Routine and Religion
Welcome to my first blog post!
I would like my first post to be about the reason why I am productive and that is: having a routine and practicing mindfulness.
To begin with, a routine is paramount in having a structure to your day. This is because you are visually seeing your goal for the day and therefore are more likely to achieve it.
Use a Calendar app
I always use Apple's Calendar app to plan my whole week; of course, there is an array of different apps that you could use. However, I believe that the calendar app on your phone is the easiest to use and has the simplest interface that is always on hand to check that you are on schedule.
Wake up right
Here is an example of my average day. I aim to wake up for 7 am by setting an alarm and placing it far away from my bed. I do this to force myself to get out of bed and once I turn off the alarm I no longer have that urge to get back into bed. Waking up early has so many benefits for your mind and body and these are presented in the link below. The main reason why I do it is that I enjoy having that early head start whilst everyone else is still sleeping.
Breakfast is vital
Now, you can see that I allocated a lot of time to breakfast, not only because it is the most important meal of the day but I can also spend time with my girlfriend and her family before I plunge myself into productivity mode for the rest of the day. It also gives me the energy to tackle multiple tasks such as running. For something quick and easy I recommend a fruit smoothie packed with lots of berries!
Learn a language
I also do a daily call with my Italian friend in order to improve my speaking skills. By writing this down and placing some of my language learning in the hands of someone else, it requires me to work hard to prepare for the lesson and not waste any of my friend's time. I also recommend apps such as Drops or Busuu as they can give you that fresh start that you so desperately need in Spanish or French. (Trust me, you will learn a lot more than "donde está la biblioteca") My girlfriend has even taken my advice by downloading Busuu and is now learning french!
Read... a lot
I also allocate a lot of time for reading non-fiction books that I believe aid me in my journey to becoming more productive and mindful. By reading non-fiction you are able to attain knowledge that can be utilised in school, work, or in everyday life. It is a good way to reinforce the knowledge you might already have or to learn something completely new!
Some books I recommend are:
- Be So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport
- Row for Freedom: Crossing an Ocean in Search of Hope by Julia Immonen
*I will add some more useful books onto my blog once I have read them! (I have ordered A LOT to keep me entertained and motivated throughout this lockdown period)
Break it down now!
The best way to tackle everything you have to achieve today is by making every task a bitesize chunk. This chunk should be no longer than an hour. If a task takes up too much of our time we just decide not to do it (Truth is, we are naturally lazy). So by telling yourself "Ok, I only have 15 minutes to read" you will be more likely to complete the task. Plus, by the time the 15 minutes are up, you will feel motivated to keep on reading!
To explain mindfulness is simple; however, to practice it is tough. Mindfulness is (In my opinion) a way of relaxing your mind and releasing all the stress from your daily life. There are multiple methods of achieving mindfulness such as yoga, meditation, making someone else happy and so on. One way I attain a sense of mindfulness is through prayer.
To practice this I do morning prayer with the amazing church C3 Fulham* where we pray for 30 minutes every weekday. This is beneficial for me as I feel part of a flourishing community. Just by sitting down in a comfortable position and breathing slowly and deeply (In through your nose and out through your mouth) I already begin to feel mindful and completely relaxed. We pray for safety and health for all our friends, family and people who need it all around the world. This puts me in a positive mindset for the rest of the day!
*I will link the C3 website because they are doing a fantastic job bringing their church online and reaching all their members during a difficult time. They do online zoom calls and the best part is that anyone can join! If you are just curious or you just want to share and spread love then this community is perfect for you. They have an event every day of the week even a fun Instagram quiz on Fridays!
Family and Friends
Another way of practicing mindfulness is through connecting with family and old friends. The act of calling your grandmother or an old roommate just to catch up is perhaps one of the best feelings ever. The rush of happiness and motivation you get after ending your call is immense and it just feels great to know your family or friend is safe and happy.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18
As a whole, having a routine is vital in being able to cope with the amount of work you want to achieve. You can add these points to your routine to improve productivity and to feel more mindful:
Utilise a timetable app
Wake up right with a strong breakfast
Learn a new skill such as a language
Read, Read, Read!
Break down your day into bitesize chunks
Practice meditation/yoga or prayer
Call an old friend or family member
By combining all these points in a day with a positive mindset you will become more aware and concerned with the work you are producing. I believe that the motivation will start to quickly set in for you. Please don't make the mistake by starting your new plan next week - start ASAP!
Have a productive week :)
Thank you for reading!
A big thank you to Lucy Cooper* for editing and doing photography!
* my amazing and talented girlfriend.