10 Strategies to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home
Spring is a natural time to feel energized, take stock of our lives, appreciate what we’ve accomplished and consider making adjustments for healthy changes at work or at home. But how many times have you vowed to make a change that didn’t materialize?
Your life is a balancing act. When positive elements work together we are happier and more successful. If pieces are missing, the equilibrium of life is off-kilter. The good news is you probably are already doing some things right. Consider these few tips from highly successful people to have a positive effect on all aspects of your professional and personal life.
Declutter: Before busy summer plans kick, attack piles on your desk at work and home, and put a better organizational system in place. Not only will you work more efficiently, but you can put a better system in place for things like tax receipts while archiving old files that don’t need to be around your desk anymore. Start by clearing everything away into three piles- toss, relocate and keep. After tossing out what you don’t need, return items that don’t belong in your office to their rightful place. From the keep pile, be very selective on what will go back on or near your desk- only current projects or things you access every day. The rest should be filed or placed on shelves (labeled of course). The more frequently you use something the more accessible it should be.
Seize the Day:As tempting as it is to hold onto those last few moments of sleep, getting up early puts undesignated time in your schedule. You can complete your morning routine before demands are made of you and feel more in control of your life. This will get you started on a positive way for the rest of your day.
Energize Your Body: Now that you have extra time in your morning schedule, consider exercising. I know- a bad word for some of us, and easier said than done. So don’t consider it exercise, think of it as few moments of body and mind therapy. Stretch, do a few yoga poses, walk the dog twice around the yard, or develop your own 10-minute mini workout. When you get your body moving, mood enhancing endorphins will be released, helping you feel revitalized and productive as you start your day.
Face Your Biggest Challenges First:Many people tend to slide into their day, doing some minimal brain tasks first such as reading through emails or returning phone calls. Our brains are sharpest at the beginning of the day, and that is the time to jump into complex work or difficult tasks.
End of the Day Planning: Whether you work in an office or are a stay at home mom, a half hour before the end of your work day, set your schedule for the next day. Review appointments and what you will need for them, plan your important early morning work and schedule responding to emails and phone calls just before lunch.
Let Your Mind Relax: Keep a running to-do list of all of your tasks and commitments. When you are making your plan for the next day, jot down your top three goals or urgent items from your list and how you will achieve them. This will allow you to relax and let go of work at the end of the day, giving you more restful sleep. By the same token, disengage from electronics- TV, cell phone, Kindle- at least an hour before bed. When your brain is stimulated by devices, its electrical activity increases and neurons start to race- the exact opposite of what should be happening at bedtime.
Keep it all Together: If you’ve got post-it notes and legal pads lying around with lists and appointments, it’s time to consolidate everything into one place. There are many time and project management tools available. A simple (and free) one is Google Calendar, which also includes a task list feature and integrates with your contact list. You can set reminders for appointments, check tasks off when completed, and share your calendar with others. You can access Google Calendar from your desktop, phone or tablet, so you can always carry your information with you.
Get Outside: According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, spending time outside with nature contributes to increased energy, wards off feelings of exhaustion, and results in a heightened sense of well-being. Spend part of your lunch time at the park or walk around your office building a few times before going in.
Bring the Outdoors In:Live plants at work and home are proven to have psychological benefits. In addition to adding beauty to our indoor landscape, leafy friends can keep you healthy too. Plants add oxygen to the air, reduce dust and remove toxins from the atmosphere including volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The purple waffle plant, English ivy, variegated wax plant, and the asparagus fern are some readily available top VOCs fighters.
Choose to be Positive: Deciding to be happy is the first step in achieving it. You determine if you are going to have a good day by your attitude. Take a hard look at how you interact with family and co-workers. If you are a negative Nelly, think before you speak and see how you can respond positively. Surround yourself with art, music you enjoy, or focus on happy thoughts. Employers rank a positive attitude one of the top personal attributes in hiring decisions.
Self-reflection is important and can be done throughout the year. But Spring comes the sense of renewal. Resolve to adopt these positive habits and realize a healthier and happier life.