Posted in How To's

Maximize Your Time & Productivity By Working Smarter, Not Harder

“It’s not too late. Time is not running out. Your life is here and now, and the moment has arrived at which you’re finally ready to change.”- Cheryl Strayed

Between owning my own business, enjoying hobbies, being present in my marriage and my friendships, I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. My life is full and time is limited! The worst part? I find myself in a position when evaluating what I have on my plate that I am not willing to give any of it up! My secret weapon is to work smarter, not harder. I have become a master at maximizing every hour of my day in order to honor the choices and commitments in my life. Below are some of the habits I have formed to keep me sane, manage my time, and feel successful regardless of what life throws my way!

Imagine starting each day feeling organized, knowing where to focus your attention while having ample time to do all the things. Now, let’s make this vision your daily reality by being proactive. Each night before bed consider your schedule for the following day and identify the top 3-4 priorities or tasks that will require most of your time and attention. Write those top tasks on a list, they represent the tasks that MUST be addressed that day. Do not strive to over achieve on your top task list! Having more than 3-4 tasks on your plate puts you in a poor position to have a manageable day. It also results in throwing off your sleep, stress levels, schedule and ability to be your most productive self. Identifying your top tasks also allows you to wake up each day with intention, a plan for your day already in place, making it easy for you to dive right in! Feeling like your list will never end? Train yourself to remember that there is ALWAYS more to be done. By identifying what on your list can truly wait you will cross each task off in order of importance without sacrificing your sanity. Spend your precious time moving forward, not side to side.

Setting boundaries is essential for great time management and productivity. Establishing a task timeline or even a “cut off time” to have things accomplished is the key to reducing stress, eliminate the feeling of “rushing around” and most of all maintaining a work life balance. Boundaries, limits and prioritizing your time allows a seamless transition into family time, social hour or whatever is next without additional work stress. If you are someone that struggles to meet deadlines or conclude things in a timely fashion, start by implementing a “cut off time” each night. This “cut off time” is the deadline and your productivity reminder that your tasks should be finished and not costing you time that you do not have. It will help you stay on track for completing tasks, maintain a manageable schedule and encourages great balance. My “cut off” time alarm is my favorite sound of the day! It holds me accountable and on my most stressful days creates a “light at the end of the tunnel.” I set an alarm on my phone and make it my biggest  priority to honor that deadline. When working smarter, not harder one can easily accomplish their tasks while also creating much needed balance on a daily basis.

Prioritize being proactive at all times. We spend a lot of time time each day being reactive, especially in work settings by Responding to emails, sitting in meetings and solving other people’s emergencies. Although some of this can be avoided, some of it is completely out of your control and operating from a place of reaction will road block your ability to accomplish your top tasks in a timely fashion. A great solution that will increase your productivity and focus when unavoidable disasters strike is setting a time limit for each task. Identify the most important task and set a timer for 25-30 mins (or the time your schedule allows) to dedicate your entire focus on that single task. When the timer is up, you will have been far more productive than if you were thinking about the task, working on it while checking your email, answering your cell phone while simultaneously scrolling social media. That stop watch or timer is more than a time limit. It is what creates a guaranteed window of time throughout the day to be productive,  laser focused and free of distractions that otherwise compete for your time and energy.

It is a proven fact that the average office worker loses about 2 hours a day due to distractions. They can’t be eliminated completely, but limiting distractions is a key component for optimal productivity. Silence your cell phone, close the extra windows on your desk top, close your door and create a space that truly sets you up for success. I strategically turn my message and email notifications off on my cell phone during working hours. Even better, turn it off! Your boss and schedule will thank you simultaneously for being the most efficient worker in the room.  Not to mention, the benefit of increased productivity and efficiency will far overpower the additional scrolling, text messaging, or daily 35 minute snooze that never actually makes you feel more rested.

Using these tips and establishing habits that encourage you to work smarter and harder will positively impact your life in every way. Enjoy more free time, have more fun, take care of yourself and see the people in your life that matter the most. Life is for living, after all.

For additional tips, helpful resources or information please visit http://www.carsonlainefitness.com.

Posted in How To's

My Favorite Products For The Best Night’s Sleep

Getting a good night of rest is more difficult to come by than ever. Between the hectic schedules, managing kids, husbands, commitments, the increased screen time & chronic stress levels it truly doesn’t come as a surprise. Night time routines, among other things, are still in high demand and an imperative part of learning how to sleep like a superhero. Without proper rest, it is nearly impossible to tackle the day ahead to the best of your ability.

 

I have personally battled insomnia (in addition to high stress, demanding schedules & life in front of screens) for over 10 years. Sleepless nights and resulting fatigue are miserable! Over time, I have found several products that have helped me wind down, improved my sleep and have become some of my biggest tools to prioritize restfulness & turn my sleepless nights into the 7-9 hours of restoration that our minds and bodies so desperately need.

 

Below are my favorite products (and links to purchase) to help you wind down, unplug and get a better night of sleep. Let’s dive in!

 

  1. For those using melatonin, habit forming sleep aids or a prescription to encourage sleep you may notice that their effectiveness wears off rather quickly. The body quickly identifies these “false” substances and builds up a tolerance because of their limited ability to “hack” into cellular structures. Exchange your old sleep aids for Serenity capsules, a completely natural, plant based capsule filled with essential oils and coconut oil that will give you an incredible nights rest without the harmful chemicals or tolerance build up. An equal alternative is using the Serenity essential oil blend as a pillow spray, on the wrist or under the tongue.
  2. If you are spending a fortune on bedding and sheets with little to no return on investment, return them for a set of bamboo sheets. These sheets are silky soft, absorb more moisture than cotton and allow for the perfect temperature while you rest. The fabric allows them to keep cool when needed and also provide warmth easily as an alternative. They are a small investment compared to other high thread count sheets and are a must have staple in your linen closet.
  3. Allergy season, climate changes, germs and dusty air vents all contaminate the air we breathe. At night, this can result in sleepless nights of coughing, scratchy throat or other common allergy systems preventing you from sleeping like a superhero. Investing in an air purifier will eliminate those symptoms and ensure that every breath is free of anything keeping you from a good night of rest. They range in price, function and size. We have one in each bedroom of our home!
  4. In addition to bamboo sheets, sleeping under a weighted blanket has proven health benefits that you won’t want to miss. These blankets, usually ranging from 15-20 lbs ease insomnia, help with sensory processing disorder, fight back against stress, reduce anxiety, improve focus for ADHD, encourages calm, aids in PTSD, panic disorders and symptoms of OCD and depression all while improving your sleep. In my experience, the added weight doesn’t equate to either additional heat or an increase in temperature. These blankets have built in temperature control systems to provide you with all of the benefits without sacrificing any comfort.
  5. Sleeping soundly involves more than a solid night time routine and the products above. The way we wake up each day has an equally profound impact on our energy levels, focus and ability to fall asleep naturally again the following night. Our bodies are designed to rise with the sun and begin to wind down after sunset. We have trained ourselves to wake up to harsh alarms, loud noises and snooze buttons, all of which have absolutely no benefit to our natural sleep cycles or circadian rhythm. The more effective and beneficial alternative is using an light alarm clock with light simulators. These simulators create the natural lighting of a sunrise (and sunset to aid in winding down) each morning rather than alarming our bodies with loud noises and rude awakenings. Waking up to light rather than racket encourages your body to wake up naturally as it would if you had left the windows open and the sun was peeking through, nudging you awake to start another day.

For more information on sleep, natural remedies or to gain access to helpful resources designed to improve your health and wellness, please visit www.carsonlainefitness.com