Feb 24, 2014 - 0 Comments - Productivity -

My Daily Habits

Daily Habits

I am always interested in ways in which I can become more productive and get more out of each day. There are countless blog posts and articles online about the daily habits of highly successful people. I find a lot of inspiration in reading them and I try to incorporate some of those habits into my daily routine. With that in mind, I thought I would share some of my daily habits. Some of these I have been doing for a long time while others are still a work in progress.

  • Get up early- This is my newest habit and the one that was most difficult to form (it is still a work in progress). I am not a morning person at all and I have struggled with getting out of bed when the alarm goes off. Recently, I decided it was time to break my bad snooze button habit and start a new habit of getting up the first time the alarm goes off. For this plan to work, I had to trick myself into getting out of bed on time. My solution was to put my alarm on the opposite side of the room. When the alarm goes off, I am now forced to get up because I can’t reach the snooze button. Once I’m up, I leave the room immediately so I’m not tempted to get back under the covers. At this point I’m up, awake, and ready to start my day. I found it helpful to tackle this one gradually; I started by setting my alarm 5 minutes earlier each week and I now get up about an hour earlier than did previously. Having a few extra minutes in the morning to read, write or get in a quick bodyweight workout while not feeling rushed is refreshing and productive.

  • Read- I try to read for at least an hour every day, more if possible. Reading is the most important skill a person learns as a child, and is just as important in adulthood. When I was in high school I took reading for granted. However, I have since discovered a great love for reading and now I read voraciously. I often read more than one book at a time (usually one fiction and one nonfiction) and I read several books each month. I also have an overflowing wish list of books I need to buy as well as several books at home I haven’t read yet.

  • Write- There are countless articles online espousing the benefits of writing every day (two good examples are here and here). I try to write at least 750 words each day, an idea inspired by this site. The basic idea is that 750 word equals about two and a half to three pages, and to write that much takes a bit of mental effort to complete. I write in both an electronic journal and with old fashioned pen and paper. My writing usually consists of my own private thoughts and ideas, but I also try to be more creative by writing some poetry and fiction. I have experienced many of the positive benefits cited in the posts above by writing every day, including improved mental clarity, problem solving and focus. When I practice expressive writing, I am usually inspired by some thought I didn’t know I had. It is not uncommon for me to start writing about one topic and end up at something else entirely.

  • Learn- At the end of the day, if I can say, “I learned something new today,” I consider that to be a successful day. More specifically, I try to learn a new skill or strengthen an existing skill every day. Currently, I am using the app Duolingo to try to learn Spanish (a task I failed during high school). Another great way to learn something new every day is to read a random Wikipedia article every morning.

  • Exercise- Like most people, this is an up and down habit for me. It’s a habit I know is important, but it’s usually the first habit to go by the wayside when life gets busy and stressful. Whenever I am physically active on a consistent basis, though, I feel like I am at my best physically, mentally and emotionally. I don’t go to the gym every day (3 to 4 days each week), but I try to get at least some form of physical activity everyday. That usually means some bodyweight exercises in the morning to start my day, taking a long walk or jogging a couple miles in the evening.

  • Take a walk- This is related to my exercise habit, but I thought it deserved its own spot on the list because it actually serves more than one purpose. I read this post on Medium about the value of taking a midday break with a 10-15 minute walk. I started to adopt this habit (weather permitting) and it works wonders. When I start to feel a sense of tiredness and lack of motivation kick in around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I drop what I’m doing and get outside to take a walk. While I’m walking I try not think too much about work or anything that might induce stress. It is meant to be a relaxing activity. When I get back to my office, I usually feel invigorated with a greater sense of focus, a clear mind, and motivation to get me to the day’s finish line. Taking 10 to 15 minutes out of my day to get outside actually adds about an hour’s worth of actual productive time to my day.

In general, if I have accomplished all these things, I consider the day to be a success. Do you have any daily habits that are not listed here that you would like to share? Leave me a comment below.

 

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