What if I were to tell you that doing just one thing could boos your productivity tenfold?
If each day, for an entire year, you woke up an hour earlier than needed and invested that time in yourself, what would happen?
If you spent that hour doing whatever you wanted to, as long as it was self-focused and involved activities that are meant to engage your brain.
That’s all it takes to improve your overall physical and mental well-being, to skyrocket your productivity, motivation, to boost your mood.
Each day’s hour can also be different. It should just be working toward becoming a more thoughtful, livelier, and more positive person.
The following are key themes of how you can spend that time to yield the best results.
Prepare, organize, schedule
One hour is four percent of your day. You can spent it on organizing the other 96%. Or the rest of the week.
This habit, by itself, can yield tremendous benefits. You will get each day or week off to a better start when you’re prepared for what’s coming. Instead of running from one thing to the next with your mind in a whirlwind, you’ll know what to do and when to do it. Instead of trying to figure out what happens next in the brief periods of time between activities, you can calmly move to the next.
That will lead to heightened levels of presence in each activity and, consequently, higher output.
Plus, having an idea of what’s coming will mentally orient your days. Knowing in the morning that you have a full day but will have to file your taxes when you get home makes that task much easier than getting home tired and suddenly remembering.
Reading, on its own, is very enjoyable and rewarding. It can also give you a big productivity spike because the content you consume can often be applied to daily life. Even when they might not seem relevant, books have a funny way of being applicable.
Reading fiction enhances your empathy, boosts your mood, and makes you appreciate what you have, the human condition, and makes you realize you’re not that alone in this world.
On the other hand, non-fiction is great for learning new skills, developing a hobby or passion, or learning a new language.
We’re happier when we’re learning and growing. One could even define happiness as a sense of progress.
The sad part is that, after finishing school, we often don’t stretch our minds in the same way.
Getting into a routine where you’re consistently doing so, once again, pays enormous benefits.
Use this hour to be grateful.
List all the things that you are grateful for. Everything. From the things that it’s so easy to take for granted, such as being offered a new day to live and experience, to the things that most would die to have.
Spend a few moments in front of a mirror, telling yourself that you love what you see. That you truly love yourself.
Build up excitement for the things to come. For all the things that have yet to come into your life.
Visualize. Meditate. Read affirmations.
Do these things to get into a better mood.
Exercise is so underrated. It’s not just about staying fit, but about having a healthy brain.
If there was a drug that could do for the brain what exercise does, it would be the most expensive drug ever. Exercise, especially cardio, releases a bunch of neuro-chemicals, including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine.
Exercising regularly grows your hippocampus and prefontal cortex, regions of the brain that are most susceptible to degenerative brain diseases.
Also, after exercising for at least 30 minutes, you boost your ability to focus and to get stuff done for at least another 2 hours.
So, yeah, exercising really makes you smarter.
Even 15 minutes of body workouts can help you stay healthy and get fit. If exercise is part of your typical routine, including it in this hour shouldn’t count. On days when you know you won’t have time and want to get your heart pumping, however, a quick workout can be extremely useful.
Exercising first thing in the morning is also a great way to jump-start the day and feel productive throughout.
Reflection is not just an opportunity to be more internally focused and spiritual, but it can also add significant practical value.
When we don’t reflect, we tend to go through life without considering our actions. We don’t think enough about how certain activities make us feel, nor do we think about the lessons we gain from what happens to us.
This, consequently, leads to mistakes being repeated when you don’t consciously recognize, consider, and internalize them. It also leads to making larger choices that don’t coincide with your goals. Without time to reflect and think, society has a larger influence on your decisions.
Reflection will allow you to mitigate these times and make better choices, as well as capitalize on what you’re learning each day.
This hour can pay extreme dividends. All it takes is one hour, every morning, for a year to truly boost your productivity tenfold.
You will be able to accomplish an enormous amount, set good habits and put yourself on a path toward happiness and success.