I am not productive all the time, but I think I am productive most of the time. And I feel that there are days when we can and should just not bother with our plans and be spontaneous and do things out of the norm.
These tips I am sharing have been useful for me since I left full-time employment to be an entrepreneur and were already in good effect before the Circuit Breaker. I am aware that the nature of my job gives me more flexibility than others, but I also feel that it is not impossible to give it a go.
Establish a Daily, Weekly and Monthly Routine
I am fortunate to have my body clock tuned in to waking up between 7.30am to 8am every day. I consider this as starting the day early. I know of others who start their day way earlier at 4am or 5am, but until the need for that arises or when my child starts school, the current arrangement works perfectly fine.
My day’s activities are typically planned in blocks of 30 minutes to 60 minutes and these blocks could be from meetings to exercise to mealtime to writing to planning to ideating to household chores to parenting to having breaks in-between.
With routine, my wife has been better able to prioritise her own erratic schedule around mine and we have been able to find common ground. And this could be the same for anyone else living in the same household.
I feel more at ease and less apprehensive about new tasks or deadlines that might pop up. This means less unnecessary stress on worrying about things and just keeping to routine and schedule to get things done.
By having block sessions, I am also mentally psyched up to complete whatever task at hand. If priorities of activities/tasks shift, I can just move them around within the day’s blocked out time slots.
Having a daily, weekly and monthly routine also gives me something to look forward to and also makes “counting down” to a particular event easier!
Start the Day with Exercise
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are my run days. On days that I do not run, I am either doing my own High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or a yoga-type deep stretch and myofascial release for recovery.
The release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine from exercise and breaking a sweat gives me the energy boost for the day and I feel accomplished already from the get-go. Endorphins are naturally occurring “feel good” chemicals in the body, whereas serotonin and dopamine are hormones responsible for an increased positive mood and an overall greater sense of well-being. These hormones also directly help reduce the level of cortisol in the body, which is the hormone produced when the body is stressed and not in a relaxed mode.
Starting the day with exercise with the upswing of “good” hormones greatly affects my day’s productivity.
Daily Dose of Sunlight
As I am up by 8am daily, I make sure I get my daily dose of sunlight before 10am (unless of course if it’s raining). This could be when I go for my runs, or when I am doing my workout or recovery exercises.
In addition to the benefit of Vitamin D from sunlight, naturally occurring red light and near infrared light from the sun of the spectrum 660 nanometres and 850 nanometres have proven to be useful for cellular rejuvenation and the “top-up” of energy stores within the cells (the mitochondria to be specific). This process called photobiomodulation can be compared to the same reaction in plants when sunlight encourages the production of energy and oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.
Photobiomodulation also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress. Research has shown that accumulated oxidative stress if not taken good care of could result in premature cell-death, cause increased stress to the body and result in the body not being able to function optimally.
Photobiomodulation also encourages the increased release of the hormones dopamine and melatonin, and the hormone cortisol is decreased (and balanced). As mentioned earlier, dopamine is responsible for an increased positive mood and cortisol is stress and anxiety related. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for the body’s circadian rhythm (or natural body clock) and helps the body with good deep sleep cycles so that you will feel more refreshed when you wake the next morning.
I supplement my daily dose of red light with the NovoTHOR light pod and my sleep, recovery and well-being is optimised for greater productivity.
Training Respiratory Fitness
I call it respiratory fitness, which essentially is a combination of my own training in the Butekyo technique and also that of Breatheology which is very much anchored on breath hold. This is added to my own post-exercise routine where I allow myself to connect my mind to my body through conscious breathing for 20 minutes daily.
Respiratory Fitness trains the lungs to be fitter and stronger, and directly helps improve cardiovascular and muscular fitness. By focusing on the breadth and practicing slow controlled nasal inhalation and exhalation, it increases parasympathetic activity in the body, greatly reduces cortisol levels, and increases the rate of recovery of the body. The naturally occurring nitric oxide in our nasal cavity helps in the optimised delivery of oxygen to the through the blood into the muscles and cells.
I track rate of recovery and parasympathetic activity by using Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which is available in most wearable devices nowadays.
My daily 20 minutes of respiratory fitness helps my mind focus and concentrate and the clarity of vision and mind is something that I feel helps contribute to being productive with the day’s activities.
Soak in the Love from Time with Family
Studies have proven that spending quality time with family on a daily basis helps with stress relief and overall happiness. This directly corresponds to my productivity.
Time spend with family also acts as motivation for me to complete work and a task more efficiently to have more time to spend with family.
I always look forward to time spend with family.
Closing it Off
Productivity is very much linked to how well you understand your body. If you are able to understand basic physiology and circadian rhythm, and also what motivates you, you will be on track to finding what works best for you.
All the best, you got this!
About Alex Loh
I am a business and life coach, business owner, loving husband and doting father.
My compass is guided by the desire to help people. I coach individuals and business owners to find purpose. Together we unlock fruitful solutions, experience growth and achieve targeted success. Having successfully built and maintained communities over the years, my focus is to help businesses and organisations harness community as the vehicle to connect, and build credibility, trust and authentic relationships.
Come speak to me about Finding Purpose, Building Communities and/or in Optimising your Life!
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