This routine will help you use your time wisely and enjoy a peaceful, focused day. These steps do not guarantee a perfect day, but can ensure you a productive one. The secret is in the morning; how you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it. It’s also not about waking up in the morning but what you do when you’re up.
- WAKE UP EARLY
1st thing, I strongly suggest you do is exercise. It doesn’t matter what form or type of exercise you do, as long you’ll sweat. Research shows that exercising in the early hours of the day helps reduce stress and anxiety. It helps boost your confidence and allow you to take control of your day ahead. I live in one of the dangerous neighbourhoods in Cape Town, so I can’t jog. As much as that kills me but I found an alternative; I bought a skipping rope. I do that for 20 minutes and do sit ups for like 10 minutes.
2ndly, Pray or meditate. Whatever you do in your quiet time that keeps you centred, do that. This may include listening to a podcast, reading a book or spending time with God. I use this time studying the Word and growing in my relationship with Christ. It fulfills me and helps me stay grounded and rooted. Invest in something that feeds your soul, that gives you a sense of peace and a sense of completeness.
Take time to enjoy the beauty of nature; listen to the birds sing or watch the sun rise. Do what human beings are created to do; just be alive. This does not guarantee you a positive day, but it will definitely give you a positive start. This helps you plan your day instead of always rushing into it and you respond better to situations because you’re sort of prepared. Time is important; when you use it wisely, you’ll see the rewards.
Last one; write down your to do list. Planning and organising skills are essential to a productive day. Tackle one task at a time and keep track of where you are and how far you still have to go.
- EAT A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
Most of the time it’s easy to let breakfast fall low in your list of priorities for the day but taking few minutes to prepare a healthy meal can go a long way. Research shows that a healthy breakfast needs to have calcium, iron, vitamin B or protein and fibre.
Having a healthy breakfast will boost your concentration and energy levels and restores your glucose levels which is an essential carbohydrate that is needed for a brain to function.
- TAKE WALKS IN BETWEEN THE DAY
I cannot stress enough how important this is. I work at an advertising agency and it’s always crazy to a point that sometimes you forget that you need to eat. So, believe me when I say taking walks in between the day can be an almost impossible task.
This will take commitment and sacrifice. You must understand that you are important too; your work needs your attention, but you also matter. This is not just beneficial to your mental health only, but it helps you become more productive and focused. You are not a Robot, that’s not how you were created, that’s why when our bodies have had enough, they breakdown. You cannot allow this to happen.
Take care of yourself so you can do what you need to do. We’ve all heard of the old cliché “self-care is self-love” and that’s real talk. Do not allow the busy schedule to take away your sanity. I know how difficult it is to think about yourself; I have a daughter in school. She needs help with homework, I must bathe her, prepare her food and make time to read her a story before bed time. My time doesn’t really belong to just me, but I had to challenge myself to master the art of taking care of myself.
I grew up in the generation where choosing yourself was always seen as a selfish act. We were taught to give ourselves to everyone before us and that’s not okay. These 5 -10 minute breaks will give you a sense of clarity and peace. It gives you some time to gather yourself before tackling another task or project or changing another diaper.
Research also shows that sometimes being around nature can inspire creativity. Maybe you next best idea will come from taking only a few minutes to walk, enjoy the sun, take all in everything that life has to offer and live enough for that moment. Give yourself a chance to breathe differently.
Writing things down is real even though there are still people who believe that journaling is old-fashioned. This exercise has some healthy benefits to it both mentally and emotionally. I believe it is also a spiritual act that helps you visualise, clarify and put things into perspective. Journaling does more than helping you record your memories or find self-expression; Research shows that it’s also good for your health.
It’s a good idea to keep a journal or notebook for taking notes during our quiet times with God. Exodus 17:14 (NLT) says, “…the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder…” Jeremiah 30:2 (AMP) says, “This says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book.”
Record your growth and your expectations. This works perfectly well when you’re honest about your mistakes, your imperfections, your weaknesses, your strengths, achievements and everything that God whispers to you.
I recently opened a journal from my early teenage years when God whispered the vision he had and still has for my life. The funny thing about this story is that He whispered the same vision a month ago and told me that “It was time and that I am ready”. It was such a great feeling to open that notebook again to find the message and the purpose that God wrote in my heart when I was a young girl.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the scripture in the book of Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV) that says “… then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” There’s no formula to journaling but simple start where you are. Don’t preoccupy yourself with managing perfect punctuation, grammar or spelling. Just write and don’t censor yourself. This is for you.
- NO TECHNOLOGY BEFORE BED & SLEEP EARLY
People believe that to sleep late means you’re productive. We live in a world that encourages this self-sabotaging behaviour. Do not fall for it. There are so many messages that opposes early sleep but sleeping late does not guarantee you great quality results. Some people may argue this by saying they can’t work during the day because of destructions and the busyness of their world around them. I get it but depriving yourself sleep in the name of “Grinding hard or working till you drop” is not an excuse to overwork yourself.
I’m saying work hard but learn time management skills. When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress, anxiety, fatigue and high blood pressure which increases your risk for heart attack and stroke (Dr. Isaac O. Opole, 2019). You need at least 7 hours of sleep, not less than that.
I was advised to not sleep in the same room as my electronics, but I can’t because I use my phone to set an alarm like most of us do. But It is important to set up a time where you stop browsing in your feeds, you log off on all your social media networks and drink a cup on camomile tea for a good rest. I suggest that to be an hour before you sleep.
The more electronic devices that a person uses in the evening, the harder it is to fall asleep or stay asleep. Research shows that sleeping late suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. This is largely due to the short-wavelength, artificial blue light that’s emitted by these devices. This is a habit that requires commitment in order to master it.
This applies to everyone, whether you are a stay at home mom, you work 9/5 or you’re an artist; you can take these principles and personalise them however you wish according to your schedule. The most important thing is getting the results desired. Remember that anything you want to achieve cannot happen unless you work for it. There are no guarantees and the world doesn’t owe you anything. We need to make the necessary changes or position ourselves in the direction we want to go.
This may or may not work for you, but it has however been of great help to me. As a result, I am clear in my vision and intentional with my time and the activities I choose to participate in. My days are not perfect, but they are better and healthier. It’s amazing how just a planned routine can improve beyond than just your day. Try it!