At Mota9 we’re always looking for ways to tap into our creativity and increase our quality of work and home life. Recently we found that our team was consistently coming across similar ideas on how to increase our productivity, focus, and harness our creativity. It started to feel like the universe was trying to tell us something, so we decided to put some of these practices to the test. The results surprised us so much so that, for many of us, these practices have become permanent parts of our every day routine. We’ve been sleeping better, thinking more clearly, feeling calmer and more focused, and most importantly, feeling more productive at work and more patient at home (those of us with kids know how important that is!). Check out my personal experience with these nine simple changes that has our team feeling refreshed, pumped, and inspired to take on each day like a boss.
- Get into bed early. If you’re used to staying up late, this one will take a little bit of practice, but it’s so worth it. Try settling into bed about an hour to an hour and a half before your actual bedtime. You’ll use the extra time to start winding your mind and body down with steps 4 and 5 while you decompress and settle into a calmer and more relaxed state.
- Keep your phone out of your bedroom. Electronics are notorious for messing with our body’s natural state yet 71% of people sleep with their smartphone in their hand, in their bed or on their nightstand. Many people use their phones as their alarm clocks, myself included, so this was a tough one to adopt. However, once I started keeping it out of my room, I was instantly sleeping better. Instead of looking at the news or social media before bed (and sometimes in the middle of the night) I was winding down and quieting my mind. If you can’t bear to keep it completely out of your room, pick a cut-off time and keep it out of arm’s reach.
- Get an alarm clock. Not only will you need an alarm clock in order to adhere to step number 2, but I recently bought a sunrise alarm clock and it is amazing. This clock wakes you up slowly and gradually, as opposed to a traditional alarm that jolts you out of sleep, and even has a couple of different nature sounds to choose from. If you’re not into sunrise clocks, any alarm clock will do – as long as it isn’t your phone.
- Keep a gratitude journal. First thing I do when I get into bed is pull out my gratitude journal and write three things that happened that day that I’m thankful for. They range from big things, like having nailed a big presentation, to smaller things, like enjoying a nice evening walk with my dog. Ending the day on a positive note, as opposed to thinking about all the things that went wrong, is not only a great way to reflect and appreciate the good things in life, but it helps reframe the way you view the world and increases your ability to find the positive elements in occurances all day long.
- Read more books. After I write in my gratitude journal I spend 30 minutes to an hour reading. Aside from quieting your mind and helping your body to relax, there are loads of other health benefits related to reading.
- Wake up early. Yes, I know that sounds like a terrible idea, but hear me out. Waking up early allows time to wake up your mind, appreciate the morning, think about the day ahead and take your time. By the time you’re ready to officially start your day, you’re relaxed, focused, and ready to take on whatever the day brings.
- Resist electronics first thing in the morning. When you first wake up your mind is in its theta state. This state of mind is ideal for creativity and problem solving but it is easily interrupted. Instead of turning on the news, checking your email, or asking Alexa the weather forecast…
- Spend 5 – 25 minutes writing each morning. As soon as I’m out of bed I flip on the coffee pot and sit down to braindump. I spend anywhere from 5 minutes to a half hour depending on how much I’ve got going on inside my head. You can focus on writing about a particular idea or challenge, or it can be a literal braindump of words that pop into your head. The purpose is to capitalize on those theta waves, tap into your creativity, and focus your thoughts.
- Get some exercise. Whether it’s going for a brisk 30 minute walk or putting in some serious sweat at the gym, exercise is critical for executive brain functionality. This is your brain’s ability to focus, organize, think abstractly and plan for future events – all things crucial for being successful both at home and at the office.
As with any new activity, don’t take on too much at one time. We recommend picking 1-3 of these steps to adopt first and then slowly adding to that core routine. For us at Mota9, adopting these practices have made us happier, more focused, and all around more productive. Have you tried any of these practices or have other ideas to add? Let us know in the comments!