3 Scheduling Mistakes That Are Destroying Your Productivity (And how to fix them!)

3 Scheduling Mistakes That Are Destroying Your Productivity (And how to fix them!)

If you’re struggling to figure out why you’re productivity is bombing, it could be because of one or more of these three counter-intuitive reasons.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of productivity, I want to address one big misconception about productivity – and that is that you don’t need to be productive all the time.

It is perfectly normal to not have productive days.

I have not met anyone who doesn’t have days where they just don’t get much done. It happens to everyone, we just don’t see their behind-the-scenes life!

Also, life isn’t about being a productivity machine and your worth as a human being also isn’t measured by your productivity.

But productivity can improve your life.

The reason I became obsessed with productivity and effectivity, which I will get to later, is because I was having a lot of unproductive days (which is ok), but I found that it was causing me to waste my own time.

I was used to lazily, “half-doing” my work in efforts to not get too stressed out, BUT THEN I found myself working all day and then feeling tired and burnt out!

I knew that the better option would be to get more work done in less time, and then have more time to properly relax or do things that I enjoyed!

That’s why I want to talk about productivity. And more specifically, scheduling for productivity!

So that you can get the same amount done in way less time, and thus have more time for the important things in life!

So let’s get into the top scheduling mistakes that are destroying your productivity!

Disclaimer: Products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

 #1 You are doing too much or you think you have to do too much

This is a very common misconception for productivity. You want to get tons of things done and you start comparing yourself to other people who seem to be doing a lot, and then you get overwhelmed with work.

This is bad for two reasons. 

 1 – our brains are wired for focus and NOT multitasking.

Having too many things on the go means that your brain can’t fully focus on one thing. Also to do anything right and produce meaningful results, you need to put quite a bit of time and effort into it.

 2 – Doing a small amount of things really well is WAY better than doing a ton of things just ok

Anybody who has done anything great has been very focused. Which means that they have done ONLY the things that have furthered them towards their goals.

And it also might seem like they did it quickly (which might influence you to think that you should be doing things faster), in actuality, it took them a lot longer than you might think to get where they are.

The same things goes for trying to implement good habits or change bad ones, it takes a lot longer than you think to change a habit or make a new one, and it usually takes very small steps to get to a fully changed habit. 

Many people who are super organized, super diligent about exercise, or whatever it might be – have practiced for years or have even more of an advantage because they were raised that way, so those habits are engrained into them.

So if you’re trying to implement a bunch of things that you’re not used to doing, it’s going to take a while. So stay patient and take small steps towards your goals!

#2 You’re actually not even doing the right things 

On top of trying to do too much and reaching for goals on an unrealistic timeline, there’s also the problem of not doing the right things. Sure you might be busy, but are you being productive? And ya you can be productive, but are you being effective?

Being productive means nothing if you’re not doing things that are furthering you towards your goals?

When I was studying in university, my study habits were sometimes pretty good, I was doing work the whole time with limited distractions.

BUT I was doing all the questions that I knew how to do pretty well. I wasn’t studying the harder questions and concepts that would have really furthered my knowledge and helped me on the exams. 

There’s a little rule: find the 20% of things you do that bring you 80% of the results. 

So study those harder questions, make that phone call that will get you that sale, sit down and grind out the details of that hard project!

And take some time to actually figure out what that 20% is that actually gives you results! 

Once you do that, all of the other things will start to feel much less heavy because you’ll be doing the things that MATTER!

#3 You think you don’t have enough time

Alright, so in our first productivity misconception, the point was that sometimes things take more time than you think – and by that I mean: your long term goals!

With smaller tasks in your day, such as exercising, cooking, cleaning, putting in a little extra time for our friends and family – these tasks are vital for your wellbeing and realistically, they don’t have to take too long!

With these sorts of tasks, there’s a pesky little saying, which is “I don’t have enough time”

Sometimes, this is a good attitude to have if you’re saying no to things that are not really important (like someone at work asking you to do something that is not within your scope or something like that).

BUT for things like taking care of your body and making time for the people you love, or the overall maintenance of your day-to-day life, like cooking and cleaning, you need to make time..

You MUST make time for things like cooking, cleaning, and exercising (and getting enough sleep)

These are essential to your health, happiness, and the overall ease of your everyday life. So you need to make time.

You don’t need to do ALL the things EVERY DAY, but you have to make time in your schedule and make these things a priority, or else your health will suffer (and then your productivity and goals will suffer too!)

And, more often than not, you will realize that it’s not about the time it takes to do these things, it’s about whether you want to do them or not.

My solution?

First and foremost: remind yourself why these things are important and that you need to do them. Oftentimes, the things we “don’t have time for” are the things that are going to contribute the most to our long term success.

Example: healthy eating and exercise

They will make you more alert and in a better mood, and will improve your energy levels and productivity. So essentially, they will make you more productive.

So, here’s how to get them done:

  • Schedule in specific time slots in your calendar for these activities that you just need to get done and you know don’t take a ton of time
  • Find ways to make them more fun – make sure you have some music or a podcast ready on your phone before you go do them! Or let yourself have a small reward after you’re done!
  • Make is as easy as possible for yourself to start these tasks. Have your work out clothes ready, make sure your kitchen is clean at the end of the day, make you that you have all the things you need to make cooking easier (i.e. prepped veggies, the right spatula, baking sheets, etc.), and have a cleaning schedule, so you know exactly what you should clean and when!

So to avoid productivity mistakes

The moral of the story is:

Do more of the good things and less of the things that don’t matter!

If you want some extra help with your productivity, time management, and doing the right things for your goals and your overall wellbeing – check out my productivity course!

It’s actually not just a productivity course – it’s a time management, goal-setting, mindset, organization, and much more all rolled into one! And it’s FREE! So what’s are you waiting for?

Sign up!

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!
5 Trade Secrets For Maintaining Willpower While Working From Home

5 Trade Secrets For Maintaining Willpower While Working From Home

Working from home. Sounds pretty nice, right?

It’s something that a lot of us would love and even try to build a life around it (i.e. me).

But for some, it can be a bit of a nightmare. (also me)

A lot of people actually rely on the ritual and accountability that working at a workplace can have.

I really know that feeling, the ONLY thing that would get me out of bed in the morning for years was the fear that I would get fired for being late! And sometimes, not even that would help (I was late for work A LOT, whoops!)

Working from home takes a crazy amount of discipline and willpower, especially during a pandemic when your motivation is at an all-time low!

Fortunately, as a seasoned work-from-home-er (and as someone who generally relies on accountability to get things done), I know the struggles that accompany working from home – and I have some awesome and unusual tips for overcoming them!

Disclaimer: Products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

Top tips for maintaining willpower at home! (during a pandemic!)

Now there are a few standards – like having a daily routine and a dedicated workspace that are important, but these tips will go a bit further than that!

My first few tips are pretty standard, thought definitely worth mentioning,  and the last few are where things get interesting!

Tip 1: Get creative with your motivation

I think that one of the biggest reasons for my willpower and discipline is that I have very big goals! And I’m very excited to achieve those goals.

That being said, sometimes on a daily basis, it can be hard to maintain motivation when those goals are so far away.

That’s why I also like using daily motivation strategies.

For example: I hate waking up early (but I know it’s good for me) – so I try to make getting up as nice and easy as possible. So I chose my alarm music to be a song that I really like and when I wake up I make myself a latte (which I really look forward to!)

Another way to motivate yourself daily is to plan something you really enjoy doing for after you finish work! And only let yourself do it if you have completed the task!

But sometimes you need a bit more motivation than that. The laziness is real, folks!

Sometimes, “just planning something fun” isn’t going to be enough motivation.

So here are a couple even more creative things you can do to maintain your motivation!

 1. Keep yourself on track with a friend. Having a sense of accountability is the best way to motivate yourself, but you can lose that when you’re all alone at home.

Instead, get a friend to check in on you to make sure you have done what you were supposed to and you can do the same for them!

2. For extra motivation – put some money on it! The website stickK allows you to place money on yourself, like a bet. If you do your task, you can keep your money.

If you don’t, then the money gets sent to charity (or a charity or person that you don’t like, which is further motivation to stick with it)! This honestly might be the best motivator! 

Tip 2: Eliminate distractions as much as possible

When you don’t have to worry about your boss peering over your shoulder while you’re “taking a break” and looking at videos of puppies eating cheetos, it can be very tempting to get caught up in the weird, but entrancing rabit hole of instagram or facebook videos.

There are also other at-home distractions, such as your family and your oh-so-cozy-looking bed!

Here are a few ways to eliminate those distractions.

  • Use Freedom – it’s an app that blocks whatever you want across all devices. So it blocks website AND apps! You can check it out here here! It has helped me SO MUCH to not browse facebook and instagram all the time!
  • Have your designated workspace that is secluded (or if you don’t have an extra room, try and face a wall or something, so you don’t look at things that might distract you!
  • Have a do-not disturb sign of some sort, so that your family knows not to disturb you when you’re in a deep focus mode!

Tip 3: Find ways to use your willpower LESS

Your daily willpower is limited. And your willpower gets used for every single decision you have to make.

And it is deceiving how many decisions you make in a day!

What kind of breakfast will you have? What will you have for lunch?

Where will your desk be for the day? And should you work on the oh-so-comfy-looking couch?

Will you work out before you work or after you work? What will your workout be?

And as trivial as these may seem, they are slowly depleting you of your will power!

So the solution?

Plan as many things as you can for the day – in advance!

And when you work from home, there are just that many more decisions!

Such as:

Where will I work? When will I have lunch? When will I start work?

When you work from home, your day almost becomes too flexible and ends up hindering your ability to do work.

Things you can plan:

  • your workout clothes (set them out the night before)
  • what days you will work out and what time
  • your meals for the day (you can try my meal planner!)
  • when you eat
  • when you start and stop work
  • where you’re working – like I said, have a dedicated workspace! Or if you like variety, have different workspaces, but plan when you’ll use them.

And again, invest in a productivity app, like freedom or todoist, to keep you on track!

Tip 4: Don’t try to do too much!

This is a common problem for everyone ever. Not to exaggerate, but I think I’m right.

It can be even more tempting when you’re working from home because you have all this magical time because you don’t have a commute and people distracting you at work.

But there’s a little thing called the planning fallacy that you need to keep in mind.

The Planning Fallacy is a human tendency to overestimate how much we can do in a day.

Spoiler alert: you can do a lot LESS than you think you can in a day.

That sounds like a bit of a pessimistic thing to say, but it will actually help you achieve much MORE in life!

Doing less will guarantee that you do it, rather than the alternative: which is planning too many things, getting overwhelmed, and then not doing it.

Over time, you’ll get more done every day if you just stick to things that are manageable.

And most importantly….

TAKE BREAKS!!!

When you work from home, it can be very tempting to try to work as much as possible, in an attempt to get things done earlier in the day! That’s a good idea, right?

Well, yes, if you’re doing it right, but doing it right, involves taking BREAKS!

Your brain absolutely needs a break and it also needs fuel, which brings me to my next point…

Tip 5: Eating properly and drinking water!

If I don’t eat properly, I CANNOT concentrate!

There’s lots of evidence out there about drinking water and eating the right foods and the impact they can have on your concentration.

I know from personal experience that the days I eat healthier are the days where I feel the most energized and able to concentrate!

I actually eat a huge breakfast with a balance of fats, protein, and carbs – plus lots of veggies and fruit!

AND I try to drink a ton of water when I wake up to make sure I get hydrated. (This actually influences my concentration the most)

Also, remember that your brain runs on glucose, so you need carbs for it to work properly!! This doesn’t necessarily mean refined carbs and sugars, but things like fruit, potatoes, and whole grains.

The takeaways for developing and maintaining willpower!

  • Be creative about your motivation
  • Eliminate as many distractions as possible
  • Use your willpower LESS
  • Don’t do too much (and take breaks!)
  • Eat properly and drink water (i.e. take care of your body)
  • Most importantly, listen to your body and go easy on yourself!

Some days will be easier than others – and that’s OK! No one can be 100% everyday, so go easy on yourself! Especially now – it’s a goal pandemic y’all – it’s ok if you’re not disciplined 24/7 and doing 110 things a day.

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!
How to Feel More Fulfilled in Life by Caring Less

How to Feel More Fulfilled in Life by Caring Less

I’m going to ask you a question. It may be a little bit daunting, but bear with me.

Do you feel absolutely fulfilled in your life right now?

Think about it for a moment, and answer honestly.

Now I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I’m willing to bet that a lot of you may have responded with something along the lines of this:

There’s so much more I want to accomplish in life – I don’t feel absolutely fulfilled yet”.

Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

That 3-letter word: ‘yet’ 

I want you to take a minute here and think about the word ‘yet’. This is a bit of a tricky word. Why? Because it makes us believe that the key to being fulfilled lies somewhere in the future. That we must accomplish ‘XYZ’ before we can be fulfilled. 

This isn’t quite how it works though.

Life fulfillment doesn’t just “appear” once you’ve accomplished your goals. Instead, what we mistakenly label as being “fulfilled” after we achieve these things is more like fleeting satisfaction. It lasts for a short while, and then it disappears. All of a sudden we’re back to feeling how we were before – unfulfilled.

If you keep believing that fulfillment will only arrive once you’ve achieved your goals – you’ll constantly feel unsettled, unsatisfied, and ultimately unhappy with what you’re doing in life.

Fulfillment is available to you NOW

The truth is, life fulfillment is something that you should feel every single day – starting right now.

Before you turn away and mock what I’m saying as “wishful thinking”, I want to share with you one very important quote:

It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit – Denis Waitley

Finding life fulfillment isn’t this big, mystifying quest that a lot of us may imagine it to be. In reality, it’s really quite easy to find.

True life fulfillment, as Mr. Waitley illustrates, can be found in the “happiness of pursuit”. In other words, it lies in doing things that we enjoy doing. Pursuing things. Whether these are larger life pursuits such as starting your own business, writing a book, or raising a family – or smaller pursuits such as learning how to draw, learning about different tree varieties, or even reading books.

We should be pursuing things every single day.

This may sound like a big ask, but it really isn’t. It doesn’t mean we have to accomplish and achieve a certain “goal” every day, it just means we have to occupy ourselves with doing something we enjoy every day. Doing “our stuff”. It’s all about the action of doing, not the end result.

And in the action of doing these things – in pursuing something we like – we will feel completely and totally fulfilled.

The best part is, this feeling of fulfillment won’t just disappear when we stop doing the activity we enjoy. It will last. It will radiate through our whole body every second of the day because we’ll know that we’re doing stuff that means something to us – stuff that we’re interested in, stuff that’s important to us, stuff that we love.

The #1 trick to help you feel more fulfilled

Okay, so in writing, it sounds easy. To be fulfilled, we just have to spend some time during our day doing things we enjoy.

But I know that life gets busy. I know that a lot of us may want to do more things we enjoy during our day, but we may scratch our heads wondering how. Our days seem to go by SO QUICKLY, right? Where on earth are we supposed to find the time to do the things we enjoy doing, right?!

Well, there’s one trick that’s going to help you with this. Here it is:

Cut out the things you don’t care about 

We spend SO many hours of our day occupying our minds with stuff that we really don’t give a crap about. Life is short, and we only have so much mental capacity. If we fill our minds and our lives with too much stuff, we’ll have less time to spend on the stuff that really matters to us. 

Now of course there’s the stuff we have to do. We all have obligations and things that we need to do every day whether we like them or not (*ahem* washing dishes *ahem*). But the truth is, a lot of the time there are other things we don’t truly care about that we can easily cut out of our lives.

To give you some examples, here are the 5 biggest things I’ve cut out of my life to make room for doing more of the things I enjoy:

1. Mindless TV: 

I still watch Netflix every now and then, but not nearly as much as I used to. I find TV can be entertaining, but I really don’t care that much about it. It doesn’t make me feel truly fulfilled.

2. Social media: 

I have a small group of friends that I’m very close to and I message them regularly. Other than that, I don’t feel the need to see every random person’s life updates and photos on my social feed. It’s a total waste of time, and distracts me from doing the stuff that’s really important to me. 

3. Eating out of boredom: 

I used to be a heavy snacker. If I ever had free time during my day, I’d just reach for a little snack and eat it to pass the time. The thing is, I wasn’t even hungry. It was just another useless (but tasty) time-sucker.

4. Keeping in contact with people I’m not close to:

I find it very difficult to keep in regular contact with a lot of people via text. It’s just something that I don’t love doing. I used to stress myself out by trying to keep in contact with old acquaintances constantly, but I finally decided that it was taking up too much of my mental headspace. It may sound a bit cold, but stopping this has helped free up so much of my time!

(FYI – I communicated this to all my acquaintances, so they know that I’m not just ghosting them! I still keep in contact, but only rarely, and they are okay with this)

5. The desire to do too many things

This was the biggest one for me. There are SO many different things I’d love to learn about and do (like most of you I’m sure!). It got to the point that I never knew what to start doing! I had all these fantasies of things I could do – but it was too much choice. It was too overwhelming.

Finally, I decided to narrow it down to TWO (only two!) things that I truly wanted to spend time pursuing. It ended up being yoga and working on my online business. Once I got all the other stuff out of my mental headspace, I felt like I had so much more clarity! Now I can just laser focus on each of these two things! Honestly, I’ve never felt so fulfilled in my life!

To find out what YOU can cut out of your life, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions: 

  • What activities during my day make me feel bad? 
  • What activities during my day make me feel bored?
  • What activities during my day are nice at the time but really don’t add anything to my life?
  • What is taking up too much mental headspace in my life?
  • What is keeping me from doing the things I actually want to do in life? 

Remember: the point here isn’t to cut EVERYTHING out of your life that you don’t like. The point is to define what things don’t bring value to your life so that you are better able to make room for things that do bring value to it!

True life fulfillment is available to you right now, this very second. All you have to do is allow for room for it to flourish!

If you’re looking for more useful tips and tricks on how to start living your BEST, most FULFILLED life, then download my free Anxiety Handbook! In it, you’ll find loads of useful pages (+ journal exercises!) that will help guide you in how to incorporate daily habits into you life that support a healthy, happy mind!

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!
Why You Need to Stop Feeling Guilty for Not Being Productive During COVID-19

Why You Need to Stop Feeling Guilty for Not Being Productive During COVID-19

If you’ve been scrolling through your social media feeds lately, you may have found yourself scratching your head wondering when the heck everyone suddenly became bread-baking experts, meditation gurus, and fitness pros

Well, you’re definitely not alone in your confusion.

As COVID-19 lockdowns have swept across the world, a very noticeable surge of “productivity pressure” has started to sprout up alongside it. Everywhere you look, it seems as though people are encouraging you to follow their lead and use this lockdown to get stuff done, develop your hobbies, and altogether just become the “best you” possible.

Just take, for instance, the viral tweets about how Shakespeare wrote King Lear when he was in quarantine during the Plague in the 17th century. Or how Isaac Newton used his time to come up with the theory of gravity. Right, because that’s the kind of pep talk we need right now … (???)

Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

Productivity shaming during COVID-19

This “productivity shaming” that’s currently being spewed at us from the media is hugely problematic. Let’s get this straight – we’re currently in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic that’s causing HUGE upheaval in the world.

This isn’t just something that’s going to pass in a few months – this is going to change the way our very society functions. I’m not trying to scare you, I just want to give you some perspective (because so often this can get lost in the media).

Honestly, this is really big.

Yet for some reason, we’re still being told by our apps, by social media influencers, and by – perhaps worst of all – ourselves, that we need to use this time to focus on us. To self-improve. To be our “best” every single day

We’re currently going through a collective trauma experience – how on earth are we supposed to be operating at our “best” every day?! It’s challenging enough when life is normal!

You need to go easier on yourself

The world is not at its best right now, so of course you’re not going to be at your best right now, either. This immense pressure put on us to “get things done” is just ridiculous, and only adds more pressure onto our already anxious minds!

Despite what your social media feeds may be showing you (read: lying to you) about all the *brilliant* things that people are learning, achieving, and getting done, it’s really not reflective of reality. 

The reality is, anxiety and depression levels are up, and LOADS of us are finding it difficult to stay healthy, let alone productive, inspired, and creative. I promise you – you’re not the only one feeling this way.

In fact, this is a completely normal response to the pandemic. Don’t be fooled by the productivity shamers that are inundating your social feeds. Afterall, we know we can’t believe everything that people show us there.

Different responses to stress

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ reaction to stress, change, and uncertainty – we all respond completely differently. So it’s only natural that we all react differently to the global trauma we’re currently experiencing.

Some people may deal with stress and uncertainty by being uber productive (think, for example, of that one classmate you had who would always leave their assignments until the very last minute, pull an all-nighter, and then somehow manage to still get a stellar mark on it). That’s totally fine! But you need to realize that not everyone is like this. In fact, a lot of us aren’t like this.

For a lot of us, it’s a struggle to even find the energy to get out of bed during lockdown. For a lot of us, the only thing we can manage to do is sit in front of the TV and binge-watch shows all day long.

This. Is. Okay. 

There’s no right or wrong way to deal with an unprecedented global pandemic. None of us know what’s going to happen, and none of us know what we’re doing. So if you don’t become fluent in French, if you don’t become ripped, and if you don’t end up writing a novel, it’s all good.

Tip: if you’re feeling particularily stressed about the Coronavirus situation, I recommend downloading our free Anxiety Handbook!

A note on self improvement

The self-improvement movement that’s become mainstream over the past few years has had some seriously great benefits. Here at Mindaya, we are ALL about personal growth and we believe that everyone has the power to become the best version of themselves and live the life they dream of living!

But as with all things in life, too much of something can be a bad thing. 

In recent years, the media has taken this idea of ‘self-improvement’ and morphed it into being something more about productivity than about actual pleasure and fulfillmentProductivity is only ONE aspect of self-improvement. Being productive isn’t an end in itself, it’s a means to an end. You shouldn’t strive to “do more” just for the sake of “being productive” and “accomplishing more”. This is so absurd! The whole point of being productive is so that you can spend more time doing the things you love and the things that set your soul on fire.

The “hustle” mentality that’s grown out of the COVID-19 lockdowns is pushing for productivity at the expense of our humanity. Our beautiful world is going through uncharted territory – now’s not necessarily the time to be focusing solely on improving yourself.

Okay, now that you know the truth about the ridiculous claims that “you need to be productive during isolation”, it’s time to take a great big sigh of RELIEF! Rest assured that you are doing perfectly fine no matter what you’re doing (and no matter what you’re NOT doing). It’s okay. It’s all okay. 

Finally, I wanted to summarize a couple tips that will help you deal with the COVID-19 productivity pressure. Write them down on your phone, or stick them on a piece of paper above your workspace so you see them every day!

10 tips for how to cope 

  1. Remind yourself every day that the world as we know it is going through a major change. Remind yourself that this is a big thing. 
  2. Recognize that having anxiety is normal right now (as well as feeling more depressed, lethargic, unmotivated, and uninspired)
  3. Take what people say on social media with a grain of salt (remember: people always portray the best version of themselves on social media, it’s not a genuine reflection of reality) – better yet, take a break from social media altogether
  4. Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to cope with a pandemic
  5. Stop measuring your worth against other people’s achievements. 
  6. Remind yourself that this is temporary and that things will get better
  7. Stop focusing on your future for a while (ex –“I want to have achieved ‘XYZ’ by the time the pandemic is over”) – focus instead on what you’re doing in the present moment 
  8. If you do want to set goals for yourself during isolation, make sure they’re realistic and start with baby steps (ex – doodle on a scrap piece of paper for five minutes, watch less than 4 hours of TV, stretch for 3 minutes on the bed every morning) 
  9. If you ever start feeling the guilt about not being productive creep back into your mind, just let it be – don’t give your guilt unnecessary attention (that is, don’t start feeling guilty for feeling guilty!
  10. Remember that we’re all in this together! 
Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
How to Design Your Perfect Nighttime Routine

How to Design Your Perfect Nighttime Routine

If you’re like most people, then you’ve probably fallen into these two traps before:

1. You work RIGHT up until you go to sleep

2. You spend your time before going to sleep in front of a screen – whether that’s your phone, computer, or TV

If either (or both!) of these things apply to you, don’t worry – you’re so not alone.

In fact, MANY of us tend to engage in unhealthy behaviours before bed (like the two above) that actually make it harder for us to fall asleep! 

Now, if you’re reading this, you probably already know the importance of having a healthy nighttime routine in place, but you may be having trouble actually implementing one (can I get an amen?). Perhaps you’ve read all the “top 10 things you NEED to do before going to bed” articles, but are still left where you were before – without a solid routine in place. UGH. Why is it so darn difficult?!

 

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Well, the problem is, a lot of these articles only focus on ONE nighttime routine. But we’re all different – so how can ONE routine work for all of us? It doesn’t make any sense!

That’s why for this blog post, I wanted to teach you how you can design your own unique nighttime routine that works for YOU (and JUST you)

The following list of habits, therefore, is fairly long, but it’s not intended for you to do EVERY single one of them. Instead, I’m going to be discussing:

1. What each habit is

2. Who it will work for, and

3. Who it won’t work for

That way, YOU’LL be able to make a decision yourself as to whether or not it will fit with your lifestyle.

So are you ready? Because by the end of this blog post, you’ll have created (for once and for all) YOUR – and no one else’s – PERFECT nighttime routine!

Habit #1 – Stop working before going to bed

Okay, so for this first habit, I would actually suggest that we all try to incorporate it into our routine. Why? Because you need to mentally separate “work time” from “rest time”. This allows your mind to have time to wind down instead of just trying to immediately switch ‘off’.

But what if I’m a night owl? What if I’m more creative and more productive at night?

I hear you. In fact, I’m the same way. If this applies to you, you should still take up this habit. Let’s say you want to work up until 1:30am. Instead of trying to fall asleep immediately after you finish working at 1:30am, just make sure you leave time after that to wind down (maybe stay up until 2am).

Going to bed late isn’t this big, bad thing that a lot of people make it out to be. If it works for you, then it works for you – you just have to make sure you still have some chillax time!

Habit #2 – Switch off your devices

I would recommend this one to most people as well, but not necessarily everyone.

Here’s the thing: the screens on our laptops and phones emit a “blue light”, and it’s been proven that this type of light contributes to poorer sleep quality. So if you’re using your phone to endlessly scroll down your social media feeds and watch videos at nightthis is something you’ll definitely want to stop doing

However, some of us may actually benefit from watching certain videos before we go to bed. For example, there are some amazing ASMR videos on YouTube that work wonders in helping a lot of people sleep.

To determine whether you’re someone who will benefit from this type of content, I recommend checking out this YouTube channel. If these videos make you feel relaxed, you may want to consider adding them to your nighttime routine. If they don’t do much for you, then I suggest avoiding screens altogether.

Habit #3 – Eat a small snack

You’ve probably heard a gazillion times that you “shouldn’t eat before bed”. The thing is, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone!

While some people’s metabolisms may get thrown off if they eat before bed, some people find that evening snacking works perfectly fine – if not better – for them (check out this article to see what I mean!). Personally, I find that having a small piece of fruit is a great way to end my day and signify to my body that it’s time for bed. If you’re like me, then a small and healthy (keywords!) evening snack is perfectly fine.

However, if you have a tendency to overeat, or if you only want to snack on unhealthy foods – this is when you know that you shouldn’t be adding this habit to your nighttime routine.

If you want some more guidance on how to create healthier eating habits (because honestly, who doesn’t?), I suggest downloading my free Anxiety Handbook!

Habit #4 – Drink a hot tea

If you’re anything like me, then you love a nice cup of soothing herbal tea before bed! 

I especially love drinking lemon balm tea because it’s known for inducing drowsiness (and honestly, it DOES). Some other teas that help promote sleep include chamomile, valerian root, lavender, and peppermint.

Many people find drinking tea before bed to be a calming and benefiting ritual – but not everyone.

Some people find that drinking tea before bed makes them have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. This doesn’t affect me because I’m a fairly heavy sleeper (there could be a raging tornado outside and I’d sleep through it like a log), but if you’re a light sleeper or if you have a more sensitive bladder, then I suggest staying away from this one.

Habit #5 – Take a shower

This one is prone to causing some debate. I myself am on the side of the evening shower supporters. I find that showering at night relaxes me and immediately makes me think “chill-time”. If you’re like me, then having a shower every night is a great addition to your nighttime routine. Just make sure you don’t wash your hair every night!

For some people though, nighttime showers just don’t work for them. Many people find that showering is something that makes them feel more awake and energized. If this applies to you, then definitely skip this habit and save it for your morning routine.

Habit #6 – Listen to relaxing music

Okay, this is one I’m alllll for. Listening to calming music before going to bed immediately gets me into a zen mood.

My favourite types of music to listen to in the evening are ambient music, spa music, nature sounds, or sometimes even somber classical music. But honestly, there are SO many genres to choose from.

I encourage you to explore Spotify or YouTube to find what genre of music suits you for your nighttime routine.

Listening to music before bed may not be for everyone though. A lot of people prefer just plain peace and quiet to help them get to sleep. Again, everyone’s unique, and you’ll have to do a bit of experimenting to find what suits you!

Habit #7 – Use essential oils

Ahhhh, aromatherapy – how I love a good smell before bed!

I find that using sleep-inducing essential oils in my diffuser such as lavender, cedarwood, and clary sage works wonders in helping me relax. Sometimes I’ll even put my diffuser on in my bathroom as I shower to create my own little “relaxation chamber”. I love it!

Some people, however, may be a little bit sensitive to scents, and so using essential oils before bed may not be right for them. I encourage you to sample some scents and see what feels right for you!

Habit #8 – Dim the lights

This is one that I beleive pretty much everyone should add to their nighttime routine. Why? Well, I think we can all agree that when it’s darker, we feel more relaxed (this isn’t personal preference, it’s biology). Dimming the lights is therefore a super easy and super effective way to signal to your body that it’s time to unwind.

I love using candles at night because they instantly put me into a very zen headspace. I also suggest investing in a Himalyan salt lamp. These beautiful lamps emit a wonderfully soothing orange light that is just sooooo calming. If you haven’t tried one yet, I highly recommend it!

Whether you choose candles, salt lamps, or both, be sure to put something right beside you on your bedside table so that you can see what you’re doing. And this brings me to my next few habits…

Habit #9 – Journal

Honestly, I swear by this one! 

For me, writing stream of consciousness at night helps me get all my remaining thoughts out before I go to bed. This makes it much easier for me to sleep because I have no thoughts left in my head to keep me awake!

So if any of you have difficulty sleeping because of overthinking, I highly recommend taking up this habit. To learn more about how to use stream of consciousness journaling, check out this article: How to Use Stream of Consciousness Journaling: 7 Tips to Start Clearing Your Mind.

Some of you, however, may not benefit from this habit. Why? Because some people may find that they get too caught up in the writing. This is especially true for people who really enjoy writing and people who feel more productive/creative at night. If this is you, then journaling at night may actually energize you and make you feel more productive! This is counteractive in a nighttime routine, and I’d suggest leaving this for your morning routine instead.

Habit #10 – Write down three things you enjoyed about the day

Another pretty much universal one here!

I would recommend this one to everyone simply because practicing gratitude is 100% beneficial and has ZERO side effects if you do it at night!

By writing down three things that you enjoyed about your day (in other words, three things you’re grateful for), you’re able to reflect on your day in a healthy way and end it on a positive note. Too often, we spend our nights thinking about all the things we didn’t do during the day and stressing about things we have to do tomorrow. This practice shifts the focus from the past and the future to the present moment.

Habit #11 – Plan for the next day

Okay, this is one that I personally like doing during my morning instead of my evening. Many of you, however, will definitely benefit from this one at night.

If you find that you waste a lot of time throughout your day making decisions – what to wear, what to eat, what to work on, what show to watch, what book to read, etc., then you may want to consider setting aside 20 minutes from your evening to plan your next day. It could honestly end up being a HUGE time-saver and and stress-reducer for you!

For me, I find that scheduling at night makes me think a bit too much, if that makes sense. It energizes me and makes me feel like I’m ready to go (not exactly what I want to feel just before bed!).

If you’re not quite sure what would suit you, I recommend spending one week trying this habit and seeing how it makes you feel. It may work for you, it may not be quite right! Again, we’re allllll different.

Habit #12 – Read

I can’t go one night without reading. In fact, for as long as I can remember I’ve always set aside a good 30 minutes to get through some pages of my book before going to bed. Not only does it help me get through my ever-expanding reading list, but it also makes me super drowsy!

A lot of people find that reading helps them sleep, but some people may not. If you’re the type of person that gets super-duper invested in a story and can never seem to put a book down, then maybe this shouldn’t be something you do RIGHT before bed. If it makes you lose sleep rather than help you get to sleep, you may benefit from reading at a different time of day.

Also – it all depends on what book you’re reading. I find that non-fiction books that require quite a bit of thinking and brain-power aren’t the best for me to read at night. Instead, I tend to go for fairly easy-to-read fictional stories before bed (here’s a list of some fun ones to get you started!).

Habit #13 – Exercise

Okay, similar to the whole “don’t eat before you go to bed” thing, you may have also heard that it’s not great to exercise before bed. But again – it’s totally different for everyone. For some people, doing a full-on exercise before bed helps them sleep better, and for others, it may make them lose sleep.

If you’re not quite sure what side of the spectrum you fall on, I suggest starting by doing some gentle stretches or a mellow yoga flow (like this one) before bed. For me, this works best. Also, paired with a chilled-out music playlist makes for the PERFECT pre-sleep ritual!

Habit #14 – Breathing exercises

This last one is another pretty much universal one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – deep breathing works wonders. It’s an instant way to feel more relaxed and centred – which is just what you want before bed!

If you’d like to know about some specific breathing exercises, you can find them here in my free Anxiety Handbook!

Final thoughts and reminders

Your nighttime is unique to you, so it’s important you take some time to figure out what works the best for you, not for someone else. We’re all different, and we all benefit from different things.

Once you’ve designed your own personal nighttime routine, I guarantee that not only will you get a better sleep and feel more motivated the next day, but you’ll also actually look forward to going to bed!

Sweet dreams for now!

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Sagesse ("Say Jess")

Owner of Mindaya

Hey guys, it’s Sagesse – the face behind website! I’m dedicated to helping you find freedom your anxiety and overcome the mental obstacles that are standing in the way of your best life!
How to Heal Your Inner Child When You Criticize Her Every Day

How to Heal Your Inner Child When You Criticize Her Every Day

As we make our way through life’s journey, somewhere along our travels from childhood to adulthood we often pick up some very flawed beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. There’s one belief in particular that stands out, as it has the most damaging effects on our lives… 

That belief is this:

That when we grow up, we have nothing to do with our childhood selves. That ‘childhood’ and ‘adulthood’ are two separate entities that exist independently of each other. Once we’ve grown up, we’ve moved on. We’re adults. And there’s nothing child-like about that – right?

Wrong.

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You’ve probably heard the term ‘inner child’ thrown around before, but like many terms, it’s gained a bit of a misunderstood reputation. In reality though, it’s super simple:

Think of your inner child like you think of your shadow. Although you’re not physically your shadow, it’s still very much connected to you and follows you wherever you go (even if it’s a bit hidden at times!).

The exact same goes with your inner child. Even though you’re not physically a child anymore, she’s still very much with youJust because you’ve gained the title of “ADULT” doesn’t mean that you’ve suddenly severed all ties with the childlike part of yourself.

In fact, there are really only two things that have changed about you since you’ve become an adult:

1) your outward appearance

&

2) the things you’ve learned throughout your years living on this earth

And it’s this second one that we’ll be focusing on in this article – because this is one that causes us some problems!

The lens we see the world through

When we were children, we were constantly learning about ourselves and the world around us. Our minds were like these super porous sponges that just sopped up everything we saw, heard, and experienced.

We learned what was “right” from what was “wrong”, what was “good” from what was “bad”, and what was “normal” from what was “weird”. All these things we learned became logged in our mind to create a kind of ‘lens’ that we saw the world through. And this ‘world lens’ of ours doesn’t just stay with us in childhood, it stays with us our entire lives.

In other words, the experiences we’ve had in the past shape the way we see (and behave in) the present.

This can be a bit tricky to understand, so if you’d like a bit of a deeper explanation, check out this previous blog post: How Negative Thinking Gets Wired into Your Brain. It does a great job explaining how this “thought-logging” works in more detail. I also suggest signing up for our free 4-Day Anxiety Course as it comes with some super useful hands-on exercises that help you analyze and challenge your ingrained thoughts and beliefs!

What becomes of bad experiences?

Now, many of the things we learned as children that become logged in our minds as adults were perfectly fine. For example, if we burnt the tip of our finger on a candle, for the rest of our lives we would know that fire = hot. I think we can all agree that that’s a fairly useful part of our ‘world lens’!

But there are also many harmful experiences that have become logged in our minds that make us believe certain things. These are called “wounds”. These wounds will differ from person to person, but there’s one thing for sure: everyone has wounds in some form or another. In fact, the vast majority of the negative behaviours and negative traits we have in life are a direct result of unhealed wounds from our childhood.

Here are 22 common signs that you may have unhealed wounds from childhood:

  1. You have low self-esteem
  2. You have poor body image
  3. You have problems when it comes to eating (bad relationship with food)
  4. You have feelings of shame or regret over something that happened in the past
  5. You’re a people-pleaser
  6. You feel inadequate as an adult
  7. You have trouble committing to or trusting other people
  8. You have difficulty letting go of things (or people)
  9. You feel as if you don’t have your own sense of identity
  10. You have feelings of guilt/shame when it comes to romance
  11. You have issues with jealousy
  12. You have social anxiety
  13. You regularily engage in self-destructive behaviour
  14. You have trouble doing “grown-up” things on your own
  15. You have difficulty making decisions (either big or small)
  16. You’re unable to assert your own opinion to others
  17. You have anger issues/you can’t control your emotions 
  18. You feel anxious when outisde of your comfort zone
  19. You feel like you’re wearing a “mask” around other people (you feel you can’t fully be yourself)
  20. You have dependency issues
  21. You’re passive-aggressive
  22. You have difficulty communicating/confronting others

Hot to figure out what your wounds were

There are SO many different types of childhood wounds that may result in negative behaviours (like the ones listed above) in adulthood.

On the more extreme side, there’s trauma. Trauma is the most harmful wound of all, as it can have absolutely devastating consequences.

But besides trauma, there are so many other ‘little’ wounds that may have caused you to behave a certain way in adulthood. Here are a few examples of some common negative behaviours and the possible wounds that may have caused them:

  • Negative behaviour/trait: you have difficulty asserting yourself to others
  • Possible wound: You were taught that “children should be heard and not seen”

 

  • Negative behaviour/trait: you have guilt when it comes to romance
  • Possible wound: You were told that you couldn’t date until you graduated High School

 

  • Negative behaviour/trait: you believe you’re incapable of doing things on your own
  • Possible wound: You were coddled as a child

These are of course just a few examples – I encourage you to do some digging and think about what your own wounds may be!

But even if you can’t quite pinpoint what your specific wounds were, that’s totally okay! You don’t need to know exactly what they were in order to overcome the negative behaviours associated with them. 

The only thing you need to realize is that you DO have wounds from your childhood, and that they are in desperate need of some TLC!

So in part 2 of this article, I’ll be going over 12 practical steps you can take to reconnect with and heal your inner child. 

Read part 2 here

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.