How to be more productive (and less stressed!)

3 tips to get more done!

Beep, beep, beep! The alarm goes off, jarring me out of sleep. My first thought is:

Morning already? I need more sleep! And then the debate begins: should I hit the snooze button or get out of bed right away? The good girl in me wins and a minute later, I’m brushing my teeth. I glance in the bathroom mirror and – OMG, look at those circles under my eyes! I have to get more rest. But I’m always so busy….

Then it’s on to my closet, where I grab the suit I plan to wear. As I’m putting the pants on I realize the button is missing. Damn! I don’t have time to sew it back on. So I riffle through my closet looking for something else to wear (hoping it’s clean and fits!) All the while, my mind is racing through my to-do list which has more items on it than there are hours in the day. How can I possibly do it all?

That used to be a fairly typical start to my day – and it was only the first 5 minutes! My brain was already in stress mode with a million thoughts bouncing around and my day spiraled into a crazy busy whirlwind from there.

Here’s the truth: when you begin your day feeling stressed-out, over-extended and exhausted, you can’t show up and perform at your best.

Want to feel more energized, productive and happy instead? Here are 3 tips to help you set yourself up for success:

  • Breathe. According to stress expert Dr. Heidi Hana, if you spend 2-3 minutes focusing on your breath, you can dramatically change the physiology in your body. So before stress hijacks your day, close your eyes, take a deep breath and exhale (repeat 3 times). This triggers over 1400 chemical reactions in your body that recharge your energy, lower your blood pressure and focus your brain.
  • Trim your to do list. What are you doing out of sense of obligation or guilt, not because you really want to do it? (hint: look for places where you’re saying “should” or “have to”). Review your list and eliminate what isn’t critical. Yes – you have permission to stop doing things that aren’t essential, strategic or making you happy!
  • Ask for help. Have you bought into the myth of super woman, believing you have to do everything yourself? Or does the perfectionist in you think no one else can do something as well as you can? Relieve that pressure by asking for help (delegate, barter or pay someone). You’ll reduce your stress and free up time to accomplish your top priorities.

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