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Spring into Action - Becky

Finding enough hours in the day is an age-old problem. We know that organisation, discipline, and hard work should be enough to get everything done, but sometimes it’s just not. So, making sure we are are properly motivated and prepared is an important step. Today I'm bringing you two more easy-to-implement changes to try that should help make sure that each morning we start out on the right foot.

Are you getting enough sleep?

According to a number of global studies, around 35-40% of adults in the UK and US get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Lack of sleep is widely reported as being a factor for a number of health conditions and is an integral factor in our motivation and productivity levels. Medical professionals recommend somewhere between seven and ten hours of sleep a night for us to feel energised each morning, have a clear head, and be able to function at our best.

Lack of sleep, or sleep deprivation can be a serious matter though. Common signs of sleep deprivation include: fatigue, irritability, mood changes, and difficulty focusing and remembering. I'm a terrible one for not going to bed early enough, and as such I frequently wake feeling groggy, sluggish and unmotivated. Over the last few years I've tried tracking my sleep with different apps, journals, a fitbit and sleep trackers. I won't say I've drastically improved, but I am now much closer to achieving my seven hours than ever before, and I do feel better for it!

Ludwig Von Beethoven was apparently a strong proponent of a good night's sleep and is reported as insisting on eight hours a night. Technology mavericks, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are also all proponents of a good night’s sleep. Similarly, actress, singer and businesswoman, Jennifer Lopez (who at 51 years old is also renowned for her great skin, hair and youthful looks!) swears by eight hours a night of sleep. Even the Dalai Lama believes sleep is essential for a calm mind and aims for at least eight hours each night.

Write a ‘to do list’

Some people find keeping a to-do lists can be a chore in itself. However, having an list of daily tasks to check off and mark your progress has been proven to improve both motivation and productivity. Have you ever tried keeping one?

If you have tried it, but never got on with it, there could be several reasons as to why that is. Common mistake number one, is that your list is too long. I don't know about you, but I'm always making the mistake of adding things to a list that I’ve already done, just so I can tick something off. But while ticking that one thing is gratifying for a moment, the visual of a longer list can actually be demoralising and detrimental to your progress.

So, to avoid the pitfalls, I've pulled together a few tips to help us master the ‘to-do’ list!

  • For those of you who are quite tech savvy, have a look at some different apps, There are plenty of free options for both iPads and other tablets, phones, laptops or computers. Try finding one that deletes or hides your completed tasks. You can still double back to them if you want to see what you have completed and make sure you haven't forgotten anything, but you’ll have the benefit of seeing the list shrink as you face the remaining tasks.

  • Apps are not for everyone though, so perhaps start off trying the traditional pen and paper. You could try a shopping list notepad, a post-it note, or if you have a pin board, any scrap of paper you can reuse will work! Having a visual that will remind you of things to be achieved, and allow you a self-congratulatory moment when you cross each one off, can help you stay focussed and motivated.

  • The key to using a list like this is that you organise what you actually put on it. There’s no point swamping yourself with all the minute tasks you need to get done before the summer. Prioritise. Focus on what has to be achieved for that day, then start afresh for the following day.

By being proactive in identifying the day’s essential tasks, you will put yourself in a positive mindset. And don't forget, work hard, but play harder. Once you're halfway through your list, treat yourself. The best ways of staying motivated focus more on the carrot than the stick - so plan out some treats for the day too. A cup of tea in the garden, enjoying the sun, or perhaps a phone call to a friend or an episode of A Place in the Sun will be the perfect 'pick-me-up' to refresh you for the next part of your day.

I'd love to hear if any of you have suggestions on how you keep track of your daily tasks. Do let me know, so I can try them too! Or perhaps, like me, you're still trying to conquer the 'to-do' list? Let's try it again together and see how we go?

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