Intentional Ways to Start your Work Day

My blog has been a little less active in the last month because I’ve officially started my first full time job.

It’s been a really crazy month so far, as things start to fall into place for me!

Some things I’ve learned:

8:30 – 5:30 is a long day…

not everything gets finished before you leave for the night…

sometimes it’s hard to leave (despite the long day)…

If the work is meaningful, the work is easier to get pumped for. Luckily for me, the work is meaningful thus far. Unfortunately, regardless of how much you like the job and regardless of how much you like your coworkers, sometimes it’s still hard to get motivated – especially at o’ dark thirty.

Here are some of my strategies for setting the intention of my day and motivating myself to pack more punch into my busy work schedule:

Pick a main goal 

Setting the intention of the day is just that – determining what the main goal will be. I think consolidating your focus as you set out to do whatever it is you do is really an essential ingredient to a successful day. And, when you are clear about your focus it is easier to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Some days the goal for me is productivity- I aim to complete as many tasks as possible during my day. Other days I focus on developing and fine tuning a process or way that I do one of my regular tasks and sometimes the goal is balance – taking a breather and being mindful

Narrow the to-do list 

Similarly to focusing your purpose, narrowing your to do list can help streamline the work you need to do. You might also include everything you hope to accomplish during one day in your to-do list but often lists are wishful thinking. Acknowledging the difference between what MUST be done and what can wait if it has to can ease your mind and help you sort out those priorities.

Look yourself straight in the eye and say it’s going to be a good day

This sounds silly but my roommate and one of my favorite college friends once told me that she makes an effort to tell herself she’s awesome and she can do it (whatever ‘it’ is)almost everyday (especially the days when she doesn’t feel awesome). I laughed her out the door when she revealed this to me…but later on that week I had a crummy day and tried it. IT WORKS! It feels lame at first and you have to have confidence about doing it, but ultimately it puts a little pep in the step. In order to accomplish any goal, you have to believe you can do it.

Dress the part 

I am a huge believer in “look good feel good.” When I look good, or at least feel like I look good, I typically feel a whole lot better. I like to check out pinterest boards and blogs for style inspiration.

Take time to breathe 

Taking deep breaths is important but another aspect of this is to stop and pay attention to what is around you. Breathe and absorb because not only do you deserve a moment to breathe but noticing what is around you can make whatever work situation you’re in feel better. If you can find one or two things you like about your day, the day can be that much better.

Remember to seek out balance 

Be intentional about balancing your day. Don’t answer the phone if you are taking time to yourself. Step away from whatever you are working on if you are starting to feel yourself glaze over and tune out to what you are working on. Being in tune with your own boundaries, motivation, and emotions towards your work is never laziness. Finding time to clear you head can help you be more intentional and efficient with your work in the long run.

Pick a jammin’ playlist or uplifting podcast 

Pull positive energy from the outside in! Surround yourself with inspiration in whatever form of media most moves you. A playlist will do it for me, but so will an article about my field that reminds me why I do what I do. For some, a visual image might be a boost in the morning. For others, a “you can do it!” podcast or thought provoking radio special could get the ball rolling. Try a few different morning media routines. For me, I like to start with an NPR, HuffPost, or Chronicle of Higher Ed type article as well as some fun and familiar tunes.

I will leave a few examples right here for you…

NPR StoryCorps – check out these inspiring news stories from the one, the only NPR

Podcast  – Stories of courage from the animal kingdom

Hope my strategies help you!




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