Those of us in the United States (except Hawaii and Arizona) turned the clock back one hour over the weekend to reclaim the 60 minutes we lost when Day Light Saving Time started. Originally, Day Light Saving Time was instituted to save energy, not necessarily to capture time. But, the change in time during the winter (verses the spring), though a seemingly good one (most of us crave an extra hour to sleep), can still take some getting used to.
If the new change disrupts your usual way of doing things or your sleep schedule, you’re probably not going to be very productive. And, since the days are a bit shorter during the winter, you may want to make a few adjustments. The key to staying on top of things and ensuring that your productivity doesn’t slip might be to:
Stick to your regular nightly routine
Getting enough sleep will have an impact on how much you can accomplish on a consistent basis. Now that you have an extra hour to play with, you might think it’s a good idea to go to bed much later. Instead, consider going to sleep at your usual time and get up when you would normally for a few days and then gradually make slight adjustments. Try turning in for the night about 15-20 minutes later and slowly increase that to 60 minutes over a week or two to get your body (and mind) accustom to the change. If you have children, you can use the same strategy to help them get acclimated as well.
Get more sunlight
A recent article in the Columbian discussed the importance of getting out during the light hours. “In general, darkness stimulates our body to want to sleep. Chemicals in our brains actually get triggered because of the darkness. That can lead to fatigue …”
This will likely be the case during the winter as it’s probably dark when you leave for work and also when it’s time to head back home. This means you’ll get less exposure to sunlight, unless you sit by a window during working hours (or use a light box), be sure to spend some time outdoors to soak up some rays (perhaps during your lunch break). Include a brisk walk or a light jog around the block and you’ll likely increase your energy level, improve your ability to get things done, and have a better chance at having a good night’s sleep.
Keep doing what works
Of course, if you’re using a strategies that have been working well for you (tackling important projects when you’re most alert, delegating some tasks, staying hydrated throughout the day, using a “done” list or a timer, etc.), you should keep up with them. If you haven’t found strategies successfully that fit your process style, this is a great opportunity to start investigating uncluttering, time management, or productivity routines that would best suit you.
Though it may be challenging to stay productive during the winter months, you can still find ways to keep your energy high and stay on top of all you need to do. As I often mention, not every tip will be a good fit for everyone, but try one or two of the suggestions above to see how well they work for you.