How to build a productive routine?
We start every day hoping to get everything done: having breakfast calmly, meditating, carrying out all the tasks at work, exercising and having time for rest and leisure with the family. What actually happens is that we take a nap after the alarm goes off, we are too late for breakfast, we arrive at work breathless, we eat junk foods so as not to waste time, and we realize at the end of the day that we didn’t exercise or stay with our family members. But can’t we do better ?
Researchers suggest that much of this “mess” is due to the change in circadian rhythm. In the last two generations, this natural rhythm has been seriously disturbed by constant exposure to artificial light – which has made nighttime “optional” and leaves our bodies and brains struggling late into the night to get all the necessary tasks done.
The good news is that we can fix our routine and fix our rhythm, maximizing our productivity. Here are some tips:
1. Wake up early
There is no universal time to wake up. But experts say it’s best to wake up when your body is most prepared — after REM sleep is complete. And when does this occur? We don’t know for sure, but how much sleep you get on vacation or on weekends can be a good parameter: if you need 7h30 of sleep to feel good, 1h30 to get ready, and you get to work at 8:00, then sleep at 10:30 pm and waking up at 6 am might be best for you.
2. Have breakfast
The ideal is to eat one to two hours after waking up. According to experts, you can spend 10 to 12 hours fasting, and your brain needs fuel to function. The brain has approximately 2% of body weight, but consumes up to 20% of energy intake. So when you boost your blood sugar levels with breakfast, it boosts your energy and improves your mood.
3. Practice exercises
Exercising two hours after waking up can be beneficial for two reasons. First, by exposure to sunlight, facilitating the organization of the circadian cycle. Second, moderate or vigorous 45-minute exercise reduces cravings throughout the day. If you can’t exercise after waking up, experts suggest exercising in the morning or afternoon, so as not to interfere with nighttime sleep.
4. Take breaks from work
Our brain can’t stay focused 100% of the time. So, you can use the pomodoro method: for every 25 minutes of intense work, take a 5-minute break. Don’t feel guilty about it. Studies indicate that people who took short breaks were able to maintain focus significantly better compared to those who didn’t.
5. Power Nap
If you have a fixed lunch time, take 20 to 40 minutes of that time to take a nap. A nap after lunch clears short-term memory storage, making room for new information. Also, after lunch, our focus and concentration decreases as the body directs blood to the digestive system instead of the brain.
6. Eat small meals
During the day, it is important to eat every three or four hours. If it takes longer than that, your blood glucose drops, affecting your alertness and how your metabolism works.
7. Have leisure time and self-care
After work, dedicate yourself to pleasurable and self-care activities. It could be taking care of your body, walking the dog, meeting a friend, reading a book or watching your favorite series. This time is essential to produce feel-good hormones, such as serotonin.
8. Take care of sleep hygiene
To make it easier for you to fall asleep, take care of your hygiene: take a hot shower, make a relaxing tea, take care of the temperature and light in the room, read a book and have a great night’s sleep! And not least, look for a fixed time to sleep and wake up every day. Remember that we need to organize our body’s circadian rhythm!