5 ways a routine will help improve your work performance
Having a daily routine is a great way to boost your productivity at work. Life coach and counsellor Alex Kingsmill take us through how to do it.
Sticking to a daily routine is a terrific way to consciously define your work day. It doesn’t have to be strict or dull, just a gentle structure that guides you towards becoming your best professional self. Here are some tips for achieving it.
Great daily routines are kicked off by a good night’s sleep. It’s true! You’ve heard it before, and the evidence is very compelling. Adequate sleep encourages concentration, boosts your mood, and promotes cognition. Yet up to a third of us are missing out on quality shut-eye. If you’re keen for a positive change, try setting yourself an early(ish) bedtime – and sticking to it!
2. Set your tone
Waking up offers a fresh opportunity to consider how you would like to navigate the new day. But when you have your phone or device beside your bed, as almost half of us do, it is tempting to reach blindly for that instead.
Resisting your emails for just a while (try 15 minutes, to start) allows you to set your tone for the day, rather than be drawn into other people’s agendas. While you’re still curled up, why not pick a single word (such as ‘calm’ or ‘breathe’) to draw on later when stress starts to build.
3. Take a break
In their book Willpower, Roy Baumeister and John Tierney note that we spend a quarter of our day resisting the desire to do things, such as eat, sleep and check emails. At work we’re especially committed to exercising self-control in order to stay focused and achieve our goals. The thing is, willpower works just like a muscle: without rest it will fatigue, leaving us unproductive.
To keep performing at your best, it is helpful to balance energy expenditure with energy renewal. Stand regularly, stretch, go and refill your water glass, and eat lunch!
Speaking of lunch breaks, taking one at your desk doesn’t count! You’re busy, of course, but getting outside and into nature (if possible) is incredibly worthwhile. As Stephen Kaplan points out in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, even a short break in a natural setting can clear your head, boost your concentration, and return you to your priorities.
Positive Psychology’s Dr Martin Seligman suggests that our wellbeing is made up of five elements, one of which is positive relationships. But when life gets busy, we tend to push those positive connections aside.
Why not make an effort to talk to someone each day? You know, really talk to them. It doesn’t matter who: it could be your partner, your best friend, or your personal trainer. Just put your phone away, look them in the eye, listen to what they have to say, and then respond, thoughtfully.
5. Turn off
At the end of a long day one of the best things you can do to prepare for the next day is to turn off. Instead of drip-feeding yourself emails, messages and social media until you go to bed, try being in charge of the process. Decide on a time, have your last read, and then relax. Properly.