Just before Christmas the friendly team at Regus set 5 productivity challenges to help me improve upon my productivity. I love taking on a challenge and I’m always looking for ways to improve my working week. So, on the 7th December I spent a week implementing the 5 challenges into my daily routine.
Here are the 5 keys to improving your productivity:
1 – Optimise your sleep routine
2 – Implement a productive lunch break
3 – Allocate a designated social media slot
4 – Aim for a fitness lunch hour
5 – Focus on healthy eating
We’re now well into January and I can proudly say that I’ve kept many of these changes in place but still need to improve upon a few. When you’re self-employed it can be easy to always put your business first. Although that’s good I also think it’s important to remember that you need to look after yourself as well as your business. Finding a balance is very important.
Challenge 1: Optimise sleep to enhance productivity – This was probably the hardest challenge for me (and still is) to implement. I have always found it very hard to cut off at night and often spend a good few hours thinking about work and new ideas before finally falling asleep in the early hours.
During the challenge week I did manage to start getting into bed earlier which I was very pleased with. I also wore a Fitbit throughout the week to track my sleep and found it interesting to see how often I woke up throughout the night. It was clear that I am a very restless sleeper. By the end of the week I was in bed by 10pm and falling asleep by midnight. This was a big improvement for me.
I’m still wearing my Fitbit and I hope to improve upon my sleeping patterns throughout 2016. I’m fully aware of how important it is to get enough rest and sleep. I’ll keep you updated on how I get on with this.
Challenge 2: Productive lunch break – The second challenge was to ensure I have a productive commute/lunch break each day. I work from home most days which means I decided to use my lunch hours to do something productive. I combined this with challenge 4 to ensure I took part in 4 fitness classes during the week. I also spent one lunch time listening to business podcasts and having a screen break.
I am still doing this on a weekly basis. I’ve now dedicated my Monday lunch break to listen to insightful podcasts and then the rest of the week is spent at the gym. I hope to continue and improve upon this throughout 2016.
Challenge 3: Designated social media slot – The aim of challenge 3 was to use social media for 30 minutes in the working day for productive and positive purposes. I decided to spend 30 minutes each day researching and picking out useful and interesting articles to share with my readers. I then spent 10 minutes scheduling these articles to be shared throughout the day.
I found this challenge very enjoyable and it’s something I’ve added into my week on alternate days. I like to share interesting podcasts, videos and blogs with my readers across all social media channels.
Challenge 4: Fitness lunch hour: During the week I went to 1 yoga class, 1 pilates class, and 2 gym sessions. On the final day I had a little walk after I finished work. I found the days that I went to the gym at lunch time much more productive. I felt energised and ready to tackle my afternoon jobs by the time I got home. I often fall into a slump around 3pm but by increasing my exercise and eating well this didn’t happen.
Over Christmas I visited my parents and went for a run each morning. I really enjoyed adding morning exercise into my week but it isn’t something I can continue now I’m back in Sheffield. So, during January I’ve been making it to the gym about 3 times a week. I’d really like to improve upon this over the next couple of weeks.
Challenge 5 – Healthy eating. During the week I tracked my water intake and stuck to only 2 cups of caffeine a day; one tea and one coffee. I think it’s so important to drink enough water each day and to never break the habit (easy said than done). I find that by tracking how much water I’m drinking throughout the day really helps. I’m currently using the Watercheck app.
I was supplied with the Naturally Sassy cookbook which I have made loads from already. It’s such a good book and if you’re looking for a meat and dairy free book then give it a try. Some of my favourite meals were the Spiced Carrot, Coriander and Chickpea Fritters, the Hummus & Black Bean Quesadillas and the Quinoa and Chia bread. These are all fairly easy meals to make and I didn’t feel too tired to tackle them at the end of the day. I often had leftovers from the meals which I would then heat up at lunch time.
I found that eating proper food at lunch and dinner made me much more productive during the day. In the afternoon I made an effort to make my favourite juice (cucumber, ginger lemon and apple) which always gives me an extra boost.
After my week of challenges I can honestly say that I found I was much more productive with my time. I’m generally quite a productive person but I do tend to fall into a slump in the afternoon. However, with this new routine I didn’t feel the slump during the week which was fantastic. This meant I was able to work through ’til 6 without needing to do work ’til late at night. I also managed to get into bed earlier and start relaxing before midnight, which used to be my usual bedtime.
I’m keen to continue improving upon my routine throughout 2016 and hope to ensure many of these challenges turn into habits.
Let me know if you put any of these 5 challenges into practice during 2016.