As January nears, hopefully, we’ve all had ample time to recharge our batteries over Christmas break. Yet, it always feels a little weird going back to work after the extended holiday. So, how can we make it easier?
It’s a fact many people know of but don’t necessarily care to mention. The most successful individuals on this planet all have some variation of a morning routine. That’s right; your full-day includes multiple routines. Perhaps no part of the day is more critical to your growth and development than the morning. It’s because of many reasons, but none more vital than setting the tone. Often, how mornings go, the rest of the day goes. I am not saying if you’ve spilled coffee on your suit on the way to work, you can’t change and still have a solid, productive day. Because that in and of itself shows, you can bounce back. Rather, I mean you want to start your mornings off with a bang. That way, you have a gauge for the productivity of the rest of your day.
When I say start the day off with a bang, I don’t necessarily mean utilizing the Pomodoro technique and ensuring you have a few hours of deep work. Because, in many ways, we all have distinct nuances in our routines that help us. Take, for instance, a writer, such as myself. I know many writers who get up before the crack of dawn. For one, some do it because it’s the only time they can write without distraction from a spouse, kids, and the like. But it paints a bigger picture of the second reason: many writers enjoy mornings because it’s the time of the day when things are going most slowly, and the rest of the world has yet to wake up and embark on their daily endeavors. Think of it this way; it’s quiet enough outside to hear the birds chirp before cars start rumbling and peaceful enough to gather your thoughts before you’re reminded to check your e-mail because the world began moving.
By now, we’ve all filled our bellies with plenty of turkey, ham, ravioli, or whatever your family meal of choice is on Christmas day. Regardless, some of us, myself included, have gotten a little lax on our workout routines and a little heavy on the leftovers. Considering 2020 has been such a challenging year for the entire planet due to the coronavirus, it’s understandable that many routines are out of whack. With vaccines right around the corner, I hope that in 2021, we’re able to reach some semblance of normalcy. After all, with gyms, courts, and other exercise venues closed, this year has been particularly tough on our bodies. Much of us have relegated to binge-watching television shows on the couch and far too often using the excuse of, “I don’t have training equipment at home.” When in reality, you can exercise anywhere, any day. All it takes is a little courage and commitment.
There’s no overstating how crucial exercise is to your daily routine, and not just for your body. I’ve noticed when I am on top of my stretching routine and can play basketball 3 or 4 times a week, my mind is sharper, and I am happier. I feel more energized because of my stretching. Also, more relieved of stress after playing basketball. Typically, the biggest obstacle is beginning. So, an excellent way to get started is to implement exercise into your already existing routine. Maybe you start by standing up and stretching every 20 minutes at work or waking up early to meditate for 30 minutes. Either way, you’ll be better off because of it. We often view exercising as an activity we have to go out of our way to complete. However, when we start small and grow on those efforts, exercise becomes as routine as brushing our teeth.
As much as we focus on our routine, a part of any routine is taking care of the person who is completing it, which involves creating “me time” for yourself. Allow yourself the chance to sit back, reflect, and let your thoughts come and go, without any technological disturbances. A productive method for this is to set a time every day in which you unplug and disconnect. Let’s say your time is 5 PM, and after 5 PM, you don’t take any work-related calls, texts, or e-mails. Hopefully, only a few people at work have your number for an emergency, but other than that, you want to minimize interruption as much as humanly possible. Doing so will help you gain the much-needed clarity you need to take on the next day.
When you implement disconnecting into your routine, you’re more conscious about the tasks you need to complete. We often have so many things to do in one day, we forget and even neglect projects that need our attention. A way to circumvent this tendency is to make a to-do list at the beginning of each day. Furthermore, break the list down by priority, and don’t forget to include factors such as time-sensitive tasks. A simple checklist can go a long way in bringing you structure and direction for the rest of your day. Distractions are abundant in any profession, so the more organized you are, the better you’ll handle them.
Disconnecting doesn’t merely involve shutting off your cell phone either. While this is a productive start for you to be constructive each day, you’ll need a good night’s rest the night before. Of course, you can start by making sure you give yourself at least 30 minutes without technology before bed. Reducing the amount of blue light your eyes receive before bed can work wonders for your sleep. Yes, that means to put down the phone and tablet, which produce this light. Studies show this gives us time to process the day and think about the next, which allows us to wind down, feel more relaxed, and ultimately, have a better night’s sleep. Pay close attention to your sleeping position, too, as it also impacts your sleep quality, which affects your routine. By kick-starting and taking advantage of your mornings, exercising regularly, and disconnecting, you’ll leave yourself in the best position possible to recapture your routine this new year.