We all find ourselves scrolling posts, watching Tik Toks, and pinning pins on becoming our most successful selves in a hustle culture. These guides often look like waking up at 5 am, hitting the gym, cooking a healthy breakfast, cleaning the house, and grinding at 7:30. While this schedule may work for some, not everyone has that kind of time (or motivation). Whether you are an entrepreneur, a small business owner, a college student, a stay-at-home mom, or just working towards self-improvement, the following are seven small steps that will help you increase productivity, improve your health, and become your most successful self.
1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier. I received this advice in high school, and it has helped me every day. If you are anything like I was, your mornings may feel rushed, leaving you overwhelmed and frazzled before you even get to work. Though waking up early is ideal, an extra 15 minutes every morning is a good start to feeling more on top of things. 15 minutes could mean five extra minutes to enjoy your coffee, make a to-do list, or take a breather in your car before stepping into the office (I do this often). Regardless of where these 15 minutes are spent, it is worth getting up at the first alarm.
2. Take shorter, more frequent breaks. Though everyone likes a one-hour lunch break, taking short breaks throughout your day can truly make a difference in your productivity. These breaks are not for checking emails or social media but for a little self-check. Are you carrying unnecessary tension in your neck and shoulders? Stretch and take some deep breaths. Have you been sitting too close to a screen? Gaze out the window for a minute. Have you drunk enough water today? Have you drunk ANY water today? Taking a few minutes for yourself will not only make you more productive but leave you feeling more relaxed at the end of a busy workday.
3. Drink more water. Speaking of water, did you know that the brain and heart are composed of 73% water? A vast majority of the body’s functions such as the lungs, muscles, and kidneys are made up of over 75% water. If you’re not used to drinking a lot of H2O, start small by making a goal of filling up your water bottle at least twice a day. Feeling ambitious? Try filling up every hour. You could be doing your body a huge favor just by sipping a little extra at your desk.
4. Move for 30 minutes. Though finding the time and motivation to work out can be difficult, it is essential to your overall health and productivity. If you detest working out, find a physical activity you really enjoy such as walking during sunset, weightlifting, ice-skating, or shooting some hoops! Once you find something you love it won’t feel like exercise, and your mind and body will most definitely thank you for it.
5. Start a budget. This is a very simple habit that the most successful individuals master early on. Starting a budget reveals negative spending habits, prepares you for the unexpected, and is an easy way to work toward your financial goals. Evaluate your spending and see where you spend the most. You would be surprised at how much you can save by making your coffee at home, canceling unused subscriptions, or cutting unnecessary grocery items. Staying on budget keeps you in control of your money, encourages accountability, and in the long run, gives you financial peace.
6. Listen to Podcasts. This is a beneficial practice you can incorporate while doing mindless chores. Listening to podcasts hosted by professionals is a great way to expand your knowledge and interests whether they be entrepreneurship, politics, sports, history, homemaking, or real estate. Building this habit into your daily routine is an excellent means to becoming a diverse conversationalist and a well-rounded individual.
7. Spend 5 minutes journaling. I started journaling consistently during my freshman year of college and never stopped. Not only does it allow you to brain spill, jot down dreams, and count your blessings, but it is a great way to track your growth and see how far you’ve come! If this feels difficult or awkward for you at first, you are not alone. As you navigate your journaling style, start by writing how you felt mentally that day. If you had a great day, what made it a great day? If you are feeling a bit irritable, write down what is bothering you. If you have a big idea, write it down and watch it develop over time! With time, journaling will become very natural, and you will begin to recognize patterns in your behavior. These insights can be valuable in gaining a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.
There are multiple ways to work toward success, but it doesn’t have to be so cookie-cutter and complicated. By incorporating all or just a few of these simple steps, you will see an increase in your productivity, improvement of your health, and steady growth to become your most successful self.
- Stormy E. Gregory