July 22, 2017

Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet With These 12 Productivity Tips

Here we are again, the beginning of a new year–a fresh start. Is 2017 the year you are finally going to tackle the goals that you have been dreaming about for so long? Or are you going to let work, household duties, family obligations, children’s activities and your social life, get in the way of your aspirations once again? Believe me, I know, making changes can be daunting, but if you’re determined to make 2017 the year you finally slay your to-do list and get on top of your health, I can help with 12 easy productivity tips.

Below are my top tips for boosting productivity and finally getting a grip on your health! And for those tech-savvy people out there, I’ve even listed some cool apps that can help you stay on track, whatever your goals may be.

Start 2017 with a Bang with the 12 Productivity Tips

1) Start Putting Your Goals In Writing: You have probably heard the quote “What you can measure, gets done,” and it couldn’t be more true! Writing down your goals and the objectives needed to accomplish them, along with scheduling them into your daily routine helps with their implementation. Simply having a battle plan is like waking up to find your work already started. Journaling your daily thoughts, ideas, and reflections can help you identify your strengths and prioritize tasks to optimize your time. A daily planner such as the “Happiness Planner (™)” and its mobile companion The “Happiness Planner App” are great tools for doing so. In addition to your daily schedule, they also allow you to write your daily objectives, what you’re thankful for, keep track of your meals and exercise, and even rate yourself on how you did that day.

2) Make Time For Exercise: Some of the most successful people accredit their discipline to their daily workout routines. As hectic as life can get, your time to get moving should never be compromised. Don’t have time for a class at the gym, the money for a trainer, or the equipment for a heavy workout? No need! Body weight workouts such as HIIT and Tabata that can be performed in less than 30 minutes often yield greater benefits than an hour-long, steady-state workout. Apps such as “Myfitnesspal” and “Pump It” help keep track of your progress and even help you build your own workout plan from home!

3) Plan Meals Ahead of Time: We all know the temptation of grabbing something on the go when we haven’t had the time to cook a hearty meal. The problem is, we don’t tend to pick up a kale salad or a green wrap. When our groceries and meals are planned and prepped ahead of time, not only do we save time, but we also avoid grabbing junk food. Apps such as “eMeals”, “MealBoard” and “Mealtime” give suggestions for healthy yet simple meals and allow you to plan grocery lists ahead of time to avoid over-indulging. There also exists various meal-prep companies that do all the work for you, allowing you to save time on groceries and cooking and relax while they prep healthy on the go meals for you!

4) Take Your Vitamins: Supplementing can be confusing, but most of us are well aware that our food supply is deficient in many vital vitamins and minerals due to depleted soils. Set a reminder to take your vitamins everyday to ensure proper absorption and use of the essential nutrients you body needs to function optimally. Which vitamins should you be taking? Although this can vary between each individual’s needs, I believe there are five supplements everyone should be taking. Click here to find out which ones. The “Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs” app can help you read on the functions benefits of each and which may be best suited for you!

5) Read Your Food Labels: As ingredient lists are becoming longer and longer it is important to know exactly what you are putting in your body. Get in the habit of reading ingredient lists and avoiding pre-packaged foods with lists longer than this paragraph! You also want to avoid foods with too many hard-to-pronounce ingredients. The “Chemical Maze” app can be a good shopping companion as it allows you to identify what are certain ingredients in your foods, cosmetics and supplies and which you should be avoiding!

6) Practice Meditation Daily: The benefits of daily meditation are second to none – reduction in stress, improved sleep, better immunity, longevity, the list goes on! For the many of us who feel that our brains cannot be shut off, meditation may seem like a far reach. However, like everything, with practice, even meditation becomes easier. Start with committing to five short minutes a day; in a quiet area, shut your eyes, put away distractions such as a phone, laptop, or even your spouse, and focus on deep breathing. Calming music and aromas can also be used. Popular apps such as “Headspace” and “Calm” are available for guided meditation and mindfulness practices, and may be helpful when you’re just starting out!

7) Get Your Mind Right: Before any change can be made, we have to be in the right mindset to do so. Changing our inner voice may be a good first step towards changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Examples of such would be seeing obstacles as opportunities for growth, viewing failure as a step to success, and being able to rebuttal our own excuses. Creating a disciplined mind takes deliberate practice. Just like any muscle, willpower becomes stronger the more we use it. There are plenty of apps that can help reset your emotional well-being. Consider trying “Happify”.

8) Disconnect When Needed: A key to productivity is knowing when to take a break and disconnect. We want to work smarter and not harder. This means optimizing your productivity by working in intervals and allowing a mental break when needed. “Some think that stopping work on a project is a failure,” says Viv Goldstein, leader for global innovation acceleration at GE, but backing away when you’re no longer adding value is crucial. “Don’t be afraid to stop work,” she says. “It creates capacity to work on things that truly matter and ends up saving time, energy, and resources.”

10) Know What You Stand For: Each and every one of us has our own set of values. More specifically, we lead our lives and make our decisions based on what our core values entail. These may be things such as family, authenticity, love of learning and so on. Identifying our core values is crucial in knowing what you stand for, and not deviating away from what you believe in. The more you believe in something, the more you will prioritize it. For example, if health is a core value, you will be less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviour. To help you figure these out, Here are nine questions to ask yourself:

What do you spend most of your time and energy on when you can choose?
What do you spend your money on?
What area of your life are you the most organized and disciplined?
What do you think about the most?
What do you talk about to others the most?
What and who inspires you the most?
What do you love to learn and read about?
What do you always find time to do?
What do you fill your space with?

What repeats itself? What pattern do you see? Try to put them in order of importance. If you are interested in finding out more, click here to do our Core Values exercise to find out what means most to you.

10) No Means No: This may be a tough one for all of us, but we truly must learn to say no to things that no longer add value to us, or that are not in line with our goals. Once we become aware of what the needle-movers are, anything else that drains our energy instead of adding to it should be off our to-do list.

11) Don’t Be Afraid To Have Fun: Seriously, don’t take life so seriously. Sometimes you will make mistakes, some days will not be your best, but as long as you are happy pursuing what you are doing and having fun while doing it, you are on the right track!

12) Commit To The Best Version of You: Ultimately, your goal should be the best version of yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually. When you have a great enough reason to do so, you are more likely to stick to the process. The reason behind the large amount of failing resolutions (whether made in the new year or at any point during the year) is simple. We do not have a strong enough “why” or drive or underlying reason to pursue our goal. When a goal is made superficially, when we are not emotionally attached to the outcome, we do not implement the necessary steps to achieve it. Think about resolutions you’ve set in the past that you’ve attained and ones you’ve given up on, which goal has the greatest meaning to you? Which contributed most to your happiness? Which has had the greatest return? When we have a strong why, no matter the obstacles, no matter the setbacks, temptations, excuses, reasons to give up, we persist – because all we can envision is the outcome. In the end, it is your health, your wellbeing, and it is in your control to improve it.

So there you have it, 12 simple methods of making lasting changes in your health and productivity this year. Don’t be overwhelmed, it may seem like a lot of changes at once, but take it step by step. Focus on 1 major change per month, and by the end of the year you have changed 12 habits. Make a plan, stick to it, and commit to making 2017 your year for health and getting stuff done!

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