It’s autumn for those of us in the northern hemisphere. The weather is cooler, wetter, and darker. It’s easy to fall—ahem, pun intended—into the gloom of the season.
You’re warm and cozy in bed. It’s still dark in the morning. (Okay night peeps, that’s nothing to you.) Motivation is tougher to come by. We get it.
But you have a job to get to. Chores need to be done. Things need to happen.
So, how do you pull yourself together and stop dragging—er, your butt—around. What can get you to stop being a zombie and be more productive?
We have some simple yet effective tips to help. Keep reading and see what will work for you.
Tips to Get Moving
It’s harder to shake that sleepy feeling of fall. So, we thought we’d list a few tips to help bolster some energy and motivate you to be more productive during the drowsy days of the year.
The most important thing to do when you first wake up is ingrained in all of us. Babies do it. Animals do it. And healthy people tend to do it too. It’s simple and takes less than a minute.
Seriously, the second you wake up, stretch in bed. Then sit up and stretch. Then stand up and stretch. We’re not talking about a 15-minute stretching routine, but those are great if you have the time. But all we mean is to simply stretch your body as you get up. There are several benefits.
Stretching gets your heart pumping and, therefore, your blood flowing. It activates your muscles and even wakes your brain up more. Plus, stretching first thing in the morning helps with flexibility and mobility throughout the day.
If you find yourself overwhelmed with a load of things to accomplish in a day, one of the best things you can do for yourself is take time to eat a healthy meal.
It may seem counter-productive to prep, cook, and eat when you have other things to do, but fueling your body will fuel your day. When you’re fed, your body is energized and fueled. Also, you’ll focus more on each task because your brain won’t be ignoring your body’s signals to refuel. When your whole self is happy, you’re ready to be more productive.
Have a To-Do List
Having a list of what you need to accomplish for the day does wonders. Not only do you have a clear, written-out plan, but you also get the mini-boosts of seeing yourself check off tasks as they’re done.
But there are a few rules.
Keep the list short. If you want a master list of all the items you hope to accomplish in the week, month, year, or life, fine. The day’s list needs to be short.
How short? Like 3-4 things short, depending on the items. If your list includes laundry, have small items that can be done alongside laundry. If your list includes cleaning out a desk, think about breaking it down or keep that day’s list very short.
Also, having the list physically written out is key. A whiteboard or a piece of paper is better than your phone. We get distracted by our phones, so pop on some music and set that sucker down. When you’ve completed a task, you get that I-did-it feeling when you physically cross it off (or erase it).
If you’re really into to-do lists, check out this 1-3-5 rule.
Okay, so you took the time for breakfast, and hopefully you’ll make time for lunch. That’s important. But did you know that thirst is often mistaken for hunger?
Our bodies don’t just need fuel; they need hydration. Keep a water bottle with you as you get your chores or errands done. Staying hydrated has many health benefits, including digestive health.
It’s worth mentioning that water is the best way to hydrate. Other beverages are nice for flavor, but our bodies aren’t designed for juice, soda, or energy drinks. Good ol’ H2O is truly the best way to go.
But… but… be more productive, right?
Right, but driving yourself to exhaustion doesn’t help. Rest doesn’t have to mean taking a nap. (Though, hopefully, you’re doing your best for a decent sleep on the regular.) It simply means taking a breather, literally.
Is your head spinning? Stop, take a deep breath in, then slowly breathe it out. Feel better? Good. What’s next on the list?
Rest can be a short moment to breathe right where you stand. It can be sitting to check the list. It can be your lunch break. (Yes, feed yourself lunch.) Rest is so important. Doing this in short moments a couple of times a day will actually help you to be more productive than simply running yourself crazy from morning till night.
Even busy parents driving their kids all over creation will take a few deep breaths at a red light. If you catch yourself doing this, it’s not just a sign that you need oxygen; it means you need a breather, a short rest. Recapture yourself and keep going.
Find the Good
Sometimes when we do all the things, we’re still wrapped up in our heads and all the troubles of life and the job. Sometimes we can’t shake our anxiety, worries, or fears. The simple dread of the long list isn’t our only downer.
We’re in first responder life and it’s not for the faint of heart. So, how can we boost our motivation when we’re down and be more productive still?
Find the good. It’s there, we promise. Find the good in your life, in your family, in your home, wherever you can.
Ask yourself, “What do I love? Who do I love? What’s beautiful in this world that makes me want to keep serving or helping or moving in general?”
There’s good all over though it’s not always louder than the ugly stuff.
Look at others trying to help. Look at your friends, family, and neighbors who love you. Read something positive. Try some of these tips for finding the good in life. Try seeing 3 to 5 positive things each day. Writing them down helps.
Even if you’re not clinically depressed or even feeling down, this is a great motivator that gets us moving. Seeing goodness pumps us up because we were made for such things.
Try it. Look harder and find what’s good in your day.
Self Motivation Leads to Productivity
Just like in coaching when we help our coaching partners to find the answers in themselves, learning how to self-motivate is a key trait to being more productive. If you notice the theme, you’ll see it starts with self-care. When we take care of our bodies and our minds, we’re more apt to become more productive.
Increased productivity leads to more motivation to be even more productive. It’s a pattern that gains traction pretty quickly and we hope you’ve found it. If you need more tips and ideas, check out these 14 Morning Motivations.