A new year has just begun, and many of us usually use this time to set new intentions and goals for ourselves. Some of us want to work out more; some of us want to eat healthier; some of us want to get more organized, and some of us want to have all three packaged together with a bow and handed to us on a silver platter, me included. An immediate shift in all three sounds like an amazing deal. But, when it actually comes down to working on multiple things at once, it’s easy for us to get overwhelmed. There is even the added layer of being bombarded by content on social media, subconsciously nudging us to use this "new year" time to make steps toward whatever goals we set, but instead many of us find ourselves stuck in the same cycle of habits that we had the year before.
It’s important to remember that all aspects of our health and well-being are important. Having to stay home during different phases of a global pandemic has had an effect on all of us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally, whether we are back at work or not. Being home more often, personally speaking, has presented me with the challenge of creating a healthy routine for my productivity. And with it being the start of a new year, I’ve recognized small red flags in myself where I found myself falling victim to the pressure of working on all things at once, but the truth is this.
When you actually focus on one aspect of your well-being and see the benefits of that one aspect, you’ll begin to see its impact on the other aspects. But there’s one important key to all of this productivity in relation to our goals: knowing which environments cause us to thrive and understanding the importance of that environment to our state of being.
I’ll give you an example. There is this café that I go to often, but I haven't been in a while. Due to the weather, I've been more apt to stay home, but I pushed myself and said let’s go and get a study session in. There is a huge difference between working at home and working in a public space. When I’m working in a café, I'm in a bubble, just in my zone. This gives my body a feeling of normalcy that feels comfortable to the point where I’m able to focus on whatever my goal is during that study session. This is important for me to notice. Especially as someone who is working on my productivity. Being home, it’s tough to create that mental boundary between your work responsibilities and physically being in a place of rest where we typically recede from the outside world and it’s responsibilities. This was the case for me and I noticed I wasn’t doing my best work and using my time wisely. Returning to the café one day, I banged out more goals than I did in half the time sitting at home. This is the next important thing for me to notice.
Observing what makes you feel good is important, but especially when it comes to building healthier study and productivity habits for yourself. Yes, being in college can be overwhelming, but when you're focusing on something that you’re truly passionate about improving, it's about leaning into that feeling to get past the overwhelm or the distractions that may or may not be caused by your environment. It’s about being present with each task and finding balance in knowing what environments you work best in so that you thrive and do your best work. Here's another one:If you have a physical goal, like wanting to get more movement into your day, think about what environment you thrive most in. This might be in terms of the kind of movement you do. Are you more of a dancer, a runner, or a cyclist? If you normally workout at home, maybe try taking a walk outside for 15 minutes. Try new environments and see how this impacts your productivity.
If you have an organizational goal, think about what in your environment you can alter to bring about change. Maybe it’s planning your day the night before if you normally plan your day in the morning. The time of day is an environment, in and of itself. Simply, changing the time of day that you do something is a small step in changing your environment which can lend itself to a change in your productivity.
See what works for you and remember, even if you do make a change and you notice it isn’t working for you, at least you tried. Just practicing this will bring you closer to what works and what doesn’t work for you.