By: Shreya Shreemani, Ultimate Spark! Junior Coach
I have an overwhelming schedule most of the time. In high school, I struggled to make my days productive, as always I had a lot going on. But then high school ended and this pandemic lockdown started. I felt as if from having no personal free time, it was all I had now. I worked a remote job with super flexible hours. I would always submit things before deadlines, but I wasn’t productive, if I compare it to other aspects, and one day I decided to change it for good. Mornings can either make or break your day. They are extremely important as they can give direction to the rest of your day, by making it productive. I believe 90% of the time, it’s how you use your mornings that can decide whether the day gets wasted or not. We all strive to be productive and make the best of our days. That’s why I’m sharing my personal tips with you to make it better for you. Thus, here are the ways which I have used over the months that have changed my life significantly.
1. Wake Up Early
In order to utilize the holy time offered by the sun’s dawn, you need to be awake at this time. Previously, my school timing used to take up my mornings but when I started to have free mornings because of my remote/virtual job. I noticed I used to wake up super late and no earlier than 10 a.m. After that most of the time, I used to be distracted by my family. My family is fun loving, and not so quiet. I decided to wake up early in the morning, and utilize that time. I wake up before my family is usually awake and it gives me a lot of quiet time, in which I work more efficiently. I would complete almost all of my tasks in the morning!
2. Stay Away From The Phone
I admit, I’m guilty of waking up, using my phone and wasting my time. There is no meaning of extra time, if you are just going to waste it. I decided not to use my phone in the mornings and I wouldn’t check it until the afternoon. It has granted me a lot of focus and time. This way, you can concentrate more, connect more with your work and improve your focus. I have also found that not being on the phone has helped me deal with my anxiety too, as by constantly checking my phone made me a high impulsive person and my focus diminished.
3. Update Yourself With The News
My grandparents emphasised that one should always be updated with news after waking up and before going to sleep. They lived in an Earthquake-prone area and I could understand their concerns. Even if you don’t live in an earthquake-prone area, I would definitely suggest you keep yourself updated with the news. The news can be about weather, calamities, recent government announcements, financial, stock market and so much more. Remember we all know someone who would not come to know if robbery happens in their own neighbourhood? Don’t be that person! Being updated by the news you can save yourself from scams, be safe, and aware and interesting news can help you engage yourself in interesting social conversations with others. Ignorance is despised globally! (in case, you read the news on your phone then put it at the end of all tasks because you might end up on your phone for longer and waste time. If you do at the end, you won’t have any pending works left.)
4. Read Something
Whether it's the material from the newspaper, your study course, a book or files you need to read for your work, do it in the morning. Even if you’re not a (good) reader, you would still be required to read. Read in the mornings, as they can be extremely helpful. They would help you focus and absorb your material more. Overtime, you can become a good reader too. You will become sharper and will remember more from the reading material. That’s why conventionally, newspapers are delivered and read in the morning. I’m an albeit reader, I can read my non fictional books anywhere, anytime. But that does not imply I can read my academic books with the same efficiency, that’s why I go for the mornings as everything is pretty quiet and I get a lot of time to get lost in it, think about it and absorb it greatly. That’s why I complete my studies in the mornings.
5. Complete your top priorities in the mornings
We all have been in the boat where we would push our main priorities to the later part of the day and end up not doing it that same day. I have been doing this for a while until I decided not to. I would always push them off and become so tired by the end of the day that I would constantly postpone them to the next day. I procrastinated. The cycle can be vicious. This is why what I do, for example, is make my main priority studying. That is why I prefer to study in the mornings, and get to the rest of the day without any regret. Postponing your important works can make you take mental notes of pending tasks, and stress you out. This stress can be harmful both for your personal, social and professional life. It did affect me for a while, until I changed this habit. I will do my top priorities in the mornings and anything that comes up spontaneously which I can do at the time, THEN I will do that. Afterall, life is now.
Takeway: It took me longer to understand that life is not in the past, nor in future, and only in the NOW. Everything you want to do must be done NOW or it becomes never. You may read this article and think I’ll start tomorrow, but start it right now. If while reading this it’s night in your timezone then go and set up the alarm for tomorrow, and get a good night’s sleep. If you’re someone in the middle of the day, get your top priorities done now.
A lot of you will come with questions like, “What if I am a night owl?”. Humans sleep best from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Night owls are just a myth unless you are an owl yourself. You don’t need to be awake in the mornings like at 4 a.m. if you really cannot. Like for me, if I wake up at 4 a.m and try to do my top priorities I would fail miserably. I like to wake up when there is sunlight in my room at 7 a.m. You can obviously customize it in your own way. Like if you like to wake up at 10 a.m. and still have all day free, then get things done by 3 p.m. You can start when you wake up, and you don't necessarily need to be an early bird. Afterall, 10 a.m is still morning. But if you struggle with time then you should definitely wake up early, and buy yourself extra bonus time in the morning. I would love to know how useful these tips were and what customization worked for you, let me know!
- Shreya Shreemani