Morning Routines for Successful People

morning routines for successful peopleI’ve seen a TON of posts and articles lately on morning routines for successful people. But a lot of times I come away from these articles frustrated because they set such ridiculous standards. Send 10 networking emails every morning! Read four newspapers! Get 90 minutes of exercise in! So I thought we’d discuss. I’ll admit I’m not always the greatest in the morning (this is such an understatement that my husband is dying laughing as I write this), but even I’ve found a few useful ways to hack my mornings and make them better. So let’s discuss: what do YOU do? What is your morning routine, and do you attribute it to your success at work or in life? (#Winning, right?)

A few notes from me:

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“I’m Exhausted” — How to Investigate When You Have No Energy (An Open Thread)

exhausted-no-energySomething I hear more and more these days is that people are exhausted and have no energy.  You can say what you want about information overload, device mania, etc — to say nothing for those of us with small kids, where it’s generally accepted that exhaustion is par for the course — but the fact is that for some people, there are actually things that medicine can do to help.  But even when you admit to yourself that it’s time to seek help, there are a million different routes to go down — and for friends I’ve seen seek help, it seems like doctors often need to be convinced there’s a medically-related problem. I thought it might be helpful to have a discussion for those of you who’ve gone down the huge topic that is energy and exhaustion — what did you research, what tests did you take, what doctors did you see?  Did you find resolution? How did you function at work and in life in the meantime?

For example, I know any of these could be possible answers to a constant exhaustion: [Read more…]

How to Turn a Bad Day Around

how to turn a bad day aroundLadies, how do you turn a bad day around?  What do you do to reinvigorate yourself, put the day in perspective, and ultimately move on? Do you have any tricks for “saving” a lousy day, or for letting go of the day once you’ve finished it? We’ve talked about ways to relax, laughter as medicine, and general after-work routines (as well as how to get your groove back in general), but not this.

For my $.02 — without sounding too much like the self-help section of the bookstore — I think gratitude is an amazing thing. (I am grateful for gratitude!) No matter what my mood is on the day itself, I find if I focus on three things I’m grateful for as I’m falling asleep, I get to sleep easier, sleep better, and wake up in a better mood. A few other ideas for shaking off a bad day:

  • Dance party! Shake it off, shake it off.
  • Have one drink with a friend and talk about other things, like how his or her life is going.  (I find that on a bad day, drinking more and obsessing over whatever went wrong just leaves me with a bigger black cloud over my head, so I don’t recommend drinking to excess or rehashing your bad day in detail — sleep on it one night, at least!)
  • Seek beauty.  Go for a walk and appreciate the skyline, the clouds, the trees — whatever is around you that you find beautiful.  If you can get out of work early enough to go to an art museum, you can do that. Along these lines, adult coloring books may also be helpful.
  • Focus on sensory input.  Go shopping, not to buy (necessarily) but to touch the different fabrics.  If stores are closed by the time you get out of work, try making cookies or bread or something you can knead with your hands.  (Or, steal a trick from the kiddos, and make your own playdough — odds are good you have everything you need in your pantry, and you avoid the temptation to eat the results.) Make some tea that smells amazing, and sit with the smell.
  • Laugh.  It’s one of my favorite ways to clear my head of a bad day.
  • Sleep.  Do whatever you have to to get a good night’s sleep.  If you have problems falling asleep, try the 4, 7, 8 technique, or challenge yourself to name five things that start with B in your bedroom.

Ladies, how do you turn around a bad day?

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How to Nap at Work

how-to-nap-at-workDo you nap at the office?  What are your best tips for napping at the office (possibly without getting caught)?  We took a poll on office naps a thousand years ago, but haven’t really discussed since then, and I thought it might be an interesting topic.

First, some factoids from the Internet — according to Inc., researchers concluded in 2010 that “napping can improve the brain’s ability to retain information, noting that a middle-of-the-day reprieve ‘not only rights the wrong of prolonged wakefulness but, at a neurocognitive level, it moves you beyond where you were before.'”  More and more offices are adding nap rooms (or buying “sleep capsules,” which give you a bit more privacy).  (On the flip side, as Salary.com notes, some companies still consider it grounds for firing – know your office!)  For the DIY-nappers, there’s even a fully funded Kickstarter campaign for a pillow that gives you a “micro environment in which to take a comfortable power nap” (pictured — you can now buy the pillow for $99). Apparently, in Japan napping is so popular among top executives that there’s an entire culture around it.  It’s important to note that napping is not necessarily “sleeping” — and even if you normally take 30+ minutes to fall asleep at night you can reap the benefits.  According to Lifehacker, Pzizz is a new tool that can help you “learn” to power nap (and help with nighttime insomnia too).

So, ladies — do you nap at the office?  Is there a nap room or other space available for napping, and do you actually use it?  Have you picked up any tips or tricks (signs on the door, special messages for your secretary, etc) that makes napping at work easier? [Read more…]

Medications and Your Job

Pills, originally uploaded to Flickr by GenBug.If a change in your medication affects your job performance, how do you handle it?  Reader K writes in with an interesting question, specifically about pregnancy and ADD medications:

I am interested in how women who have been on ADD meds for years have handled going off of the meds before and during pregnancy (and nursing for that matter), while keeping (and continuing doing great work) in their job. The docs all say I can do it, and I think I can, but figured others might be in the same dilemma and it may be worthy of a discussion!

I think this is a great question, as there are a slew of reasons that people go on or off medications, and there are also times when doctors need to experiment with the dosage, medicine, or even the cocktail of medicine that people can get. And all of that can affect your energy levels, your focus, and ultimately your job performance. (Pills, originally uploaded to Flickr by GenBug.)

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Wakey Wakey! The Business End of 4 AM

Sunrise, originally uploaded to Flickr by killthebird.There was an interesting article in Forbes the other week about how power women wake up early, and commenters seemed interested in talking about it more, so I thought we should explore in an open thread. How early do you get up? What do you do with the time? Any tips that make it easier to get up then? For those of you who don’t rise that early, do you have another special time of the day? (Sunrise, originally uploaded to Flickr by killthebird.)

For my $.02: I was always a night owl when I was younger. Term papers and graduation speeches alike got written in the hours between 12 and 3. I realized this was a problem sometime around high school when, reading a college admissions essay I had thought brilliant the night before, I realized a good two sentences were devoted to “finding a piece of licorice on the floor.” And not even in a metaphor way, just a “Kat had a dream while typing” way. Still, the habit perpetuated until after law school, I think. By then — working crazy long hours — I realized that my best time truly was first thing upon waking. So I started getting up earlier. [Read more…]