Before bed, escort your devices out of your bedroom. Disconnecting from the digital world will help you sleep better, deeply recharge, and reconnect to your wisdom and creativity.
Set an alarm for thirty minutes before your bedtime. Setting an alarm reminds you that if you’re going to get to bed on time, you need to start wrapping things up.
Set a daily caffeine cutoff. Taken too late in the day, caffeine hinders our ability to fall asleep. Switch to decaf after 2 p.m.—your nighttime self will thank you.
Conduct a sleep audit. Spend time identifying where on the spectrum your sleep quality and quantity might fall, and what beliefs, behaviors, and mindsets might be driving your sleep habits. Taking the time to list them out might create new awareness and ideas so that you can implement the Microsteps you need to get better sleep.
Rid your bedroom of unwanted noise. Sound is one of the simplest and most direct impediments to deep sleep. Identify any sources of unwanted noise (starting with your devices) and either remove them from your bedroom or silence them.
Before you go to sleep, take sixty seconds to write down a list of three things you need to do tomorrow. Research shows that writing down your key priorities can help you fall asleep faster than reflecting on completed activities or things that already happened. Refer back to your list in the morning and dive in!
Unplugging and Recharging
When you wake up, don’t start your day by looking at your phone. Instead, take at least one minute to breathe deeply or set your intentions for the day.
Turn off all notifications, except from those who need to reach you. The more our phone buzzes at us, the more it conditions us to release cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
Schedule time on your calendar for something that matters to you—outside of work. Whether it’s going to the gym, going to an art gallery, or seeing friends, setting a reminder will help you hold yourself accountable.
Put away your phone and look up while commuting or running errands. Unplugging while on the move will help you connect with people, sights, and scenes around you—and take stock of what you’re grateful for.
Don’t look at your phone during mealtimes. If you’re with friends, try playing the phone stacking game. Put your phones in the middle of the table. Whoever looks first picks up the check!
Each night, turn on night mode to make your phone’s display easier on your eyes. This adjustment will limit blue light from your phone screen and help you wind down for an easier transition to sleep.
Nutrition and Hydration
Swap a healthy treat for your go-to sugary comfort food. If you find yourself reaching for unhealthy comfort foods, find a delicious snack that still feels like an indulgence but without the processed sugar. Try a bowl of berries instead of a cinnamon bun, or a fruit smoothie instead of ice cream.
Swap one sugary beverage a day with water. Sugar is proven to increase inflammation in our bodies, which limits our immune response. If you want, add a slice of lemon to make the water more flavorful.
Read the label on a food item in your home you think is healthy. Many foods—including cereals, juices, jams, and even bread—are loaded with sugar, even though they’re labeled as healthy. A glance at the label will quickly boost your awareness so you can buy a different brand or swap it for something truly healthy.
Sit down when you eat, even for a few minutes. Mindless eating can lead us to consume more calories and experience bloating. If you can, choose a place to eat that’s not the same place you work. Make it a meal!
Bring your lunch to work, even just once a week. Take control and be intentional about what you put in your body by packing your own lunch.
Get off public transportation one stop earlier to walk the rest of the way. Our brains release neurotransmitters while we walk that help us make better decisions and focus.
Schedule time on your calendar for exercise. You wouldn’t miss an important meeting or doctor’s appointment, so blocking out movement time on your calendar in the same way can help you shift your mindset to prioritize your physical well-being. Research shows that even a few short and sweet minutes of movement in your day can make a positive impact.
Take a one-minute stretch break whenever you can throughout the day. Frequent movement fuels your body and mind. Stand up, change positions, stretch—anything to get your blood flowing.
Every time you exercise, take a minute to acknowledge that you showed up for yourself. Celebrating even small wins helps make habits stick.
Once a day, turn a sit-down meeting into a walking meeting. Walking side by side with a colleague, you’ll be less likely to look at your devices, and the movement will get the creative juices flowing.
Whenever a call ends early, or when you get up to use the restroom, take an extra two minutes for a stretch break. You can use that time productively by reinvigorating yourself with movement.
Focus and Prioritization
In the morning, write down your priorities for the day. Deciding what’s important and what’s not is key to reducing stress and improving productivity.
Take a minute to block off time for focused work today—ideally in the morning. Set a calendar reminder and let colleagues know so they’ll be less likely to interrupt you. Researchers have suggested that 75–120 minutes of focus time is optimal for productivity, but if that’s too ambitious, even 30 minutes will make a difference.
If something takes less than two minutes, do it immediately. Finishing a quick task is often simpler than reviewing it, putting it in your calendar, and returning to it later.
Make at least one meeting each day device-free. You’ll be more focused, engaged, and productive, and your team will be more creative without distractions from phones and computers.
Once a day, schedule time for deep work and let others know you need to focus. Be vocal about going into Do Not Disturb mode: time for focused work, without interruption, preferably in a quiet place. You’ll be more productive at the office and less likely to have a lot of work you must complete at night.
Communication and Relationships
During your day make a personal connection with people you might normally tend to pass by and take for granted. It might be a checkout clerk or someone in your neighborhood you’ve never met. See how this helps you feel more alive and reconnected to the moment.
Start your next conversation with a question about the other person. Approach the person with genuine curiosity. What might you learn from them? How might they inspire you?
Today, share constructive feedback with one coworker. Start with “I care about you, and that’s why I want to give you my honest feedback.” Compassionate directness helps us build trust and surface issues before they become problems.
Ask a trusted friend for their compassionately direct feedback. Sometimes our impact on others doesn’t match up with our intentions. Receiving honest feedback may hurt at first, but consider it a valuable opportunity to build self-awareness.
Once a day, have a conversation where you mostly listen. Don’t underestimate the power of silence. Instead of giving your opinion or changing the subject, invite the other person to go deeper.
Creativity and Inspiration
Schedule time to go outside. Just a few minutes during the day can make a big difference. Simply being outdoors and surrounded by nature not only improves your well-being but inspires you to be a more creative, more present version of yourself.
Take short pauses throughout the day. After a period of intense focus, or when you’re feeling stuck, taking just a few minutes away from your desk and screens can help free you from the demands of your inbox and your to-do list.
Take a planned detour. Travel is a great way to take you out of your comfort zone, but you don’t need to go around the world or even leave town to stimulate your mind in creative ways. Find an everyday opportunity, like turning down an unfamiliar side street, to expose yourself to new people, sights, and sensations.
Let yourself be bored. The next time you’re waiting in line, stuck in traffic, or someone is late for a meeting, embrace it instead of immediately going to your phone or tablet. Unstructured moments can lead to inspiration, creativity, reflection, and connection.
Take a moment to look up next time you step outside. Every day, allow yourself to take in the wonders around you: the sky, the stars, mountains, clouds. Taking time to appreciate beauty, vastness, and mystery has benefits that last long after you’ve stopped looking up!
Read the biography of someone you admire. Reading stories of people you admire isn’t just a way to find inspiration—you can actually learn from and emulate their methods of building self-awareness in the course of their lives.
Purpose and Meaning
Pick a time each day to compliment a coworker on a job well done. It’s a great way to show gratitude, which strengthens relationships and boosts resilience.
Whenever you’re about to do some demanding work, take a moment to think about how it will make someone’s life easier or have some other positive effect. Reframing in these moments when work gets tough can give you a deeper sense of meaning and help you stay motivated.
Listen to your intuition. Next time you’re on the fence or struggling with a decision—however small—ask yourself what feels right, and then go with it. You’ll build your intuition muscle and see that trusting your gut can lead to great decisions.
Focus on the rising and falling of your breath for ten seconds. Pausing several times a day to simply breathe allows you to feel less tense and be more present in your life.
Take just five minutes to write a list of your values. Ask yourself, “What matters most to me?” and then jot down your thoughts in a notebook or on a sticky note. Better yet, post your list at your desk so you can revisit it and add to it at the start of each week.
Take advantage of moments of micro-rest. Next time you feel stressed or tired, take a minute to stretch or breathe deeply instead of scrolling through social media or grabbing an unhealthy snack. You’ll reduce your stress and set yourself up to be more energetic and productive when you get back to work.