10 Habits to start for a productive and successful year ahead
Out with the old and in with the new, and that saying doesn't just restrict to material things. Old habits may die hard but it doesn't mean it's impossible. Same like how new actions take time to turn into habits so why not start now for a more productive, successful and happier 2018.
1. Wake up an hour earlier
You may be more of a night owl but there's also some truth to the phrase "the early bird gets the worm". It's one of the common habits of successful people such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, Michelle Obama and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz where they wake up between 3am and 7am, using the time to work out, reply emails, meditate, read the news and eat a healthy breakfast - before facing the day's challenges.
2. Don't hit the snooze button
It's tempting but it's going to make you late and make you drowsier and more tired for the rest of the day as compared to just sticking to your schedule and getting up when your alarm goes off.
3. Make sure you eat breakfast
They weren't kidding when they said it's the most important meal of the day and even power women like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Hillary Clinton swear by it. And remember to keep it wholesome and healthy. Why not try this overnight breakfast jar recipe to start?
4. Stretch and exercise in the morning
Give your body a good stretch as soon as you wake up and you'll immediately feel more active. But more than that, five minutes of simple exercise - planking or push-ups will work too - in the AM can help boost your energy levels and lose weight according to a 2010 research study published in The Journal of Physiology.
5. Make your bed
If you haven't already, that is. Besides having a cosy bedroom to return home to after a long day at work, making your bed in the morning will subconsciously give you a small sense of accomplishment, thereby increasing productivity throughout the day.
6. Prepare the night before
From tomorrow's outfit to making breakfast/lunch to packing your bag, make all these 'non-essential choices' the night before to streamline your mornings. This productivity hack that's known as a high-value, low-effort systemisation is commonly practised among leaders and CEOs as cutting down on non-essential morning decisions gives them more mental space to tackle real challenges later in the day.
7. Stop multitasking
It's not effective at all. Conversely, a 2009 study from Stanford University found that trying to do several things at once, especially on the computer, makes you less productive than concentrating on just one task.
8. Write a to-do list the night before
To help with #7, list down your tasks from most to least important and tackle them one by one the following day. It's always better to start the day with a plan before you get swayed by everyday distractions.
9. Do the biggest, most dreaded task first
Your brain would be more prepared to tackle any huge task after a good night's sleep and a great start to the morning than after bulldozing several smaller assignments. Emails are especially one of the most tempting tiny tasks so just do a quick scan for any urgent emails then close your inbox and focus on the most important task at hand.
10. Keep a gratitude journal
Start or end the day by checking in with your inner self. Set an intention for the day, reflect on your goals or simply jot down some of the things you're grateful for. These quiet moments will lead to a more positive you which means less stress and reduced chances of feeling overwhelmed.