Time Management and Healthy Eating: Practical Habits For Professionals: Energizing Your Mornings
September 11, 2014 Leave a comment
I always find early September an exciting time of change – no doubt a learned response from the years and years… and years (my parents would say), of school. Perhaps that’s why I’m much more successful starting an AND KEEPING new habits in September than at New Years.
So in keeping with the theme of starting practical new habits, over the next three blog posts I’ll share some of my favourite habits that have helped my clients be more productive. And that’s not all!!! To further help you be successful I’m collaborating with James R. Elliot of Complete Health and Fitness.
James R. Elliot is a holistic nutritionist, health transformation coach and public speaker dedicated to empowering individuals to lead healthier, happier lives. Over the next three posts James will share some tips on how to maintain your energy (morning, noon and night), and my Time Management tips will give you ideas on what to do with that energy. For example: James will look at:
- Energizing your mornings
- Evening meal planning to promote a restful sleep
- Avoiding (or minimizing), your mid-afternoon slump and drop in energy
Time Management Tip I: Do Important Work First
One of the key Time Management technique I teach / speak / write on is to do your Important Work first. This means working on your most important projects / priorities before you get involved with Busy Work.
Studies show that the majority of adults are more creative and work more accurately in the morning… when we’re rested. That’s why most successful people have adopted good time management habits like dedicating their mornings to their Important Work. This also means:
- Moving as many meetings as possible into the afternoon
- Eating a healthy breakfast (like James will tell us)
- Starting their day early
I can imagine the groans from all you ‘late night news’ watchers about starting your day early.
And while most adults believe they are night people – that’s not the case. Studies show people feel sluggish in the morning because they don’t get enough quality, restful sleep; we are chronically fatigued. I’ll talk about sleeping in part II of this series.
After you’ve worked on your Important Work all morning, spend the afternoon working on your lower priority Busy Work like taking meetings, helping co-workers and replying to low-priority email.
How To Start Your Day Earlier – Easily
To invest in your future success lets say you’ve decided to get up 30 minutes earlier; perhaps that means not hitting the snooze button anymore. Hurrah!!! Those 30 minutes will provide you many benefits. For example:
- Take 15 minutes to relax and have a nutritious, healthy breakfast that James suggests
- Be on the road earlier, which means less traffic, less stress and likely much less time commuting
- Arrive at the office relaxed, earlier, refreshed and ready to begin your Strategic Important Work.
James R. Elliot’s Tip I: Energizing Your Mornings
One of the best things you can do to rev up your metabolism and feel great in the morning is to have a HEALTHY breakfast. Unfortunately, there is too much ‘cereal box health advice’ that tells us what a healthy breakfast is…when it actually is not. I used to fall victim to this and for years had 2 cups of orange juice, cereal with 2 cups of milk, and sometimes even double carb my breakfasts by adding bread each morning.
I thought this was a healthy breakfast, but like many people this is why I used to crash mid morning, had health issues, exhaustion, required coffee, craved daily naps and had trouble losing weight. Even without the bread, on average I was getting about 119 grams of sugar in my breakfast!!! 12g of sugar for each 250ml of milk (2%,1%, skim, whatever), 25g for each 250ml of orange juice, and 30-45g or more for the cereal, even the “healthy” stuff! Not to mention the starchy grains/cereal itself. With all that sugar – an energy crash is inevitable.
Why does this happen? When you add so much sugar to your body, your body knows it is toxic so, your body compensates by dumping lots of insulin into your bloodstream (and usually way over-compensates) so your blood sugar, energy and mood all come crashing down. You feel hungry again, tired, irritable, crave sweets, coffee and then the cycle begins all over again. Most manufacturers like to hide the real amount of sugar in their products by giving you nutrition facts per ¼ cup or 1/3 cup of cereal – who has only ¼ or 1/3 cup of cereal?
3 Healthy Breakfast Options:
- A green shake (75% greens, 25% fruit) with protein powder and 1-1.5 TBSP coconut oil
- Meat/fish/eggs and veggies sautéed in coconut oil
- A healthy “cereal” alternative of 5-6 TBSP Hemp Hearts, 1-2 TBSP chia seeds, a small handful of slivered or crushed almonds, almond/flax/coconut/rice milk (preferably unsweetened), cinnamon, and a natural sweetener like Stevia (my favorite is Truvia). Throw in some berries if you like as well. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, if you want, so the chia seeds are easier to digest. These ingredients are available at any grocery store, especially in the health sections, or bulk barn.
Although it takes time to implement healthy lifestyle habits, the return on investment is tremendous — which makes the time investment worth it. Not only will you be more productive, you will find that the combination of healthy fats, protein, and low-glycemic carbohydrates in these options will give you more maintained energy, better mood, increased mental clarity and create a neat side effect of losing weight.
As you work into your new habits, stay focused on keeping a routine of getting up at the same time. Getting up at different times disturbs your circadian rhythm.
Things you can do to change your schedule:
- Exercise… especially morning exercise
- Enjoy healthy eating – like a good breakfast sitting on your deck or walking your dog (what I do).
- Don’t sleep in much later on weekends
Visit the second blog post in this series by clicking below:
#II: Time Management and Healthy Eating: Practical Habits For Professionals: Why Sleep Is Important
Visit the third blog post in this series by clicking below:
#III: Time Management and Healthy Eating: Avoiding The Afternoon Slump
Happy Time Management and Healthy Eating.
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