25 Jun 2019
Time is an incredibly valuable resource and we seem to have less and less of it with our busy schedules. Time constraints can increase stress levels, causing us to feel overwhelmed and make poor decisions. Mental fatigue and poor decision-making is especially true for creatives and entrepreneurs who are required to make many draining evaluations throughout the day.
Optimize Your Life with Routines
Optimizing your life doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul on your schedule overnight and doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible. You can optimize your life by simply creating a routine that’s right for you, allowing you to carve time for and implement the things you find important and are passionate about.
It’s proven that setting up routines and habits make the most of your day, while decreasing the pressure that decision making can have on your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Studies have shown that as our day wears on, our brains become exhausted and are less likely to make good judgements later in the day. Routines help us avoid decision fatigue allowing us to save our willpower for later in the day when those delicious treats seem all too tempting.
How to Create a Routine
So what are some key elements to remember before we delve into creating our routines? It’s important to map out and create a solid foundation for your daily schedule, including integrating good decisions and not just adding a million things for you to accomplish. This could also exhaust you and likely steer you off the course of your routine, which is the opposite of what we’re aiming for. Let’s get into it!
1. Integrate Healthy Habits
In order for this to be a sustainable daily routine, you need to ensure you’re taking care of your body and mind. Incorporating healthy meals, a physical activity, or meditation every day can do wonders for your spirit and mind, and keep you at an optimal state to commit to your routine and see it through.
For example, opt for salads during the lunch workweek, head straight out for a run or yoga session after work, and meditate for 10 minutes as soon as you wake up. A team member of ours has also found that intermittent fasting helped them lead a more optimal life.
2. Optimize Your Environment
Take a moment to reflect and consider your day in full. When are we most productive? What rituals help provide positive signals to our routines?
Most of us have that sweet spot when we work at our most productive pace. Some find it during the time before lunch and others, after lunch. Leverage your strengths and use that time to really dig in and get the most challenging tasks out of the way.
Additionally, rituals, such as a cup of coffee as you sit down to work or a mid-day snack can help frame our day and sharpen our focus for the task at hand. The positive feelings associated with a ritual triggers us to get ready for what we need to do more easily.
3. Work Efficiently
Finally, getting rid of distractions to get tasks done seems like a no-brainer. But accomplishing tasks efficiently and in a minimal amount of time helps us hone in and focus when we need it the most. While decreasing the amount of time spent on a task, you can incorporate breaks into your schedule to help replenish your brain’s working capacity.
Research suggests that a 15-minute break every 90 minutes allows your brain to rest and replenish its energy. The Harvard Business Review expertly writes that its not the number of hours we sit at a desk, but the energy we bring to the hours we work. When we focus and expend brain energy then rest at intervals, we yield a higher quality of work and do it more sustainably as well.
Your initial routine may not work right away, but keep working at it, tweaking what doesn’t work by trial and error, and remembering to evaluate how well you feel, versus how busy you are. You don’t want to burn out by the myriad of things you’ve committed to accomplish. Start slow, and grow!
We’ve explored other self-help and mental wellness topics including how to eliminate frustrations at the workplace and boosting your productivity. We hope you’re finding this series insightful and motivational. Stay tuned for more!