Balance and productivity are opposite sides of the same coin. Our drive to produce can make us feel unbalanced, and our desire for balance can make us feel unproductive.
So here are 10 tips to maintain both and live more joyfully and ease-fully.
1. Take Mini-Boosts
A mini-boost is an activity you do for a short amount of time that gets you away from your work and screens and gives you a shot of natural energy. Mini-boosts do not involve caffeine, alcohol, or screens of any kind. Mini-boosts give you a second wind, refresh your mind, stretch your body, and occasionally include a belly laugh.
In fact, studies show that brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.
Action: Make a list of mini-boosts that feel good and work them into your schedule. Tape the list to your computer or other visible spot to serve as a reminder.
2. Establish a Morning Routine
This little ritual can have the effect of skyrocketing your balance and productivity. The hardest part of establishing one is getting started. Once you get started, you’ll immediately see the effects, and you’ll be naturally motivated to maintain it.
Action: To get started, take one SMALL action one morning this week. That action can be 2 minutes of meditation, writing in your journal, or setting your daily intentions. Try to find a space in your home that you love, and make that your morning routine space.
3. Bundle Your Tasks
This simple technique has an amazing effect on your balance and productivity. When we bundle tasks we focus on only one category of tasks for a block of time. When we do a variety of different tasks in a time period, it takes more time and energy to complete, and we often don’t complete the tasks as well.
Action: Simply designate a day of the week or month to deal with certain tasks. For example, set aside a day of the week to do your finances, a time of day to write emails, and a block of time for personal errands. This may sound simple and obvious, but try bundling something that you normally tackle in an ad-hoc fashion and notice the difference.
4. Don’t Take Your Technology to Bed
You may love your smart phone or iPad, but there’s a time to put those lovely little distractions to bed…and that’s BEFORE you go to bed. Digital technology has the effect of turning your brain ON, not off.
Action: Keep your technology out of your bedroom (that includes the TV). Instead, unwind with a nice book, a cup of tea, some easy stretching, or a bit of meditation. You’ll sleep better and wake up the next morning more refreshed.
5. Set a Technology Timer
Scrolling. We all do it. Whether you scroll newsfeed, tweets, or pins, scrolling can be a nice way to connect with cool people, and/or it can be a huge waste of time.
Action: Allow yourself a set amount of time during the day to scroll social media, and set a timer. Maybe that’s 5-10 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening. If you’re on a timer, you’ll be more disciplined to use your scrolling for good, not evil.
6. Take Time for Rest and Relaxation
Countless studies show that most of us are over- worked and sleep deprived. Rest and relaxation come in the form of naps (I love them), a restorative yoga class, walks, or light reading. Sadly, many of us have been taught that taking an afternoon nap, for example, is an indulgence. The truth is there’s nothing indulgent or luxurious about it. If you feel like taking a nap that means you need rest. You’re not lazy, you’re not wasting time, you’re simply tired.
Action: Make a list of activities that you find restful or relaxing, add one activity to your weekly calendar
7. Water and Nature
To help you with #7, there are two extremely restorative activities that are easy to fit into busy days. The first is water. Submerging yourself in water is extremely restorative to the body. Our skin is our largest organ, so water is both hydrating and replenishing. Second, connecting to nature grounds us and fills us naturally with energy. As we spend more of our days indoors behind a desk, we can suffer from “Nature Deficit Disorder,” thus it’s important to proactively carve out time to spend in nature.
Action: When you’re feeling harried or stressed, take a bath or shower or hit the pool (or lake or ocean). Second, incorporate into your routine time to go to the park or forest for a walk, hike, or bike ride.
8. Schedule Time for Fun
When you’re focused on a goal or have a full schedule, the fun activities are often the first thing to fall off the calendar. The best way to prevent that from happening is to schedule in fun time.
Action: Brainstorm things that are truly fun for you and add one thing to your calendar. You can do this by signing up for a fun class, getting together with a group of fun friends for a weekly outing or activity, and identifying fun things that you can do alone at home (such as singing, painting, or working in the garden).
9. Watch Your Thoughts
How many times have you said to yourself, “I just don’t have the time.”? That may feel VERY true, but what if it’s not? Hendricks Gay makes a compelling argument in his book, The Big Leap that we have the ability to create the right amount of time that we need in a day. Any time you say or think to yourself, “There’s not enough time,” that’s exactly what you create.
Action: Change your inner dialogue to: “I create enough time to get everything done.” Or, “there’s always enough time.” See what happens.
10. Set Intentions
This is easy to do and easy to forget. Setting intentions is your way of asking the Universe for help with your to do list.
Action: Set intentions. For example, if you’re at the grocery store and remember that you have to pay a bill, simply say to yourself, “I intend to remember to pay that bill.” When your days feel hectic, then, “I intend to create a joyful and ease-fu schedule.” When you feel lonely, then, “I intend to attract the perfect circle of friends.” If you’re feeling poor, then, “I intend to attract unlimited abundance.” Once you set your intention, then let it go and allow it to arrive to you when the time is right.
Allyson Scammell is a certified life coach, accredited certified EFT practitioner, and farm girl turned ex-pat. She believes passionately in your God given right to do work you love. She helps purpose-driven people make a (better) living doing the work they love + feel called to do. For practical, unique, and FUN tips on how to make a living doing work you love, then subscribe to her newsletter at ShantiPax.com and connect on Facebook + Twitter.