What my seven time saving techniques have to do with YOUR health


{Image courtesy of Barbara Schroeder} It's 5:15am. Not just somewhere, but in my bedroom.

My iphone app, Sleep Cycle, is playing one of my favorite humpback whale meditation songs to soothingly wake me up.

I'm okay with this. In fact, I'm really, truly excited about this 5:15am whale wake up. All kidding aside, I've  embraced this 5:15 am wake up.

Up until April 6th, I would wake up at 6amish (the time would vary depending on the night before.) As soon as I was up, I would maybe do a little bit of work while eating breakfast. This usually went on until about 7 or 7:30 depending on the day.

The morning would bleed together and then it was 10am, noon and very quickly 2pm. My best work time is between 6am - 2pmish. So as the 2pm hour approached, I would start to freak out a bit about not being as productive as I wanted.

(Who ever really is?! I always thought I could be. This led to me being stressed and panicky (about what I'm not really sure, but panic = stress = shut down mode. Saying no to things outside of work. Going to bed after 10pm. You get the picture.)

Why? Because the day was over. My creativity, focus, and drive melt away in the afternoon so any writing or "serious thinking" that had to be done, must happen in the morning.

That was then. This is now.

Ever since I decided that I wanted to dictate my time and not let it be the boss of me (which always resulted in me doing 7 things as I ran out the door, being a few minutes late to meet people and jumping from one activity to another) my world's been turned upside down.

Within 24 hours of doing these seven specific things, which I will tell you about in a moment, I am more rested, more relaxed (my shoulders are away from my ears and my shoulder blades are down my back where they belong) and I've created more time and space in my day.

Yes, it's magical. I created more time in the day! I shall be a millionaire soon enough.

If you're friends with me, you may have noticed I haven't been as responsive to phone calls. If you've sent me an email, you may have noticed that well, maybe I haven't gotten back to you. Yet.

So what on earth did I do you're wondering??! Spill the beans Johanna. And what on earth does this have to do with you you're wondering.

I did these seven-super-duper-easy-you-can-do-them-too things.

1. My iPhone is always on Do Not Disturb.

Wow Steve Jobs did a really good job of creating the most amazing Pavlovian science experiment. Any sort of ting, buzz, whistle or bell and I'm running for my iphone to see who just texted or called me. Your phone is buzzing? I'll most likely reach for mine too  - just to check. Ya know. Don't be judging me. I know you do it too.

But with my phone on Do Not Disturb (select settings and then choose the blue moon option) all the brain power that was sitting and waiting to pounce on the bell, whistle and buzz has been freed up.

It's liberating, like a weight has been lifted off my brain.

2. I've signed out of g-chat.

Pretty sure this is self explanatory. No more finding out what my friends are up to. Or just chatting with my brother. Who is usually upstairs or within 50 feet of when whenever he's signed into g-chat. Love you Doug, but yeah, we can connect the old fashioned way.

3. I don't read + respond to emails between 8-8. 8pm - 8am, that is. (I'm not crazy enough to say no emails between 8am - 8pm!)

This means the computer is turned off at 8pm. You may be wondering what on earth I do at 8:01pm. Great questions.

I usher in the pre-Facebook and internet days aka the 90's. I read. Holy moly do I read! It's amazing. There are these things called books. Turns out they are more than just decorative which is how I'd been using them on my shelves, but they are totally functional. Woah!

4. I've scheduled my weekly projects, tasks, workouts and meals into my calendar - including prep and drive time.

My workouts on Mondays and Wednesdays now read 7:45-9:30 (vs 8-9am) which includes drive time. So now when I plan something for Mondays, I don't plan it before 9:30. Can I just tell you the stress that's been freed up from arriving home and running right to the next thing? Monday at 10am and I already felt behind schedule.

Don't ask me how long it took to figure this one again. Just don't.

5. I penned in a couple 60 minute power hours each week. It's just me, the task at hand and that's it.

These aren't called power hours for nothing. I'm usually wiped when I'm done with them, but holy productivity Batman.

6. I acknowledged all my distractions. Yup, I wrote them onto a list.

Funny how liberating it is just to acknowledge something. It's as if it's lost it's grip over me (Yes Facebook and Instagam, I'm talking to you.) I've realized now when my fingers hit the Command + T keys to create a new tab, my brain is already making a mental of people to Facebook stalk. So I realize it and half my brain (the same, smart, productive half) says to the other half (the facebook obsessed, doesn't want to do work half)

"NOOOOOOOOOOO. No Facebook/IG/weather check/breaking news updates. Nope. Close that tab and get back to work."

(Again don't judge. This happens to you too.)

It's cut down the distractions TREMENDOUSLY in just three weeks. I feel as if I've finally figured out how to combat whatever virtual cocaine Mark Zuckerberg puts into his server that enters my brain whenever I turn on my computer. Ya hear that Zuckerberg? I'm going cold turkey.

7. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Overachiever? Yes, that's me. So I wrote down my list of everything I want to do, everything that makes it onto my to-do list one way or another. Then I chose the top three projects and said adios to the rest. Yup, I'm channeling my energy into just three work projects.

Is this freaking you out? Are your panties in a bunch thinking "I could never do that!" Hey guess what, you can and you should.

So yes, just a couple weeks ago, I unintentionally made these seven changes in my life. The upside is that while they revolutionized my world, I'm still alive. Bonus! Surviving without Facebook and my iPhone. Amazing.

And yes, all this has to do with your health.

Why? How? Tell you more.

#1. Your sleep will improve. And sleep is the key to success and a balanced life, one that you enjoy living and don't feel pulled in a million different directions.

I now have about two hours between shutting off my computer and going to bed. I'm reading, writing in my journal and sleeping so damn soundly. Just the other night, I was on the computer past 8pm for a webinar and I had so much trouble sleeping. As I was laying in bed, I could practically feel my active brain cells. Needless to say my sleep quality wasn't that good. And it was a great experience to see just how impactful the computer is in my life.

More sleep means I'm a happy, happy, peaceful, smiling lady. Just ask Arianna Huffington all about this sleep thing.

#2. You will cook more meals, eat better food, have time to workout and feel so much better about yourself.

With all this free time, created by my amazing productivity, I spend Sundays making food and prepping for the week. I pick out a couple meals, hit the grocery store with my list and prep all my veggies. Glass tupperware into the fridge and boom! Come lunch time on Tuesday or dinner time on Wednesday before my webinar, my meal is on the table in under five minutes.

When my calendar tells me it's time for a run, I don't feel as if I'm cheating on work. I'm ready for a break and I enjoy my time sweating to the oldies.

Is that happening in your house? Do you wish that it was?

#3. You will channel Pharrell.

For total cheese factor, I'm feeling happier and on top of my game. And that's pretty damn awesome.

I'm focusing on just the task at hand and cutting out the distractions. So anything that seemed overwhelming before really wasn't. It was just under a cloud of distraction. I've had a whole lot of squeals of "Oh. That's done. Awesome." "Wahoo - crossing that off the list. Sweet!" "Break time - power hour is O V E R!"

Shareable1I'm sleeping, eating well, working out and being productive. Hot damn, all I need is a haircut and I'm ready to conquer the world.

Now, you tell me. Which of my seven tips could you start doing today? Swing on over to my online community and share.

xx Johanna