believe me, but I hope you will…there are people out there, all over the place, who are willing to be your friend. What I have learned about any type of creative individual is that there are more out there. We are all unique in our own ways, and yet there are many of us. Find a friend who is into the same kind of thing you are. Push each other, and challenge each other. And most importantly, let them know what you’re up to so that you have someone to encourage you when you’re feeling low.
I am very lucky to have many of those people in my life. I have my husband to make me do the business-y things I don’t like doing, like taxes and email organization and so forth. I have my best friend and now assistant Kelly to keep me on top of important tasks. And I have countless creatives from ALL over the world who I can count on instantly to give me the motivation to push further and harder.
6. Create a routine.
I am really big on routines. As you can probably tell from my morning routine, I think that it is important that we have some sort of order in our lives. I am all about being nomadic and traveling and being free-spirited, but at the same time we need to have order, even if it is chaotic order, to feel organized. I feel more productive and a lot happier when I understand what has to be done, when I’ll do those things, and how long they will take me.
When I am home, my routine is to go through my morning ritual, work from about 7am-3pm, take a break to go on a walk or hike, make dinner, and enjoy that time with family. And then I usually do more work in the evenings.
7. Don’t beat yourself up for “off” days.
You can’t move at 1,000% speed all the time. You are human, and its okay to feel like a human! You are allowed to be sad for no reason, happy for no reason, disorganized or overwhelmed or stressed. But know that it will pass, and let yourself have those days that might just have to be relaxation days. Sometimes, when we feel emotions for no apparent reason, it’s our bodies telling us to slow down and focus within.
8. Give yourself dedicated time off.
I always give myself dedicated time off. When I started working for myself I realized quickly that the whole WORK ALL THE TIME thing wasn’t working at all. My husband and I thought it would be great because we’d be together all the time, but what we found was that we worked constantly and never truly saw each other.
Now, we eat every meal together at the table. We cook together. We go on a walk together once a day. And we pick full days where we go out and have adventures. You need to schedule down time because it is the only thing that will keep you going strong when you are working.
9. Begin to let everyone around you know that you are not a work horse. You will work when you have time because health is your priority.
Let people know that you are going to do the best you can when you’re working, and when you aren’t working, you aren’t concerned about it. I started to realize that the more I put myself out there, the more people expected from me. I started getting emails without a polite word in them demanding that I write back and answer all of the questions contained within. I started realizing how valuable time is, and I started to do something very important: I used my time to give to others as often as I possibly could, and when I just couldn’t do it anymore, I didn’t stress over it.
Do as much as you can, but don’t over-exert yourself. You will be giving everyone less than 100%, and no one wants that at all.
10. Cut the people out of your life who don’t make it better.
There are people who will lift you up and people who will bring you down. Make changes in your life to be less influenced by those who will bring you down, and surround yourself with those who lift you up. That is one of my main motivations for starting this blog. Those of you who comment are always so uplifting, and it is one big blog hug of wonderfulness for me. I surround myself with you because it makes me feel elevated, and I believe that one person lifting another elevates many.
So, in the words of Radiohead, what will you do to be “FITTER, HAPPIER, and MORE PRODUCTIVE”?