We all could use a little more energy to get through the day, couldn’t we? Unfortunately, most of us either have no idea how to make that happen, or are turned off by the numerous complicated methods that don’t seem to produce consistent results.
Good news: it doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are a few simple ways you can change your routine to boost your energy and help you get more out of your day:
#1: Get enough sleep! For the average person, going to bed around 10pm and getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night works wonders. However, if your schedule doesn’t suit those hours, or your body has a different rhythm, do your best to improve the quality of the sleep you do get!
If you can’t clock in 8 hours of shut eye, 20-minute naps can be life-savers. (But make sure your alarm is set to avoid deeper sleep that can leave you groggy!)
Above all, don’t kid yourself into believing you can get by on poor sleep. Sleep deprivation is known to cause continuous declines in mental performance. Even if you feel you are fine, trust me, you’re not!
#2: Do the toughest tasks early in the day! This is mostly psychological. When you accomplish important or difficult tasks early it improves your mood which can give you energy! Using your morning on routine tasks can feel like a waste and make you exhausted going into the second half of the day.
#3: Exercise every day! Don’t worry, that doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym or investing in a lot of equipment. You can do push-ups, burpees, and squats right at home. There’s also low-impact exercise like yoga, palates, or taking simple walks outside! Whatever you decide to do will be a long-term investment in your energy levels.
#4: Write down your plan for the day the night before! Believe it or not, writing things down really helps you commit to a plan. And, crossing off each task as it’s completed will give you a nice little dose of serotonin that leaves you refreshed, satisfied and proud of yourself!
#5: Have a daily goal! It should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific. Measurable. Assignable. Realistic. Time-bound). Spend just 10 minutes to come up with one goal you want to achieve above everything else in the day. Even if the rest of your to-do list goes undone, reaching that one goal will result in a huge confidence boost!
#6: Expand your circle of friends! Gravitate towards people that encourage and uplift you. Set healthy boundaries for those that leave you drained.
#7: Read more books! A good book provides mental energy by improving mood, attention span, and cognitive skills – among other things.
Not much of a reader? Audio books work just as well, and you can listen throughout the day as you complete your tasks.
At the end of the day, the principle to remember is that energy is very precious! While some of these tips are universal, it’s up to each of us to figure out what drains us, what refreshes us and how to best use our energy. If you’re struggling, don’t panic! The process is always ongoing, and you will find what works for you in time.
Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago