Back at your work desk, huh? Depending on how benevolent your employer is, you’ll have enjoyed up to two weeks off to recharge. Or at least a reduced schedule during which to collect your thoughts and think about how to turbocharge your career in 2020.
But early January soon merges into late January, then springtime, and so on until you realize that once again you’ve sleepwalked halfway through the year without really nailing any of your good intentions. So here’s a way to make sure you’ll ring the changes: pick some resolutions you can fix in your first ten minutes in the office. Whatever happens after that, you’ll have made at least a small difference to move onwards and upwards.
What sort of resolutions can you enforce so early in the day? Some feature regularly on new year resolution lists, while others may be fresh ideas entirely.
In the former category, you’ll find a common offender: coffee. You can resolve against caffeine in the first ten minutes of your day by cutting it out altogether… until mid-morning. Scientists reckon that drinking coffee early in the day just exacerbates the issues of stress you may be facing, by playing mischief with your hormonal cycle. Save it for between 10 am and noon, or 2 pm and 5 pm, to get the optimal ‘hit’ without sending your nerves into overdrive.
Along the same line, another resolution is to not go rushing in headfirst to your work in those first 10 minutes of the day. Slow down. Sit with an old-school paper and pen and empty your head of thoughts and ideas to free a bit of mental space for the tasks at hand. You might also take this opportunity to compose a to-do list, so you don’t end up with a jumble of demands rattling around your head. Your 3 pm self will thank your 9 am self for this particular resolution.
No list of new year resolutions is complete without ‘getting physical.’ You’ve been lying down all night (or at least while sleeping) so why default straight to sitting on your behind when you make it to the office? Boffins at both Harvard and Columbia universities have shown that standing up to work makes you feel empowered and in control. Standing also burns more calories than sitting, so why not keep active as you get yourself set for the day.
Already feeling more alert and ready to excel? The next resolution will help you build on this. And it’s fairly simple, depending on your work conditions: work close to natural light.
“Exposure to light-dark patterns is one of the main environmental cues for circadian rhythms that influence approximately 24-hour biological, mental, and behavioral patterns such as sleep and activity,” according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. “The timing of light exposure is very influential on these rhythms, and previous research has shown that office environment lighting during work hours can act as a regulator of circadian physiology and behavior.”
So many of us drag ourselves to the workplace – be it a communal office or the study at home – barely considering our environment as we throw ourselves, still half-sleeping, into the day’s business. But making sure you have adequate natural daylight as the day begins will help your body to understand that it is time to be active, upbeat, and alert.
Move your desk closer to a window if possible. Make sure to open blinds and curtains. Add mirrors if need be, to regulate the light around your workspace; heck, redecorate your office in a brighter, reflective color if it is in your power to do so! If all else fails, invest in a SAD lamp.
Already feeling more accomplished? These start-of-day resolutions and more are explored in this new infographic from resume.io. Keep it handy, and get into some productive new morning routines – before you even have your first coffee of the day!
About the author: John Cole writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.