Over the last few months, I have been focusing on creating a better work/life balance. There were so many times where I found myself working late into the night on my computer, or scrolling through Instagram on my phone, only to later find myself with constant thoughts eating away at me to the point where I couldn't fall asleep. I was non-stop thinking of work and what I needed to do the next day or later on in the week, and I ended up in a perpetual state of comparison and worry. And because I was spending hours each night trying to go to sleep, when morning finally came I would try to sleep in as much as possible because I knew I needed it. In exchange for sleeping in, however, meant less time set aside for getting ready, eating breakfast, and simply for getting out the door. It got so bad that some mornings I was waking up and in the car fifteen minutes later.
Though that lifestyle works for some, it wasn't working for me and I knew something had to change. So, I began getting more familiar with the idea that although I work from home, it was okay to stop answering incoming e-mails after five o'clock, and that it was okay to close my laptop for the rest of the evening and go enjoy actually living. That was three months ago. Since then, I've felt more relaxed, happy, and content with what I accomplish each day. There are much fewer evenings where I find myself worrying about what I must achieve the following day, and therefore, less restless nights.
And because I have been able to fall asleep at a more decent hour, my mornings have become more open for me to begin implementing ways to help me to be more successful throughout the day. Today, I wanted to share with you the six things I do each morning that have made such an improvement to my life over the last few months. They only take a small amount of time to do, but are so worth it in the end!
1. DRINK A GLASS OF WATER. When you first get up out of bed, the BEST thing you can do for your body is drink 8 - 16oz. of water. If you think about it, your body doesn't consume any water for the duration of time that you are asleep, which can sometimes mean over 8 hours! Therefore, when you wake up, your body is extremely dehydrated. Plus, if you drink 1 - 2 glasses of water, it helps reduce the puffiness of your under-eye circles (you're welcome).
2. DRESS FOR SUCCESS. I didn't make time to research any actual case studies to back this claim up, but I am a huge believer that dressing for success makes a huge impact in your work ethic. As a person who frequently works from home, I know how easy it is to simply wake up and go to work in bed on my laptop while still wearing my high school track sweats! BUT, I make a point to get up and get ready for the day as if I was going into a client meeting - which means taking the time to do my hair, makeup, and putting on nice clothing. By doing so, I feel so much more confident, productive, and motivated when I actually sit down to begin working.
3. MAKE YOUR BED/TIDY YOUR ROOM. There is nothing better than coming home to a nicely made bed and all of your clothes and other miscellaneous items off of the floor. By taking a few minutes out of your morning to quickly straighten your bed sheets and hang up the rejected pieces of clothing that didn't make the cut for your outfit-of-the-day, you are allowing your mind to make more room to focus on the more important tasks you have going on for the day. And if you have never done this in the morning, just try it and see how surprised and pleased you are when you walk back into your bedroom later and everything is all put away!
4. EAT BREAKFAST. Being completely honest here, I am one of those people who are awful at remembering to feed themselves. There are an embarrassingly high amount of days where I neglect to eat breakfast OR lunch because I start my day in a rush and then get too focused in on a task to take a lunch break. However, I know this is a big fault of mine that is in no-way healthy, so now I prioritize eating at least a good breakfast (still working on the lunch part!). Whether that means starting my day with a simple smoothie and some peanut butter toast or a full-blown egg scramble with sausage, I am at least getting food in my body to substantially fuel my brain for the day.
5. PRIORITIZE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH DURING THE DAY. With there always being room for improvement in all of our careers, it is sometimes difficult to find contentment with what we actually accomplish. You may have the most productive day ever, but at the end of it you may be feeling overwhelmed by all of the tasks you still have yet to complete. To help myself feel more proud of all of the things I get done throughout the day, I have begun to start my days by making a list of the tasks I would like to work on and finish by the time five o'clock hits. By doing so, I have found I am more time-efficient with my work days, and am now able to fully relax after the list of items are all crossed off. Note: Be realistic with what you can accomplish in a single work day. I suggest putting no more that 4-5 tasks on your list, depending on the difficulty and time required for each one.
6. AVOID USING TECHNOLOGY. You may feel that this one is not necessary, but starting off my day without using any technology has been SO wonderful. For the duration of getting up and ready to go, I avoid scrolling through social media, watching TV, texting, or answering any e-mails. I figure my job requires a lot of screen time already, so starting my day by not being on my phone or computer for thirty minutes is not detrimental to my livelihood. Following this little rule-of-thumb has allowed me to wake up slow and enjoy my mornings. And best of all, it allows me to be fully present for the mornings I get to share with Ethan:)