I’m sure we have all uttered the words “I need to be more motivated” or “I need to have a more productive day today” — but a lot of the time we do not know where to start, or how to make the most out of our days to achieve everything we want to do. Whether you are a uni student, in full time work or juggling kids and a job — all of these can be affected by a lack of motivation. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to help ourselves achieve our full potential, so our time can be used effectively…
Eating well and at the right times is key to feeling good and does wonders for how productive and motivated you feel. Eating at the correct meal times helps your body gain a healthy eating routine which means that your energy levels will be the best they can be all day. Not only is eating the right amount at the correct times important, but also what we put into our bodies can affect our energy levels. For example, eating porridge in the morning instead of cereal (porridge contains oats that are a slow release form of energy whereas cereal has more sugar that is more fast-release energy) will keep you fuller and energised for longer, consequently allowing you to stay more focused on your tasks.
Having a good sleep schedule
Sometimes it can be hard to get to sleep at a decent hour. If young children are keeping you up, work is constantly on your mind until the early hours or maybe your partner is snoring! There are many reasons why we might not not get 7–9 hours of sleep a night, (the recommended hours of sleep an adult should have) but if you are the sort of person that procrastinates going to sleep, then setting a bedtime that you stick to is a good starting point to make sure you wake up refreshed in the morning. Lack of sleep can leave concentration levels low and the ability for you to be able to take in new information and remember it is low, along with how productive you feel in wanting to take on important tasks you have set for that day.
There are a lot of times where you may not be managing your time as effectively as you can to make the most out of all the hours in your day — maybe you are spending a lot of unnecessary time on your phone, watching TV etc. Knowing why you may not be getting as much done and where all your time is going can be a great start in realising what you need to cut down on. Maybe silencing your notifications on your phone or placing app limits on apps that you spend most time on can be useful in forcing yourself to stay away from things that lead you to procrastinate. You will most likely notice that you have a lot more time to focus and be productive on studying or working if you allocate your time differently.
Alternatively, if you are someone who tends to overwork, this may not be the best use of your time and may actually be counterproductive. If this resonates with you, then it may help to set a time where you stop working or studying, this may mean stopping revising at a certain time where you feel like you have done enough for that day, or if you are working, this may mean not checking or responding to emails until the next day — everyone needs a break and time to relax.
Making the most out of your day often involves prioritising. This can be tricky for a lot of us, we tend to do the tasks we find easiest first — leaving the more pressing and difficult tasks when we have less energy. Making realistic to-do lists can really help in knowing what you have to do, when you have to do it and how high in priority it is. Making sure you put the more pressing and important chore at the top of your lists keeps it fresh in your mind. Completing these first not only gives you a sense of achievement when you can physically cross these off, but leaves time for you to get on with less important tasks, knowing that you can focus on these without that nagging feeling in the back of your head telling you that you have to complete something big later on.
Whether you’re studying, working, or trying to be the most productive you can be in any aspect of your life — some techniques may work better than others. Someone may recommend trying, for example, a studying method that they swear by but you may absolutely hate it — and this is okay. Stick with it for a bit and if you really do not get on with it then try an alternative method, but do not give up altogether. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to making the most out of our time, but do not think that because one thing doesn’t work for you, nothing will, sometimes it takes a little bit of time to get to know what works for us, and you need to be prepared to stick with it until you find what suits you.
This may seem obvious, but set realistic goals for yourself during your day, and ensure you reward yourself for completing them — the sense of achievement you get from being productive is a great feeling — do not forget the things you enjoy and have some time out, knowing that you deserve it.
Written by Sophie Newsome
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