Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. Below are 8 relatively small and easy things you can do every day to make you feel like you’re winning at life.
1. Make your bed. The reason this is a great thing to do is twofold. First, it makes the entire room look tidy AF. Every time you walk into your bedroom, it will be a constant reminder that you have done the minimal piece of effort for your room to look somewhat tidy today. And if you can’t do that, what can you do, amirite?
2. Light your productivity candle. What is a productivity candle, you ask? I just made it up, so you’re right to ask. It’s basically a scented candle you light every time you’re doing something productive, or every time you want to be doing something productive. I found this to be the case when I realised I happened to be lighting my All Is Bright Yankee Candle every time I cleaned the kitchen, and I soon associated the smell very heavily with cleaning, and getting things done in general. It is now my productivity candle. I highly recommend you do the same – smells are such a strong association game for most people, moreso than any other sense. I’ve even heard people recommend wearing the same perfume to an exam as revising for that exam, and saying you’ll remember everything you looked at (I call bullshit on that one, although it might make you remember how you felt while revising…)
3. Crank up the heating. FACT: you can’t be productive if you’re cold. Yes, heating costs money. So does food. So does living under a roof. Stop being a scrooge and turn that shit up.
Some of you may start hitting back and saying you work better when it’s cold. It’s true – according to The Big Bang Theory, people are more productive when presented with slight discomfort. Fine, but pick something that doesn’t incentivise you to snuggle up under the warm duvet, or to spend the day under a comfy blanket on the sofa.
But what about sleeping in a cold room – surely that’s better for a good nights’ sleep? My personal solution to this is turning the radiator off in the bedroom, but setting the heating high in the rest of the house. This incentivises me to get out of bed and into the next room, where it’s a nice and reasonable temperature.
4. Eat a salad. I hardly need to remind you how much of a hardcore advocate I am for salads and everything they stand for. But I’ve also found that even a small salad (by my standards) helps me feel like I’m on top of my shit. I can recommend 2 salads for you:
Salad #1: Tomatoes. Ingredients: a pack of Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference tomatoes (it has to be those ones, they are the best). Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar. Prep time: under 5 minutes.
Salad #2: The Lunch Salad. Ingredients: a pack of tomatoes, 1 avocado, half a pack of feta. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Prep time: under 10 minutes.
If you hate tomatoes, swap them for cucumbers or peppers or whatever you like.
5. Have a coffee. I’m not advocating the overuse of caffeine here. I get jittery after just one cup, and I can’t have coffee after about 4pm or I won’t be able to sleep. But I have, for many years, associated coffee with success. Similarly to the productivity candle, having a hot drink that you associate with work will be a great way to kickstart your to-do list. It can be caffeine-free as well! I’ve noticed that decaf or even a chai or turmeric latte will have the same effect. The key thing here is playing the association game. Sometimes even the smell of coffee will do it (see: smells form the strongest associations in our minds).
6. Get some daylight. It’s important to see as much daylight as possible. I’ve found that as soon as darkness hits, I immediately assume it’s time to relax. 5pm? Pub. Oh, I’m hanging out in the arctic circle and it’s already dark at 2pm? Time for Netflix. It’s sooooo much easier to be a productive member of society when the sun is out. This is why I envy everyone living in LA. The reality over here in London is that you may simply have to wake up slightly earlier. I know, it sucks, but the daylight will not only make you happier, it’s an easy step to making sure you check everything off your to-do list.
7. Go for a run. I know, I know, this one is hardly “easy” (at least by my standards), but hear me out: whenever I’ve managed it, I have felt AMAZING. It doesn’t have to be a long run either – literally 10-15 minutes, followed by some stretching, et voila – you can conquer the world.
8. Put on trousers. If you’re like me, and work from home, I recommend putting some trousers on (or pants for y’all American folks out there). I know what you’re thinking: everything that can be achieved wearing trousers can be achieved without them. But for some reason that I’ve never been able to fully comprehend, I can’t seem to get anything done whatsoever in a bathrobe.
So there you have it, my 8 daily steps to feeling productive as shit. What are yours?
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