This week turned into a blur- After creating a serious to-do list on Sunday night, I felt completely prepared for the week. I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish by the week’s end, and I knew the priority of each. I have to say though, as much as I was prepared to throw myself into my work and get started, random things kept coming up. By Wednesday, I knew that I’d have to stay up late to play a game of catch up or else I’d feel unsettled going into this weekend.
This game of “catch up” isn’t quite new to me, but it’s been a while since I’ve played it. Specifically in college, I remember venturing with my roommate down to the university’s 24 hr. market to pick up coffee flavored ice cream and other snacks to rev up my energy levels to get work done. Now of course I know that sugar is definitely a no-no for being productive late at night; for me it’d often result in a crash around 1am.
After playing “catch up” in college, I can confidently say that I’ve learned a couple things:
- Music is my friend. Back in college, I used to listen to a group called Owl City because I found them to be energizing- now I have a long playlist of super upbeat 90’s music that often has me dancing while sitting at my desk! Even if I feel my energy levels slipping, I know I can rely on that playlist to boost my spirits and productivity levels.
- High sugar snacks are a big no-no! My roommate used to snack on goldfish or oreos, and I used to devour nearly an entire pint of ice cream…and then a couple hours later I’d be falling asleep at my desk. There’s nothing quite as disappointing as waking up super early in the morning only to realize a project is still unfinished. When I have a late night craving, I often resort to nuts or a tablespoon of Sunflower Seed butter. Both options provide a boost of energy from the protein, and never leave me conked out at my desk.
- Even if I create a to-do list with the most enthusiasm about getting each and every task done, life can (and often does) throw curve balls. It can just take a subway diversion or (in my case this week!) a stalled car battery before your entire day is thrown off! That is why I remember that it’s important to prioritize my to-do lists. I’ll typically write down each task I need and/or hope to get done for the week, and then number each one in order of priority. That way, even if the line at Starbucks is extra long or even if an appointment runs late I can feel satisfied with getting the most important things done.
- Lights, lights, lights. Since I don’t have an official “office’ (one day!), I often work in a section of my basement. Our basement is not finished (also one day!) and we have a lot of overhead lighting…which is definitely not helpful for having a power hour at midnight. To help combat this problem, I’ve brought several table lamps down to my work area to brighten things up.
- Know when it’s time….to hit the lights, and hit the sack. As much as I think these games of “catch up” as vital to my overall feeling of satisfaction at the end of the week, I also know that a good night’s sleep is crucial to the success of the next day. Even after I have a small handful of nuts, or I have a two minute dance party down in my basement I try to be as mindful as possible of when my energy levels are really falling. By sleeping right, I know I’m setting myself up for a good next-day so I will turn off the lights and head up to my bedroom if I know my energy levels are sloping down and plateauing out.