With so much uncertainty and so many drastic changes happening to our daily routines, it’s hard to feel like you’re making any progress at all. At home, in school, or even simple progress on long term goals or short term tasks seem daunting. “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” (Aristotle).
- Make your bed
Whether you’re waking up at 4:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m., take advantage of your energy when you have it! We are living in some very strange times. Never before have we been so allowed to be dormant. This is dangerous, however. By making your bed, it is not so easy to climb back in. Sure you could sleep on the sofa, but perhaps you’ll find the will to open up Blackboard instead of Netflix
- Eat Something
When you’re already going to bed when you should be waking up and are waking up between lunch and dinner time it is hard to stay on track–no wonder you don’t have the energy to carry out simple tasks, much less stay awake. In an ideal world, we would all go for something healthy–but that’s not reality. Find something between an apple and a donut and you’ll still be doing yourself a favor.
- Get Your Workout In
Sure, eating is great, but it only gets you so far. Roll out the yoga mat that has been in your closet since you have gotten home and do a few poses. You’ll probably find yourself getting lost in the moment and good happy feelings of being active, and let yourself! Go for a walk even! Whatever it is that will get you up and moving and feeling like, if you did nothing else with your day, it wasn’t a waste of daylight. It might even tire you out enough to get to bed before the birds are up and about the next da
- Force Yourself to Sleep
At least a few times a week, turn on a fan, rain noises, ASMR, or even opt for total silence if you prefer. Shut your eyes and don’t open them again. It sounds hard, but it’s really not. All you need is a little will power and you’ll knock out. One of the best things you can do for your productivity is to wake up feeling refreshed. The best way to achieve this is to get back on track with your sleep schedule
- Drink Water
Not only does hydrating improve the appearance of your skin, help to keep you feeling refreshed and awake, boost your mood and better your general attitude, it can also give you the energy you need to kickstart your day. Rehydrating throughout the day can help to prevent those afternoon slumps. Coffee can be tempting, but ice water won’t cause you to crash in an hour. Be mindful of changing habits to reap long term rewards instead of seeking out quick “fixes
- Use a Blue Light Filter
Enabling blue light filter settings on your laptop, smartphone and other devices is a great way to reduce eye strain and promote more restful nights! Falling asleep is usually a lot easier, and headaches throughout the day can be greatly remedied with this simple implementation. Getting more sleep at night and being generally more comfortable is a great way to encourage productivity. If you haven’t yet, I suggest giving it a try. While some people find it to be something of an adjustment in the start, it is sure to grow on you
- Get Dressed
It’s so much easier to live in sweatpants, I know. But it’s also so much easier to fall asleep in sweatpants. I mean come on, we are doing ourselves no favors here. Put on a sports bra, a hoodie and some leggings at least. Spray a little perfume, because you’re cute and you deserve to feel good about yourself. It will do wonders, I promise.
- Find a Hobby
Particularly those that get you away from the screen. It is so easy to stare at a screen all-day long. Not only does this hurt our eyes, our heads, our ability to sleep, and overall energy, it prevents us from truly tackling the day’s work. While enabling the blue light filter features on your devices or further wearing blue light glasses is a good first step, giving your eyes and mind time to truly regroup from the constant bombardment of technology is not a bad thing. Even just an hour a day will go a long way into making sure you feel refreshed and ready for whatever the next task may be. Coloring, arts and crafts, journaling and other creative outlets are a great place to start if you find all your ideas coming up empty-handed.
- Put Timers on Individual Apps
This suggestion is a bit extreme, in my opinion, but so are these circumstances and sometimes we all need a good kick into the right gear. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling Instagram or TikTok for hours at a time, or even in total, putting a timer on these apps might be something worth considering
- Make Time for Human Connection
Even if not physical, contact between yourself and another is important. I said “human connection,” but even some down time with a pet can prove rejuvenating. It’s important to find time to reach out to those you were in closer contact with before the pandemic. The current situation has left us all feeling somewhat isolated. Call your friends, zoom your roommates, play a game of cards with your family, even write a letter or catch up on thank you cards–the power of connection to another being can not be underestimated! Don’t allow yourself to live in a state of deprivation, you’re not only hurting yourself, but those around you would likely benefit from your reaching out as well.
So from one ambitious woman to another: always the best and I hope this advice helps in some small way.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
-Rachel Carson, Silent Spring