Routine = productivity.

* This post was written by a contributor. *

Think about how many things you have to do on an average day. Even for those of us with the minimum amount of personal responsibilities, life usually contains a fair amount of daily to-dos. Add in trying to build a career or launch a business, maintain a social life, clean your home, fit in some exercise and make time for family things and it's very easy to feel overwhelmed. 

If we want to change our behaviour - stop drinking so much, eat a bit healthier, or finally have time to fit in that morning yoga session - it can often feel impossible to fit in. The key is to change your habits. Your habits are the small daily rituals that don’t feel like much but add up to a lot. Change your habits and you can change your life - and that is the power of a routine. If we want to be more successful and productive, it all starts with setting yourself up to achieve your goals and win at life. 

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Get in touch with your body. While a small percentage of people are naturally night owls, the vast majority of us operate much better in the mornings - even if we don't realise it. The problem is that our body's Circadian rhythms are often forced out of sync by late-night Netflix binges and lack of exposure to natural daylight. The good news is that you can reset them. Try getting out and about for a walk or a run outdoors first thing, and you'll notice your energy levels starting to become more consistent throughout the day. 

How do you sleep? The amount and quality of sleep that we get is vitally important. Without it, we are less focused, logical and creative, more irritable and intolerant and more likely to make bad choices with food and exercise. There is a reason that behavioural scientists refer to getting good sleep as a 'cornerstone habit' - it props up every other area of our lives. And yet many of us suffer from sleeplessness or poor quality rest. It's time to put some effort into ensuring a good night's sleep, but investing in a good quality mattress and bedding, banning blue light emitting electronic devices from the bedroom (these disrupt the body's natural production of sleep hormones), and making sure the room is dark and slightly cool. If you're still having trouble, or struggling with anxiety, it's worth looking into natural sleep aids such as aromatherapy diffusers or supplements - a CBD dosage calculator can help you administer a few drops to balance your sleep. 

Be a morning person. Once you've gone some way towards improving your sleep quality, the next target for transformation should be your morning routine. Getting out of bed an hour earlier each day could give you a whole chunk of extra time every week to dedicate to personal goals - finally writing that novel, researching your family history, getting in some exercise or even just reading. If you find it hard to make that change, start by gradually making your wake-up time earlier by 15 minutes. It could also be worth investing in a sunrise alarm clock that mimics the natural light to slowly wake you up. Mornings are definitely the most productive time for the majority of people. Make yours count by tackling the trickiest task on your to-do list first of all. That way, you work on it at the peak of your mental energy, and start off the day with a positive momentum that will usually help you to achieve more each day. Even if you can’t tackle the whole task, setting a timer for 15 minutes and focusing on it for that amount of time will make inroads into something you’ve probably been putting off for a while.

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Eat well. They say you are what you eat, and it's true that our nutrition has a huge role to play in our mental and physical state. Too often, we get caught in a loop where we think we are ‘too busy’ to cook and eat properly. Then we end up relying on Deliveroo or ready-meals, which is not good for either our wallets or our waistlines. So how to break the cycle? Once a month, set aside some time on a Sunday for batch cooking. Find some great batch cooking recipes and whip up a large amount, before dividing into meal-sized portions in foil containers or food storage bags. Pop them in the freezer, and you have a month’s worth of delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals ready to defrost at any time. It’s a great trick that can really get you into the routine of eating healthier meals. Also try adding a daily smoothie to your routine. This is a great way to get extra vitamins and fibre into your diet easily. You can add ingredients like chia seeds and supergreens powder to your smoothie to really boost your intake, and they are so convenient and easy to make. You can even make them a day in advance and store them in a sealed container in the fridge.

Do you. Everyone needs time to recharge, so make sure your daily routine also includes a little of what you like to do each day. That could be doing a HIIT class online, working on a crafting project for an hour, catching up with friends over coffee or taking a walk outside. Time to replenish your soul should never be seen as ‘non-essential’ or ‘selfish’ - it's vital to take care of ourselves in this way so that we can continue to do good work and serve others. Making it a part of your daily routine means that it's far more likely to actually happen, and gives it the same importance as any other task that must be completed. Refill your cup in this way and you’re likely to feel much more positively about life. 


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