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Build your good habits this autumn

Those glorious lazy days of summer are at an end for most of us, and that back-to-school feeling is sinking in. Though resolutions are traditionally associated with the new year, there can be something about the nights drawing in and that bite in the air that makes autumn the perfect time to establish some good habits to stay productive all winter long.

Write it down

Dark and chilly mornings can threaten the best of intentions, whether it was an intention to get up for an early morning run, or a goal to read before breakfast. Taking a few moments when you first wake up to reflect on your goals and why you set them can reawaken that sleepy motivation. Establishing the habit of journaling first thing in the morning is a great way to clear your mind for the day ahead, and focus on what you want to achieve that day and why.

Work it out

After summer’s activity it can be very tempting to let the cold weather send us scurrying onto the sofa until further notice! Studies show that keeping the body active helps to keep the mind focussed and spirits lifted. If pumping iron at dawn is never going to be a realistic plan, keep it gentle: try a ten minute yoga routine when you first wake up, or commit to a brisk walk after lunch each day.

Switch it off

How many times have you stopped what you were doing when your phone alerted you to a notification, only to find it was letting you know it’s the birthday of someone you haven’t seen in 20 years or that it’s a sunny day today? Give yourself the gift of freedom by switching off all social media and other needless notifications. You can still enjoy a good nosy catch-up on your downtime, without allowing your phone to interrupt you when it pleases.

Even so, it can be tempting to take a peek at your phone whenever your concentration wanders, so consider a productivity-sprint. Switch your phone (and other devices) to airplane mode and set a timer for 30 or 45 minutes, then challenge yourself to work solidly until the alarm goes off. Reward yourself with a five minute break, then start the next sprint. If you struggle with the duration to begin with, start with twenty or even ten minute intervals and gradually increase your endurance.

Set Deadlines

It’s all too easy to convince yourself you’ll do something as soon as you get around to it – but that’s a quick and easy way to let a to-do list get the better of you.

No matter what the task is – whether it’s tackling a work project or scheduling a dentist appointment, set yourself a deadline to complete it – and stick to it.