Life, Productivity, Wisdom

3 small things making a positive impact

There have been 3 relatively small things that have been making a positive impact on me lately. I won’t claim that I’ll continue these forever, but for now, they seem to be helping.

#1: Laying out my clothes before bed.

I usually just put on workout clothes first thing in the morning, so it’s not complicated, but I get up well before my husband does. I do not have a walk-in closet. It is SO MUCH EASIER if I have my leggings, tank top, hoodie, sports bra and socks laying in a neat pile waiting for me in the morning. I can then head straight into the master bath to get ready, without having to stumble around opening drawers or the closet in the dark. It speeds up the whole process, too.

#2: Showering and getting dressed before work

My new manager, who started earlier this summer, is big on us all being on camera for all meetings. She also emailed out the company’s “dress code” recently, as some people (not me, fortunately) were dressing way too casually for on camera meetings. (e.g. baseball caps and Metallica t-shirt type stuff…).

Previously, I would often work out over my lunch break (either at home or gym), and then shower, if I had time (so, much later in the day). While I have never been one to work from home in my PJs, I will admit that I often would just wear the same workout clothes for most of the day while working.

We’ve also just had an increase in meetings in general, and sometimes they seem to just randomly pop onto my schedule for later in the day. So I feel like my best bet is to just basically be showered and dressed professionally everyday, just in case I need to turn my camera on at any given moment.

This has caused me to shift my workouts to earlier in the day- currently hitting the gym right after I drop the boys at the bus. I have just enough time to workout, take a quick shower and then be at my desk for the day, ready (at least from the waist up 😉 ) to look professional on camera, if needed.

I will say, I’m surprised by how good this actually feels. As my co-worker commented, “I do actually feel a bit more “work-y” when I’m showered and dressed for the day.”

#3: Setting my alarm for 15 minutes earlier and allowing myself to lay in bed and check my email and social media

This sounds backwards from what I’ve said I want to do, but it’s actually helping me.

I had been struggling with “wasting time” after my alarm went off, scrolling around on my phone, not wanting to get up quite yet. And they say (who is “they”, anyway?) you shouldn’t start your day with emails + the negativity of social media. I kept being annoyed after the fact that my morning time was getting cut by ~15 minutes, because I wasn’t getting up and getting going.

Well, I decided that I kind of like those few minutes to just ease myself awake. And I actually think I like doing a quick email check first thing (personal only- I don’t have work email on my phone), and flipping through social media, maybe reading a couple blog posts on my phone, checking a news headline or two, etc. Maybe it’s my version of yesteryear’s “scanning the front page” of the daily newspaper at the kitchen table. I don’t know. But I feel like if I just take a few minutes to make the rounds, I actually feel less distracted later, since I’ve gotten this out of the way. (*Important note: I said a few minutes– not like, an hour.)

So I decided to, duh, just set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier to offset this extra time! It’s been working well. I actually also like having a deadline in my head for when I need to stop the lazy scrolling and actually get up (my original alarm time 15 minutes later). This way, the rest of my morning stays on track.

I guess this goes against current common wisdom to avoid your phone first thing in the morning, but, whatever. Seems to be okay for me at the moment.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for flameless battery operated candles. I have one in my office, right next to my computer monitor, and I love the cozy glow it gives off year round.

7 thoughts on “3 small things making a positive impact”

  1. I have continued to shower and put on “real clothes” throughout my time WFH. It feels a bit more like an “official” start to my day and I have watched the switch to fashion of leggings/sweats/athleisure with some amount of dismay. It will be interesting to see what happens with fashion as time progresses.

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  2. Yes to all of this!
    1) I’ve been doing the clothes thing with the kids – or at least asking them to do this. It’s so much easier to do this the night before.
    2) I fell 100x more energetic and positive about my day if I take small steps to look presentable. I’m still doing everything remotely, and often not using video. But even if I’m just responding to e-mails or working on documents, I FEEL better if I’m dressed in something a bit fancier than workout clothes. More important, for me, I think is doing something with my hair. 5 minutes in the bathroom to either smooth things out or put it up into a quasi-cute bun + put on some face cream and a quick swipe of mascara. This makes a HUGE difference to how I feel.
    3) Yes, yes, yes. I am NOT a morning person, so me setting my alarm early lately has only been for the purpose of doing a quick round of things on my phone – news, e-mail, text, blog stuff. I really find this helps me feel less scattered when my actual working day starts (since I know what is up ahead, I can delete any irrelevant messages etc). It’s also a nice way to wake up, for me. And because I have to get up to get the kids mobilized, there is a distinct time window…so I can’t end up scrolling for hours. I know all the productivity and mental health literature says to avoid this but, for me, I think it works?

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  3. i love the feeling of working out, shower and get ready for the day. It sets a good tone for the day. I admit that I won’t dress up if I work from home, and often appear in camera with wet hair and no makeup. hahhaha….
    totally fine to enjoy those minutes on social media… it’s not a crime to choose what makes you feel good. 🙂

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  4. I also prefer to workout first thing, shower, and then be ready for the day. Then it is more likely the workout will happen. When I go into the office, I always pick out my outfit the night before and hang everything in the bathroom so I don’t have to make much noise when I am getting ready for that day as Phil is still sleeping.

    I had a stretch of time when I wouldn’t shower first thing in the morning but that is not possible anymore as I am doing way more client meetings and they can get scheduled with little warning. So I always need to be camera ready from the waist up! But I always wear comfy bottoms since no one sees them!

    Pre-kids I would definitely read emails/look at social media/etc but that doesn’t happen anymore since our kids are up so early and they are often my alarm. I set an alarm but it rarely wakes me as Will seems to always be awake around 5 and then going through a sleep/crying cycle until 6!

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  5. Oooh this alarm trick sounds very smart. Because I definitely lie in bed and do Wordle and the mini crossword puzzle before I get out of bed anyway. I am going to have to try your idea!

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  6. I love this! You make things work for YOU! This is what this is all about. (Psst, I also check emails and social media from bed and feel okay about it!)

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  7. You do you! Who cares if “they” say not to check your phone? If it works for you? Do it. And yes, getting clothes out at night = game changer. I do the same exact thing.

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