Now that the new year is upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on the way we work (and live) and resolve to uproot the negative habits that may be preventing us from maximizing our potential. Some of these bad behaviors are keeping us from being productive; others cause us to work harder than we need to, resulting in unnecessary stress.
You don’t have to re-invent the wheel or totally re-design your life to reach the kind of real, lasting change that will make a significant impact. Sometimes the biggest positive difference can come from a few small tweaks to the way you approach your daily routine.
Below are seven such tweaks that can make you significantly more productive and happy in 2016:
1. Don’t sleep next to your phone. Studies have shown that the blue LED light that electrical devices emit interferes with the body’s internal clock, making it harder to settle down and fall asleep at night and exposing you to a whole host of adverse health effects. Instead, keep those devices far away or shut off and make your room as dark as possible.
2. Don’t go to bed too late. While we are on the topic of sleep, research also suggests that if you want to maximize those sleeping hours, then you really need to be asleep by 12:00. After this point, the quality of your sleep gets increasingly poor no matter how many actual hours you are sleeping.
3. Don’t let yourself be easily distracted. Create blocks of time during the day when you turn off that cell phone, close your browser, and leave social media till later. These kinds of distractions not only whittle away at your energy level and your ability to focus, but they can quickly eat away your precious time, putting pressure on your daily to-do list.
4. Don’t multi-task too much. While multi-tasking may seem like a great way to “cheat” father time by getting several things done at once, research reveals that multi-tasking can have adverse effects not only on your health but also on your productivity.
5. Don’t take your work with you. Not so long ago it used to be that when you left the office your work for the day was done. Now that mobile technology allows us to be constantly connected, it’s much harder to resist the impulse to check email or make work-related phone calls and chat sessions.
6. Don’t check your email too often. And, this brings me to the next bad habit. Even with all the options out there, email is still one of the primary forms of online business communication. It is also a place that can quickly get inundated with unwanted solicitations and other forms of spam. Have set times during the day when you check into your email account. The rest of the time, keep the account (or window tab) closed and turn off email notifications.
7. Don’t live an unhealthy lifestyle. Routinely skipping meals and eating unhealthy food is a recipie for disaster. The same is true for not regularly exercising. While you don’t have to totally overhaul your diet, nor start training for marathons, even small changes, such as reducing the amount of processed foods you consume and taking a 20 minute walk a few times a week, can go a very long way. Taking care of your body will not only improve the quality of your life, it will also help you to better focus and maximize work performance.
So, what are you waiting for? Start the new year with the energy and motivation to climb the mountains you need to advance your business and career.