7 things you can do to get more done and create the life you want

1. Develop good habits and identify and get rid of your old habits.

We all have habits. Breathe, wake up, shower, eat, work, watch tv, check facebook go to sleep. These are all habits. Some habits are necessary, some habits move us forward, and other habits hold us back and stop us achieving the life we desire.

The key to achieving more is to work out which habits are holding you back, identify the habits that will improve your life and then replace the bad habits with the good ones. I believe that the bad habits we adopt are a challenge that we create for ourselves so that by learning to overcome the bad habits we become stronger

2. Read every day.

Dr Seuss in his book “I can read with my eyes shut” wrote “ The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” He is right, reading increases your intelligence. among many other benefits.  These include: boosting your brainpower, making you more empathetic, help you relax and go to sleep, reduce stress, expand your vocabulary, improve your memory, focus and concentration, better writing skills and best of all reading is free entertainment.

3. Wake up and get up at or before sunrise.

Waking up early can provide all kinds of benefits.Early risers score consistently better results at school and college. Harvard biologist Christoph Randler discovered in 2008 that early risers are more proactive. They were more likely to agree with statements like “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself” and “I feel in charge of making things happen.” [1]

Other benefits include more readily identifying problems.

Early risers are better planners, probably because they have more time in the mornings to think about what needs to be done. The have time for exercise. They get better sleep, are more optimistic. They have easier commutes because they are often ahead of the peak hour crowds.

4. Do some sort of exercise, whether it is yoga or going to the gym. Exercise has many benefits.

Books have been written on the benefits of exercise and a simple Google Scholar search will provide ample scientific evidence showing this. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”

5. Get 7 to 8 hours sleep per night consistently.

Sleep improves your memory and is key to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Sleep benefits your heart mind, weight and so much more. Sleep also makes you look better, it reduces the bags and rings under your eyes. A study published in 2010 in the British Medical Journal showed that people were rated higher after a good night’s sleep when compared with being sleep deprived.In her 2015 doctoral thesis, “The Face of Sleep Loss” Tina Sundelin showed “ Facial photographs of 48 participants were taken after normal sleep and after either one night of total sleep deprivation or two nights of partial sleep deprivation. The photographs were then evaluated in four different studies by a total of 288 raters recruited from universities and the general public in Stockholm, Sweden. The faces were rated on attractiveness, health, tiredness, sleepiness, sociability, trustworthiness, employability, and leadership ability. These factors were all adversely affected by sleep loss. Furthermore, looking tired was strongly related to being less attractive, looking less healthy and less trustworthy, and being perceived as a poorer employee and leader.” [2]

6. Plan tomorrow the last thing you do before you leave work or go to bed.

I like to take a few minutes each afternoon just before I leave work to review my day. Tick off the jobs I have done on my “to do list/ daily plan” and then  draft a list of what needs to be done tomorrow. I find this provides a few benefits. First, I get a sense of achievement that my day hasn’t been wasted and that I got some important work done. Second, I can leave work without worrying about work and taking the worry home. Planning tomorrow today means that I am also ready when I arrive to start work and can get into productive mode as soon as I arrive at work  when I am at my most productive.

7. Check your emails once per day only and only after you have reviewed your daily plan in the morning.

Unless your job depends on timely response to emails the majority of emails can wait. The way I see it, if something is so urgent that it needs immediate action I would be calling the person to discuss the issue at hand. If the first thing you do is check your emails when you arrive at work then you get caught up in other people’s agendas before getting the chance to set your own agenda. One of the best strategies I have found for productivity is sitting down and reviewing my “to do/ daily plan”. When reviewing my daily plan I first decide who are the important people I need to reach out to in order to move my projects forward. Then I prioritise my work and to do list with the jobs that will get the most achieved being put at number one on the list. It is only when I have got my daily plan in order that I give myself 15 to 30 minutes to go through my emails.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/pictures/gglg45gfd/more-proactive/

[2] The Face of Sleep Loss, Tina Sundelin http://diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:800892/FULLTEXT01.pdf

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