I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have every second of my day planned and mapped out because I’m just THAT busy. It sometimes seems like the biggest struggle in the world to organise our lives and live productively and efficiently. Not only that, but we are constantly bombarded with texts, emails, phone calls, social media messages pulling us in every single direction that it can almost feel overwhelming to say the least!
Yes, we are all busy, we all have a lot going on in our lives AND we all want to be as productive as possible, yet I know for me there have been times when I’ve felt like I’ve been on the go all day but haven’t actually ‘achieved’ anything. Introducing – Brain overload! That’s right, we start our days off with a to-do list as long as our arm, with our attention being pulled in every single direction and a tonne of ‘adulting’ that we have to juggle all at the same time – I mean, no wonder we get brain overload!
It got to a point in my life that this was happening way too often for me. I have always loved being productive and am a self-proclaimed perfectionist, so having the brain overload every day was NOT ideal. That’s when I knew I needed to make a change in my daily routine so that my mind was feed up to achieve the things I needed to as well as being present with my friends and family.
I changed one thing – just one – and it seriously shifted my perspective so that I was in the right frame of mind to accomplish what I needed to every day. This was over a year ago now and I can honestly say it’s a game changer.
“Checking your phone as soon as you wake up.”
Yup, it’s THAT simple.
Our lives are pretty much connected to our phones – our appointments are scheduled on there, it’s our life line to our friends and family, our social media notifications are constantly buzzing and it basically becomes our life line to the outside world. With that comes pressure, stress, anxiety and a whole list of expectations.
It seems harmless, doesn’t it? Waking up and checking our phones first thing? After all, they’re normally what we set our alarms on to wake us up so why wouldn’t we check our phones? There’s no noticeable sign that our stress hormones instinctively elevate or that we’re already feeling pressure before we even start our day – but the truth is we do. As soon as we look at our phones we are in contact with the outside world, our moods shift depending on what we see or read and the tone for the day is already set before we’ve even got out of bed.
Before we start giving our energy to the rest of the world, we need to make sure that we have taken the time for ourselves. This ‘me time’ is so essential for filling our cups up. We’ve all heard the saying:
“You can’t pour from an empty cup. ”
That’s why we need to make sure we are giving ourselves all the TLC we need before we start sharing our energy with others.
The morning is the most critical time for this because it sets the tone for our day. If we wake up with a million and one things on our to do list then we are already heading into our day feeling stressed and pressurised to get everything done. Whereas, if we wake up to a nice warm shower, get ready at a leisurely pace, have a nutritious breakfast and maybe listen to a podcast, then we have set ourselves up for productivity.
By looking at your phone first thing in the morning you’re living reactively – you’re thinking what needs to get done, who you need to call, who needs responding to, what appointments you have. It becomes about being reactive to everything in your life which doesn’t help when you need to be proactive!
By taking a bit of time to yourself, to wake up properly and fill your cup up, you’ll be able to spend your time being proactive – you will have the energy to problem solve, to create, to accomplish, instead of feeling like your constantly chasing something you can’t get hold of.
I know it’s easier said than done – don’t look at your phone – I get it. That constant alert checking on our phones almost becomes a habit and trust me when I say I know how hard it is to shift. But it is crucial for living proactively and productively.
Instead allow your mornings to be ‘me time’. You know exactly what puts you in a good mood, you know exactly what turns you on and off and what sets you up for a productive day. So switch that time you would have spent on your phone for something that will put you in the mood to start your day on the right foot.
For me that means spending an extra 5 minutes getting ready so that I can wake up at my own pace without feeling rushed as soon as I wake up. It means taking the time to make a good breakfast that I can enjoy while watching the dogs play outside. We all know what makes us truly happy, so take the time in the mornings to do something good for yourself so that you can spend your day being proactive. The more rushed, chaotic and stressed you feel, the more you’ll live reactively.
It’s so easy to be influenced by others. Checking your phone first thing only adds to that. It can side track us from what we are meant to be doing, divert our attention and cause us to give unnecessary energy out.
Try it for a week, just give it a go and see how you feel. I promise you (once you get over the initial FOMO moments) you’ll feel more present and connected, your cup will be filled to the brim from taking that time to yourself and by living proactively, you’ll be spending your days being productive and in a more positive frame of mind.