Productive

Whether it’s your full-time job, your side-hustle or a hobby you’re looking to expand into something more, only good things can come from getting yourself organised and becoming more efficient. The biggest frustration is feeling as though there aren’t enough hours in the day. We can feel like we’re paddling upstream; forever struggling and never ending up where we want to be. But in my experience, there are two concepts that will absolutely make you more productive. The first is conditioning yourself and the second is prioritising your actions so they are in alignment with your values.

Conditioning or training yourself means that you put your tendency to be lazy or procrastinate to one side and simply do more. This is the result of learned habits which of course take time but are completely worth it. It’s actually kind of incredible what humans are capable of. We can endure extraordinary things. And this isn’t to sound like you’re to work yourself into the ground (believe me, I am not the type of person to encourage that), but I bring this up as inspiration. You can achieve all those things that you want to do. You can be more productive. You just need to learnt to be a little more efficient.

Prioritising is an easier solution to get your head around than conditioning. So perhaps start with this one. Write down a list of all the things you do each day and approximately how much time is spend doing each of them. Then write a list of what your values are. Or, if you find that too vague, a list of what your dream life would look like if you broke it down into daily actions or acitivities. Compare. You might feel crummy after this exercise. It might become apparent that your two lists are totally in conflict. But that’s OK. You did the important thing by becoming aware of that. Now, you can begin to make changes.

So, if your lists are in conflict and you want to be doing more of what you love, or you’re sick of bumming around and what to train yourself to be more efficient, here are some things you can do.

  1. Wake up early and get straight out of bed. Did you know that early-risers have been found to be overall more productive and proactive than night owls? They tend to anticipate problems and tackle them sooner, thus reducing stress levels. A large survey revealed that ‘morning people’ also admitted to feeling happier overall. Now, a 5am alarm may not be for everyone. You might not be able to get to bed until 11pm and need at least 7 hours sleep. But, look at your schedule and set a realistic wake-up time that you can stick to each day. This extra time in the morning can be used to make a routine that includes wellness activites like exercise or meditation. Or, it can be used to work on a side business you’d like to grow. And when the alarm goes off, don’t allow yourself a second to think about it. Get straight up and don’t look back.
  2. Make time for what’s important each day. Thinking back to prioritising things that matter, make time for them every day. You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again: you only live once. Life is far too short and precious to waste our time on things that don’t inspire us or make us happy. Even if you have to work a job that does nothing else for your satisfaction than pay the bills, spend the rest of the time that you’re not in that workplace wisely. You might want to use your early morning to do these activities, or perhaps you’ve got small children and the evening is the only possible free time. Whenever it is, plan accordingly.
  3. Reduce Sugar & Caffeine intake. I recently wrote this article about what a revelation it was doing life without caffeine. I tried it out of curiosity but found it immensely beneficial; so much so that I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Living without minimal caffeine has completely rid my days of low energy slumps. I didn’t find the caffeine buzz to make me any more efficient than usual, because I’m generally a very focussed person. But, what I did suffer from were the lows as the effects would wear off. Nowadays, no caffeine = consistent energy levels. I’m also mindful about sugar because it’s terrible for us. I have found that when I’m consuming too much sugar, my mood slips and I don’t feel as enthusiastic or productive. Keeping it in check will work wonders in helping you feel more balanced.
  4. Schedule in the fun stuff. This might sound like a bore, but if you schedule in dedicated time for those things simply done for enjoyment, you’ll actually get so much more out of them. There’s nothing worse than trying to have a good time, but feeling like you should probably be working or doing x, y or z to be more productive instead. I said at the start than it’s remarkable how much we can endure, but I’m not an advocate for being a tyrant. You need to allow yourself time to laugh and play. Scheduling this in will allow your body to fully relax and your mind to remain present in the moment.

These are just a small handful and I’d love to hear what’s made a difference for you! Have you changed something in your routine to make you work smarter?

Photo via Unsplash

 

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I’ve decided to honour myself this year. Why? Because life is simply too short not to. And in order for me to do great things in this world, it has got to start with me. It’s really as simple as that. You can’t keep the fire burning without remembering to add logs, can you? Nourishment, relaxation, love, kindness and a commitment to wellness are what it’s all about.

Here’s How:

  1. I’ve decided to commit to completing 12 wellness challenges this year. One a month, to be exact. These will all be documented over on Wise + Well, so be sure to catch up with me on there. I’m also producing some extra material on there mainly focussing on minimalism and ethical living. This month, my challenge is daily meditation. Boy is it hard. More to come on that one.
  2. Respect my gut. I guess I mean this quite literally in terms of what I put into my body, but also I’m referring to respecting my gut instinct. When I feel the answer ‘no’, I will try my best to vocalise that word. And the same goes for ‘yes’. Our internal guidance system is there for a reason, we just never listen to it.
  3. Priotise. I find it so easy to get carried away in my thoughts and mindfulness is a major theme for me this year. Along with this is the need to prioritse what’s truly important: time with my loved ones, creativity and fun. I sometimes get things really out of order on my priorities list. That’s usually when negative side effects occur; funny that…
  4. Tell myself the nice words that I tell my friends. Would I look at my friends when I’m with them and tell them what I don’t like about them? No, of course not! I would compliment what I adore most. So why should it be any different with myself? If a friend is down in the dumps, I want to encourage them to get back up again. You don’t knock em’ while they’re down! So why on earth don’t I do the same for myself?
  5. Pay more attention. Again, we’re heading back to mindfulness here. Already this year I’ve been making more effort to pay attention to how I am affected by my surroundings, by the foods I eat, the people I interact with, astrology and the weather. This life is an ecosystem and it’s important I try to maximise optimal living conditions and settle into a niche that allows me to flourish.

Do you have any self love tips? Let me know below! I would love to hear what you’re doing to honour yourself in 2017.

 

Photo via Unsplash

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little girl

I’m looking at her and she’s just a kid;

Wide-eyed, braid at side

Looking bright to her future.

Tell me baby girl, about your tales and mysteries.

I’ll be sure to write it all down in your book of history

About your unicorns, your friends in the wood

The monsters you hush because they’re just misunderstood

Figments of an ordinary mind

Cut on the bias and sped up with time.

 

We jet round the sun and my next glance says she’s twelve

Stealing her mama’s lipstick,

Twirling pearls and running from the other girls.

Friday night she’s caught between the play and the hang out

Writing tales of ordinary mysteries

Bred to be solved and foretold and dressed down with marigolds.

 

Blossoms of springtime burst and she’s sixteen

Caught in that land of in between

More ordinary than ever before

Though she looks intently through the screen

At fireflies playing and swears they call her name

Begging to take her elsewhere, where she too can play the game.

But instead Saturday’s clock strikes nine and she’s being honked at

Outside her window by the boy and Mary-Jane.

 

Cycle again, she’s twenty-four

Arguing with the landlord through the door

About how she’ll pay rent, she knows it’s due

But it’s so hard playing the game when you’ve got a dream to make come true.

An ordinary life, this she can’t stand

I know it will get better for you,

Here, hold my hand.

It’s mitigated, unjust, unruly, unfair

Drift off, sweet flower, I’ll comb your hair.

 

Time flies again, she’s thirty-seven

Ten leagues, twelve tracks, three days from heaven.

She’s begging and crying that it’s got to stop

“I’ll do anything” she pleas.

How did you bask in ordinary?

How did you remain unchanged?

When all I did was point you in the direction

Of tall tales and mysteries

And fireflies and their games.

 

She’s forty-three and it had to stop

So she packed up shop and left the rock

And set sail west to find the wind;

The unicorns, the hum of the engine

The beach-bound barnacles

And mortar for her bricks to build the castle she once had dreamed

Where at its shores lapped mirrored crests

Of waves carrying with them whispers

Of unordinary things.

 

Photo: Sandra Schmid via Flickr