|As much as we enjoy escaping the “daily grind,” most people inevitably fall back into a routine. A routine helps the majority of us become more efficient and productive in our personal and professional lives. Students of all ages can benefit from creating their own rituals and viewing them as helpful and comforting rather than stifling and oppressive. By adopting these three habits into your morning routine, you can proactively tackle challenges that each day brings and help prevent the buildup of stress over time.|
Get into the habit of enjoying a healthy breakfast each morning. Your brain requires fuel from food in order to function properly. When you wake up in the morning, your energy storage is running low and your body is counting on you to recharge. Countless researchers agree on the simple fact that students who eat breakfast have increased memory retention and better overall performance. However, there is more to this step than simply grabbing a pastry at your favorite coffee shop. “Eat a good breakfast with plenty of protein and non-sugar carbohydrates for a slower, steadier, release of energy,” says tutor Lakesha P. from Charlotte, NC. Crystal G from Suffolk, VA urges her students to “get about 15 grams per meal.”
A review published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests that exercise leads to better brain function. Tutor Paul C. reports, "research studies have shown a clear correlation between improvement in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity. For example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores." The positive effect on the mind and body could be the result of a number of factors, beginning with increased flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Additionally, the influx of endorphins that come with exercise contributes to an elevated mood. Don’t worry, you don’t need to commit to an hour in the gym each morning in order to benefit. Simple calisthenic exercises or a series of stretches will get your oxygen flowing and will help you feel energized for the day ahead.
Humans are built with instincts that help us quickly delegate tasks and solve problems in times of crisis. However, it’s more challenging to proactively problem-solve and anticipate challenges when there is no immediate issue or extenuating circumstance at hand. Set aside time each morning to lay out all of your tasks and choose your preferred method of prioritizing for that day. You may want to start off by tackling the low-hanging fruit (mailing a letter, getting your oil changed, etc.), the items that are associated with the most stress (responding to that angry email from your group member, filing taxes), or the bigger, more involved projects (drafting an essay, taking a practice test, etc.). Tutor Rabekah G. of Bellevue, WA goes as far as to graph her priorities with the following parameters:
The axes are Level of Importance and Level of Urgency. The quadrants are:
By listing tasks in one of these quadrants, it is easy to see what to spend the most time on and in what order.
While these three tips are certainly helpful and can be implemented by many, it is important to remember that you know yourself best. Set routines based upon what works best for you! If you're unsure of what might work, experiment with different ways of starting your day. This will ultimately help you become more aware of your optimal level of productivity. And, don't forget to have fun!