Micro-habits that will significantly improve your mood & productivity
A very quick and easy guide tackling (micro) habits to up your game in terms of productivity and motivation.
I have quite a busy and messy life and the self-isolation did not change a thing. I work a lot, read a lot, my eating habits are not too healthy either and I skipped the gym for 3 years now (or any type of exercising ) — and yet: how am I being productive?
Of course, this is not the most complete guide on how to make the most out of your time and tasks, but some recommendations seem to work for me.
I like to call them ̶b̶a̶b̶y̶ lady steps or the little things that make the difference for a better life.
I have to admit that I got the courage to write these recommendations based on a very simple math calculus based on exponents.
By doing nothing (different) for a year, then, my 0 effort multiplied by itself with 365 days will be just a zero: 0 ³⁶⁵ =0
A very very tiny effort, let’s say less than 1% than I could actually do every day would still make a small difference: (0.99)³⁶⁵ =0.025
Of course, personal growth and work-life balance are not so simple and linear, but it could be a way of looking at it. And, as you can see, the power of a tiny bit over 1 would make quite a difference in the long run.
So, even though I’m making just tiny changes, I really feel the difference and I thought that maybe some other people would feel the same — hence, I tried to write down what I do in a normal workday: from the first thing in the morning until I fall asleep.
So here are some habits that I love and seem to work for me👇
⏰ Have your “me time”
To make a difference in the industry you need your creative, collaborative, and open-mindedness skills first of all. To be so, don’t forget about your free time and about what makes you: you.
Starting your day on the right foot and with positive vibes will change your entire day! Here’s what works for me and it keeps me sane, happy, and motivated:
☕ Have my coffee in bed. Really, this makes a super huge difference in my mood throughout the day and with my mind. It’s my 15–20 min of relaxing time.
No emails, no slack, no asana, trello or jira. Just drink my hot and black coffee and have a small talk with my boyfriend.
A bit of play with my cat, groom her fluffy fur and listen to her purr. Depends on how moody she is, of course. You can also check her insta, of course👇
Anyway, this is what works for me, but I do recommend you to do whatever makes you happy first in the morning. If it is exercising, then do that. If it is a bit of reading — awesome, do it. Just take 10minutes at least for it (even if it means to just read a poem or the lyrics of some songs, the point is to start your day with something you enjoy.
📖Write a journal
After reading Anne Frank’s diary there was a quote that stuck with me and I also started to write my daily notes down.
Paper has more patience than people
Anne was hidden and isolated for 2 years with her family and wrote a heartbreaking journal. A journal that I read a long time ago, and re-read it in 2019 when it inspired me to start writing too.
I know it sounds childish, but writing down how I feel makes a huge impact: I let out my feeling, think about them, and how to cope with it and focus on the present.
Sometimes I only write one sentence, sometimes I write a page — it doesn’t really matter. It is not about the quantity, it is about me.
And so it should be for you.
I was actually looking through my old notes and my worries from last year, are actually nice memories now when I look at them. And I can see how I changed too.
🔋 Stay updated!
Ok, the news across all media demotivating as fu*k now, so I totally avoid them (not to mention that I do not have a TV for 10 years now). But try to keep up to date with some good newsletters (e.g., The Factual or Morning Brew) or any other feed of short summaries of everything happening: from TechCrunch articles to medium stories, stocks, and much more.
📚 Keep learning
As a marketer, I am fully aware that algorithms change constantly, trends come and go, new distribution channels appear quite fast and I still have to market the products or companies that I work for. The only way to do it well is by constantly learning (as in, micro-learning: listening to 10 minutes podcasts or extremely short videos).
I know the trend now is to consume all types of courses, but I think there is a lot of stress and anxiety too. And using learning as a coping mechanism is no good — you will just mechanically go through everything, your brain will be tired and in a couple of months, all this information will mean nothing. So, learn stuff only if you are in the mood for it — and if you are not, it is completely fine!
We all have something to improve every single day. And we should do it. But mental health is important, and improving is not only by learning things in your industry but also by learning your strengths and weaknesses. Learning what you can handle and what it is too much for you.
Based on how I feel and how much time and energy I still have I always (as in every day) do one of the following:
2. I read the google’s news and the hubspot newsletters. They both give me grasp of the latest trends, stats, tricks and even templates
— this helps me learn the new trends, understand what kind of communication works best, where some industries are headed, what’s new across distribution channels and how people structure their information. This, combined with everything that I already know and with a client’s needs can be quite a good combo.
3. Go through my favourite tools blogs and read their news and posts (e.g. buffer, intercom, slack, revolut, hubspot etc). Reading relaxes me a lot, especially when it is tied with something I am interested in (e.g., tech).
4. Read contemporary poetry (really!): it is fast, keeps me awake and connected to the world around me in a different way, can be quite deep or quite rattling and it is very relaxing. Not to mention that there are lots of connections between poetry and advertising and copywriting.
🤝Multi-disciplinarity and socializing
As an engineering graduate and as a coworker too, I’ve learned that you can never reach a goal without the others. No matter how good your team or you are. If the effort is just solely on each one’s plate.
So, I always used to get in touch with people and learn more about what they do. And now, with all the isolation and social distancing, I feel like there is a need to keep connected with the others like we never had to before!
1. I like to spend some time every day looking through customer support mail and see what’s going on: what people ask, recommend or complain about. This helps me understand if the product should have more features if we should cut some or improve the UX, texts or flows.
2. Sometimes I ask the devs on how they find something or how they work on some features. Again, knowing how they structure their work, how do they feel about certain tasks or just knowing their process and to whom they like to assign tasks or ask questions or not, helps me understand their work and process. And structure my requests based on this.
Or better target some possible clients, make batter ads for the recruitment process and have some challenging questions for my marketing candidates too.
A super extra thing that I did, but I only recommend it if you have a lot of motivation: do pro-bono projects on completely different industries.
If you are not a pro-bono fan, then just try to switch the industries from time to time.
As an example: I went for a few projects on art, climate and social urbanism.
These are some really challenging areas and rewarding at the end of the day!
Working in a completely different industry or type of project is gonna mess with everything you thought you know before: having new people around is a super challenge, new workflows, completely different approaches, and much more.
By working with multiple people and environments I learned to place my ego at the door, I definitely understood my limits more, learned a lot about new people and their way of working and approaching, saw challenges in places I never thought of.
🌗 Avoid sleep deprivation.
Working a lot and having a messy schedule will lead you directly to sleep deprivation — and that, my friend, is really bad.
Do whatever helps you: meditation, yoga, exercises, walk around your room, read boring stuff — whatever, just try to sleep well. Here’s my experience with sleep deprivation >> Troubleshooting what keeps me up at night and A good night’s sleep.
Let me know what’s your fav habit that makes a huge difference in your life, day or just something that makes you happy👇