1. Meditate after waking up:
I pay a lot of attention to my morning mood, since it can influence how the rest of the day will go. One way I improve it is with 10 minutes of meditation after waking up. Starting the day with meditation helps me to feel fully awake, aware, and alive before doing anything else. My trick is to focus on what I want to feel today: productive, energized, joyful, inspired – whatever I think I’ll need! After just two weeks of this, I noticed that I can focus better and longer on my work, resisting both distractions and gloomy moods.
2. Validate yourself:
I don’t have any data to back this one up, but I know that self-validation helps me. Stress is part of the job, so when I have a stressful moment, I try some self-validation life hacks. Just a simple message said aloud to myself such as “I’m doing my best!” or “I’m not alone in my struggles. We’re all in this together” really helps me to put things in perspective and feel good. These may not sound like much, but try saying them 3-7 times and you may feel a difference.
3. Test out productivity methods like the Pomodoro Technique:
It can be especially challenging working from home since we’re not used to following the same routine every day, but a productivity method called the Pomodoro Technique can make all the difference! To follow it, split your workday into 30-minute blocks made up of 25 minutes of focused work and a five-minute break. For every four of these “Pomodoros,” take a longer 15-30 minutes break.
I’ve been using this technique ever since I was in college to help maintain my motivation, increase my accountability, manage distractions, and finish my work on time while meeting high standards of quality.
4. Reward yourself:
Who doesn’t like rewards?
Indulging in a reward three times a day gives me something to look forward to and helps me to focus on completing specific tasks, knowing that there’s something nice waiting for me after they’re complete. It’s not just the reward itself, but the feeling that I deserve it for a job well done. I even write down my upcoming rewards in my journal the day before to plan them around my schedule, usually dividing the day into three “reward sections” such as…
- 1st reward @ 10 a.m. after my WIP call: a hot Americano in my favorite mug
- 2nd reward @ 3 p.m. during my afternoon break: a refreshing drink or snack
- 3rd reward @ 6 p.m. after finishing work: order take-out or cook something I enjoy
Of course, your rewards don’t have to be food and drinks – that’s just something that always motivates me. Be creative and figure out what works best for you!
5. Learn to combat procrastination:
Procrastination is my worst enemy – especially on Mondays when I’m fresh off the weekend. Therefore, I wanted to provide some tips on how I’ve learned to deal with it:
- Start your day with small tasks that can be completed easily. These give you a feeling of accomplishment.
- Try shifting your focus to a different task.
- Pay attention to when you concentrate best and seize those moments for as long as they last.
- Take breaks when you feel overwhelmed and practice compassion for yourself.
6. Eliminate grudges and move on
A grudge sounds like something nasty and full of negativity, but they’re a common part of life. They might be related to work, but they can just as easily involve societal issues like the ongoing pandemic outbreaks or the current political situation. Either way, letting those things sit in the back of your mind weighs you down.
Here are some ways I try to flush them out:
- Find a hobby or activity that gets my mind off the situation (currently I’m obsessed with painting).
- Examine what I’m upset about and why – maybe I can find a solution or accept that it’s something I can’t change.
- Vent about it! Either in my journal or commiserating with my friends.
7. Turn off your laptop when it’s time:
Work is essential, not just for money but also to feel like life has a purpose. But along with the need for work comes the need for a healthy work-life balance. Burnout takes a toll on your mental health, so it’s essential to know when to call it quits for the day – especially working at an agency where it seems the clients never rest. One of the best ways to stay productive at work is to make sure you spend plenty of time not working or thinking about work.
I try to log off at the same time every night and shift to enjoying “me time” when I can rest my brain and reset. I like to take a short walk outside, peek in at my neighbors’ cats, then return home to continue a painting or a series on Netflix, or to have a quick call with my friends for updates on our lives.