Hey guys! I’m recovering from some well deserved time off and am slowly easing back into productivity. It’s proving difficult. At the moment I’m fitting my life around my retail job as opposed to my degree but I need to get a move on if I want MOD. TO MEASURE to launch by the target date. Yes, I have a target now and it’s extremely ambitious and stressful. The patterns have been near enough done for weeks but I’ve been too lazy to apply the finishing touches. I need to add content to the website and, more importantly, I need to finalise work with a NEF company.
A large reason why I’m writing this post is to speak my progress into existence; after all, you will all be able to hold me to account. The next couple of weeks will be crazy for me as I’m moving back from Birmingham to London ? and will (hopefully) have the job that I’ve been working towards. However, after an exhausting three years, it’s proving difficult to get shit done. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling post-degree fatigue and the weather certainly isn’t helping so I’m going to detail my plan of action and a number of steps that you can take to motivate yourself in whatever you are doing.
My sleep pattern has been erratic since my dissertation was being written and that certainly isn’t helping my productivity. I tend to wake up at the latest possible time to achieve the bare minimum but the sin of sloth is not looked upon positively:
The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labour. – Proverbs 12:24
Set a strict schedule. Sleep and wake up at the same time every day (yes, that includes weekends). Ensure that you receive 8 hours of sleep, so if I try to ease myself in by getting up at 7am, I shouldn’t sleep any later than 11pm. Sleeping for 8 hours is only a small part of recharging. Quality of sleep is just as important, if not moreso. Maintaining a high quality of sleep means no caffeine after 2pm and avoiding screens for the last hour before bed. This means no scrolling through Twitter and Instagram in bed.
Use a blue light filter on your phone to reduce your exposure to harsh light at night (newer androids have this built in but there are apps for this). To track your sleep quality use a sleep monitor app such as Sleep Cycle. Newer iPhones have this tool built in.
In case you haven’t guessed, I have a crapload of things to do every day. This could involve back office execution for MOD., attending appointments, going to pole, going to work, job hunting and interview prep, and general admin/adulting. Sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day but a wise woman once said, “Beyoncé has the same number of hours in the day as you”. Sure, she has lots of help, but Beyoncé level is not unattainable.
Scheduling is a major key ? I would be lost without my calendar and lists for E V E R Y T H I N G. Be realistic about how quickly you can work and how long you can stay focused otherwise you will end up demoralised having not reached your daily targets. However, a strategy I picked up from Sakita Holley, host of the Hashtags + Stilettos podcast, is The Power Hour. Work for 60 minutes with no distractions, no internet, nothing with the premise that “done is better than perfect”. It’s also super important to use all the time you have in the most efficient way possible. I am currently writing this post at work on my Google Keep app because the store is dead (understandably so in 30 degree heat). Why would I stand/sit doing nothing when I could impart my wisdom onto you all? ?
I have major Android bias because the operating system is AMAZING when it comes to planning and organisation. Google Calendar is a godsend and you can sync calendars with other people (team members, co-founders, partners, etc). The reminder feature is great and you can set repeat events with a notification letting you know when it’s time to leave. I also mentioned Google Keep which is a notes app that I use for everything from shopping lists to packing lists, draft blog posts to email drafts.
Many of these suggestions are concerned with your physical well-being because there is no way for you to retain productivity if your body is weak. Lethargy is often the result of a poor diet, nutritional deficiencies and dehydration.
I know it’s easy to lapse into buying takeaways when you feel like you’ve got loads to do, but they are not what is best for your body. Keep your veg intake high and don’t forget to have regular meals. It’s ok to snack, so long as they aren’t too high in sugar as high sugar consumption will cause you to crash. Get through AT LEAST two litres of water a day. This is essential, especially in this weather. Never underestimate how sluggish dehydration can make you feel.
If you’re tight on time, meal planning is essential. Set aside a day to cook the bulk of your weekly meals. Need inspiration? Instagram is your friend. Follow childishtola on Snapchat for step-by-step instructions on how to get creative in the kitchen (I hear she has a blog coming soon ?). When I struggled with staying hydrated this app was invaluable.
Here is where I am absolutely terrible at taking my own advice. “Me time” is ESSENTIAL, but if you’re like me, you almost feel guilty about taking time out for yourself. That’s not ok. Not giving yourself time to wind down will raise your stress levels and if you’re stressed you will not be able to work. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. There are 24 hours in a day. You can afford to take 1 hour to yourself.
As I said, this isn’t my area of expertise, but to wind down I (try to) read. Do anything that gives you joy for just an hour. Dance! Do yoga! Play FIFA! Write! Colour! Just sit in silence with your thoughts if that works for you. Just make sure you have time to yourself to prevent yourself from burning out.
This depends on what you like to do. Often meditation is recommended as a relaxation tool and Headspace is great for this. Sometimes when I’m alone with my thoughts, I pick up the Bible and read a random verse. Often something speaks to me that reminds me of exactly what my purpose is. I believe everyone should carry a small notebook with them to write their ideas, plans, or fleeting thoughts. For me, writing with no particular aim is relaxing. I also practice yoga in my spare time which not only helps me with flexibility for pole, but also supplements meditation. I use Down Dog.
** For the guys reading this, try meditation and yoga. A lot of men tend to shy away from these but they are GREAT for your mental wellbeing.
Possibly the most important of all of these tips is reflecting on what you want to achieve and why. Clearly whatever you want to achieve is important enough to lead you to make changes to your lifestyle. Why is it so important to you? Is it something you do not particularly want to do? Does it fulfil your purpose? Regardless of whether you want to do it or not, there is something driving you to get it done. Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing; write it down if necessary, then get to it.
I hope you have found the tips in this post helpful and that you’re well on your way to doing what you need to do. Please share, subscribe on the homepage and comment below!