No, I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking coffee.
I am going to tell you that there are other ways (I know, it’s hard to believe) to increase your productivity without the caffeine elixir.
Better yet? They all involve improving your mind and building effective habits that you can keep long term.
We’ve all thought it before. “If only there were a few more hours in the day I could _____.” “If I sleep less than I can finish ______.”
This is where our good friend Joe comes in and helps us to get things done more quickly-but is he really helping us to be more efficient?
The sad truth is that once the last remnants of caffeine have left our bodies we’re back to Point A and we need the coffee to help us get through the rest of the day.
What if we figured out how to naturally be more efficient by increasing our mindfulness in ways that symbiotically increase our productivity?
Using these five daily mindfulness exercises I have been able to become efficient without the use of caffeine. My intent was never to become more productive, but initially to become more mindful.
What I realized is that through these five daily exercises productivity found me.
- Meditation. I’m going to put this one first because I know that you knew that it was coming. The magic of meditation is that it’s exactly like going to the gym and working out-you’re doing it now to reap benefits later. Yes, there are immediate benefits of meditation like a ‘zenned’ out mind but the benefits that follow from a daily meditation practice are ten fold. Not only does it connect you back to you but it gets rid of all the gunk. It helps you focus on your priorities and in turn create your mind into a well oiled machine that can multitask, prioritize, and doesn’t get overwhelmed nearly as quickly as before.
- Gratitude Journaling. Don’t overlook this daily mindfulness exercise. Gratitude journaling can change your life by simply writing down three things that you are grateful for everyday. Turn this gratitude journal into something incredibly productive by using it as a tool kit to create a more efficient and effective work flow. Writing things like “ I am grateful for my ability to multitask.” “I am grateful to have plenty of time to complete my work assignments.” “I am grateful to be able to express myself through my work.” “I am grateful for my ability to be able to complete all of my work on time.” By showing your gratitude (even if they might not always seem true-think positive affirmations) you can upgrade your productivity level by making yourself realize your own potential.
- To do lists. Yes, this is without question a mindfulness exercise. What happens when you go to the grocery store and don’t bring a list of things that you need to get? You forget somethings and buy others things you didn’t actually need. The same goes for work tasks. When you write them down it’s like you’re unloading your mind and allowing yourself to actually focus on the task at hand instead of making sure you remember all of the other tasks that you need to complete.
- Taking a well deserved break. Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique? It’s a method of doing work that involves 25 minutes of straight work with a five minute break in between. Giving yourself that five minute break to close your laptop, go for a quick walk around the office, or to even sit on Instagram for a moment gives your mind a well deserved break. You wouldn’t expect to be able to run for 8 hours straight, so why do you expect your mind to?
- Exercise. I’m sure you didn’t want me to say it but when it comes down to it there’s not much choice. For me, exercise can make or break my work game. It’s the most productive thing I can do for work that doesn’t actually involve me working. With exercise comes focus, intention, and inspiration. I think of it as pushing out all the negative built up energy that just naturally arises within us through daily activities and allowing space for all of the positive good vibes to fill that space.
Yes, coffee is great and I can’t tell you that I never drink it.
I can tell you that by integrating these daily mindfulness exercises into my life I have been able to become a productive person at any hour of the day.
I have learned that through meditation, showing my gratitude, creating to do lists, taking breaks, and exercising I have been able to increase my work load, become a naturally hard working person, and most importantly find the balance within myself that allows for me to be able to spread myself farther than I ever could have. Through these practices I have created a writing career that I could have only dreamed of!
When we mesh mindfulness with any other aspect of our lives sparks fly.
By mixing mindful exercises and allowing them to turn into productive practices I have been able to revolutionize the way I work and the way that I live my life.
So yes, Joe and I are still friends but I have seen the light of a mindful productivity practice and I plan to continue to harness the power of all of those exercises to the best of my ability so that I no longer have to rely on coffee to get me through long days.
Choosing mindfulness can lead you to amazing places and in this case it can lead you straight to the productive and efficient life that you are seeking. Create the habits and then allow those habits to create you into a constantly growing, consistently blooming, hard working woman!