What do you do when you find yourself in unprecedented times? You adapt and make the best of the situation. Right now, you’re probably spending a lot more time indoors and away from others. It might be the best opportunity you have for self-improvement.
Jumpstart your life is by committing to a 30-day challenge. Choose a challenge that focuses on your productivity. That way, you can become a better version of yourself and make sure you’re prepared to hit the ground running once things settle down again.
Getting the right habits in place now will help you boost your productivity now. And, it will keep you going once you’re back to a normal routine.
Improve your personal productivity through challenges geared at building self-discipline, mental and physical health, and awareness.
30-Day Challenges You Can Start Now
1. Gratefulness Challenge
This is a challenge where each evening you write down 3 things that happened during the day for which you’re grateful. Your 3 things don’t have to be standout moments. They can be as small as someone smiling at you on the street. If it’s something that made a positive impact on you, it works.
The purpose of this challenge is to focus on the positive things that happened throughout the day. It’s a good exercise to improve your attitude. Gratefulness helps you to complain less and notice more positive things that happen.
Choose to focus on the good things that happened during the day. This will calm your mind in the evening and improve your sleep. Over time, you might also find you’re thinking more optimistically.
Positivity is also related to productivity. Multiple studies have found a strong connection between a more positive attitude and higher productivity.
There are many suspected reasons this is the case. A positive attitude leads to better stress management and interpersonal relationships. These and other factors can boost productivity in your work.
The gratefulness challenge is one small step that can show immense benefits over time. You won’t see the benefits immediately. But, after the 30 days you’ll see how your attitude and view of life has improved since you started.
During a pandemic (and once it’s over) positive thinking can have a marked impact on your life.
It’s not about fighting the realities of life to pretend everything is great. But, gratefulness helps you to minimize the negative feelings and thoughts. You’ll begin to favor a more optimistic outlook on things.
2. Make Your Bed Challenge
Making your bed first thing in the morning can improve your productivity every day. There’s no way of knowing if it works for you until you give it a try!
This challenge involves making your bed immediately upon waking up. Don’t wait until you’ve had your coffee and started your day. Put “making your bed” at the top of your list every morning.
The rationale here is as simple as the challenge itself. Getting up and making your bed first thing in the morning builds discipline. It also gives you a feeling of accomplishment at the beginning of your day. Both of these things can improve your productivity throughout the remainder of the morning, afternoon, and evening.
Accomplishing one small task at the start of the day has a domino effect. By starting every day in the right frame of mind, your small successes will add up.
Commit to making your bed every morning for 30 days. See if this simple change helps you to build up your self-discipline and sense of accomplishment. If nothing else, you’ll always have a well-made bed to climb into at night.
3. Daily Walking Challenge
A short daily walk can change your mind and body for the better. This isn’t an exercise bootcamp challenge. It’s a challenge to walk a certain distance or amount of time daily. Even a short 10-minute walk outside every day can improve your health.
Walking can fit into your schedule easily if you plan ahead. Some people like to walk in the mornings. Or, you can replace a short drive with a walk. Others find walking is a good way to rejuvenate over lunch. Miriam Herst of All Things Hair attributes a short daily walk to increased productivity while she works from home, stating:
“I’ve been using my lunch break to walk to the park to get some fresh air. I come back to my at-home workstation refreshed and reenergized.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, walking daily helps you to maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage health conditions, gain strength, and improve your mood. Start small with a 30-day walking challenge. Then, see if you can keep it up to maintain the benefits long-term.
4. 10-Minute Chores Challenge
Chores are often neglected until they get out of hand. Especially when you’re working from home, things tend to build up. Eventually, you set aside time to do what needs to be done.
The problem is this leads to a weekend of working around the house. You’d rather be relaxing and preparing for the coming week, but you can’t.
Instead, try a 30-day challenge to do 10 minutes of chores daily. Choose any chore that needs to be done and spend at least 10 minutes doing it. Fairly straightforward.
Now comes the hard part: following through. Figure out the best way to keep yourself on track. For some people, this is making a specific plan. Leave no wiggle room for excuses or indecisiveness.
For others, the commitment alone might be enough. With unpleasant tasks, starting is more difficult than doing the work.
Remind yourself of this every time you stare at a pile of laundry or dishes.
If you need some suggestions of what you can do in 10 minutes, pick one or more of these easy cleaning tasks:
- Unload & reload the dishwasher
- Wash the dishes in the sink and clean the drain
- Clear and wipe the kitchen counter & table
- Sweep/vacuum the floors in 2 rooms
- Mop the floors in 2 rooms
- Tidy up the living room, putting things away as you go
- Pick up laundry laying around on the floor and start a load
- Fold clean laundry and put it away
- Clean bathroom fixtures (toilet, sink, shower)
- Wipe down mirrors and countertops in the bathroom
- Change bedsheets
- Dust 1 room
- Shake our floor mats or carpets
- Wash the car
- Clean up after your pets (food bowls, backyard messes, etc.)
- Empty the trash cans & wash them out
- Remove clutter from your desk or workstation
Doing simple chores every day is going to make your home into a better place to work. It also helps you to feel more accomplished and at peace.
As a bonus, you’ll spend less time cleaning over the weekend!
5. Social Outreach Challenges
How do you avoid feeling isolated during social distancing and afterwards? Make a point of reaching out to people. Choose how and to what extent you do this. But, make it a dedicated part of your daily routine for 30 days.
Social interactions are important for everyone. It’s not a matter of being extroverted or introverted. Interpersonal skills are important in all walks of life.
Being better at connection helps you to work on collaborative projects more easily. It allows you to communicate more effectively professionally and personally. Both benefits aid you in improving productivity.
Do something simple or stretching, depending on what feels right for you. Here are a few suggestions you can do daily:
- Compliment someone
- Send a thank you note
- Text a friend or family member
- Call to check in on someone you love
- Invite someone to join in on part of your daily routine (be it virtually or in person)
If nothing stands out as an activity you could do daily, mix it up. Make a schedule for yourself or choose one activity to do per day. Intentionally reach out to another human being during this challenge.
6. Disconnecting Challenge
On the opposite end from social outreach is disconnecting. This challenge doesn’t involve disconnecting from people. It means separating yourself from the internet. Also, avoid electronic devices for specific periods of time.
Constant stimulation can burn you out. This often happens from mobile devices, watching TV, idly playing games, or working long hours
Your mind needs time to unwind. It’s more difficult to unwind if you’re connected to your device constantly. Choose some amount of time to disconnect daily.
Most people find it helpful to practice disconnecting in the evenings. What does this look like? It could be stopping all work on your computer by 7pm. Or, not bringing your phone into the bedroom at night. Resting from tech in the evenings helps your mind to settle down before you sleep. This allows you to fall asleep more quickly and get better quality rest.
Better sleep provides you with more energy during the day. You’ll start working more quickly every morning. Make a plan on how best to disconnect from your devices daily. Commit to it. Then, see it through for the next 30 days or more.
7. Sleep Schedule Challenge
Regular, high quality sleep plays a strong role in quality of work. To work better and be more productive, try getting better sleep. This is easier said than done, but the sleep schedule challenge might help.
Routines are part of a life with healthy balance. You have all sorts of routines,. When you eat meals or work revolves around a routine. So, why not make a routine of when you sleep and wake up?
A healthy sleep pattern is vital to getting the right amount and quality of sleep. When your body knows what to expect, it performs better.
Constantly changing when you sleep and wake up prevents you from forminga rhythm. This makes it more difficult for you to prepare for sleep, go through sleep cycles, and wake up.
For best sleep, plan ahead. Try scheduling sleep for 30 days and see the difference!
Plan your wakeup time first. Set a time that feels natural and works with your daily schedule. tick to it, even when you don’t feel like getting up.
Now, count back at least 8 hours to find out when you should be asleep. Remember that you’re unlikely to fall asleep immediately. Go to sleep before that time. This helps you get the right amount of rest each night.
A bedtime routine paired with a wakeup routine improves your sleep, and therefore your productivity. Some exceptions are fine, as long as they don’t become regular.
Your body will know when to release melatonin to help you relax and prepare for sleep. And, it will know when to wake you up in the morning with more energy. You’ll feel better, and because of that you’ll be able to work more effectively.
Do 30-Day Challenges Actually Work?
If you’re wary of buzzwords or trends in productivity, that’s understandable. It’s healthy to have some skepticism for new trends. However, 30-day challenges do have proven benefits, even if they aren’t what you expect.
There are numerous ways that 30-day challenges can benefit you. They won’t change your life in one fell swoop. But, a good 30-day challenge can help you to:
- Jumpstart Habit Creation
- Increase Willpower & Discipline
- Decrease Negative Consumption
- Create Accountability
- See from New Perspectives
These benefits tend to be overlooked.They’re important parts of creating a better life for yourself. With the right challenges, this might mean becoming more productive.
Even if a challenge involves little action each day, it can help you build valuable skills such as planning ahead and time management.
At the very least, taking up a challenge gives you a focus on improving yourself, which is a good way to make sure you’re always growing!
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