Asian woman waking up in bed

Working from home for the past couple of years has led us to reassess our priorities and view productivity in a different light. There’s so much more to the proverbial rise-and-grind than meeting deadlines and ticking tasks off our to-do lists. Beyond being able to simply “do more,” we aim to be productive to “do more of what we love.” Waking up early is one habit that helps us get things done. In this article, we about how to wake up early and other productivity tips for a more fulfilling day.

Wake Up Early

According to a study by the University of Colorado at Boulder, waking up just one hour earlier can reduce the risk of depression by 23%. In addition, early risers also tend to be more active, aside from having a more positive mood, states a study by the National Institutes of Health. It’s easier said than done, but it’s so worth it.

Wondering how to wake up early? The NIH cites that creating a routine and sticking to it can help form healthy sleeping habits. This involves not taking any stimulants such as caffeine at least six hours before bedtime. Exposure to natural daylight also helps improve energy levels in the morning. Combining these with regular exercise and a healthy diet can prevent morning sluggishness.

For BeautyHub.PH senior writer Chonx Tibajia, identifying motivation for waking up early — as opposed to waking up early for the sake of — helps. Whether it’s to exercise, make an elaborate breakfast for the family, or get a head start on the workday, having a concrete plan is a good way to avoid that snooze button.

Stop Multi-tasking

One popular productivity hack among high-level executives is narrowing down their to-do list to a workable number — 3 seems to be the average. For art gallery managing partner Marbee Go, who was once a notorious multi-tasker, setting five things to do a day has improved her productivity.

“Before I go to bed, I list down up to five things max to do the next day. I used to do two to three things at the same time. I’d have several meetings in the same place, and receive or make calls during those meetings,” she shared.

“Last year, I got so depressed that I couldn’t do much. I’d list down things I wanted to do but couldn’t do them. So, I forced myself to do just two things per day. The list grew to five eventually, but that’s my limit. I feel more productive this way. It isn’t much, but five multiplied by seven, multiplied by four — okay na ako,” Marbee says.

Do Not Delay Small Tasks

Many of us have to do a million little things a day, such as paying bills, checking emails, replying to texts, booking deliveries, etc. These little things can add up to a huge pile of work that no one wants to do if left unchecked.

Danica Valdes-Lloren, a general manager for accounts for a PR firm, tries to stay disciplined when it comes to doing these “admin” tasks. “I never delay tasks that can be done in five minutes or less, especially if in my line of work, which involves coordinating with numerous people. This way, I avoid forgetting things. It makes me feel productive,” she says.

“I also don’t pressure myself to finish everything on my to-do list — these are often endless and unreasonable. I always set a time to stop working and just resume the following day. Speaking of me-time, I consider weekends sacred. It’s a time to recharge and live life. Not working on weekends helps me start the work week with a good mood and a clear mind,” Danica shares.

Take Breaks

It’s not realistic for a person to sit and work for eight hours straight. We didn’t do it at the office, and we shouldn’t do it at home. Taking short breaks to walk around, talk to people, and have a snack or a coffee, can help make overwhelming workdays easier to digest. Think of it as breaking up the day into bite-size pieces — so you don’t end up with more than you can chew.

Vlogger Prei Valencia, who is always working on content for her brand partners, makes it a point to take a quick afternoon siesta. “It helps a lot especially when I have back-to-back meetings in the morning. Working out also helps keep me energized. I try to have a set time for exercise, so I still have time to finish all my work,” Prei says.

Pre-Plan Your Week

It may sound like a chore to plan your work chores, business development director and financial advisor Em Somera swears by it. “I pre-plan my week every single week. I list up to 50 tasks and categorize — 5 major, 20 medium, 25 small ones, then I time-block on my calendar so I have a visual. It’s important for me to see where my time goes so it’s easier to rebalance if needed. I have to have boundaries for all the roles I play,” Em says.

She also dresses up for WFH as if she’s headed out and sprays on perfume for video calls. “It helps mee feel in the zone, especially when I’m leading the meeting!”

BeautyHub.PH managing editor Sasha Mariposa, who is a mom of two young boys, also likes doing time blocks. “Since becoming a mom, I’ve really had to set a scheduled system for everyone. This keeps everyone and everything organized and moving. It also helps when you’re transitioning new help,” Sasha says.

Punky Dario Villena, a freelance copywriter and editor, also makes a habit of scheduling her work week ahead of time. “I always sit down on Sunday night to plot my day-to-day schedule— and I do all this on good ol’ Microsoft Word. I also like to physically write down notes, as I find that when jotted down, I’m more likely to remember it,” she says.

Rethink the Idea of Being “Always On”

Punky adds that she never turns on notifications for her email and messaging apps. “I see no value in being always on. What matters is focusing on what needs to be done for the day.” She applies this same idea of distancing when it comes to emotions. While there are advantages to taking work personally — being passionate and invested in it — there are benefits to being detached, too.

“I emotionally distance myself from work. In fact, I have never cried on the job in the past 17 years. I understand it can be easier said than done, especially if self-worth is tied to one’s work. Hence, it’s vital to find time every single day to find value in other things, such as personal things and human connections,” Punky adds.

Wake Up Your Senses

It’s no secret that having a doesn’t just make the skin look better, it also improves mood. Start your day with an energizing skincare routine using POND'S Orange Nectar Jelly Cleanser and POND'S Orange Nectar Jelly Moisturizer. This delivers a huge dose of healthy, oil-free hydration to make your skin feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.

If is your grounding ritual, use Sunsilk Naturals Watermelon Freshness Shampoo. It cleanses and nourishes the help deeply. It can also affect your mood: mint has soothing effects while watermelon can help keep your head cool.

Finally, stay fresh and dry with Rexona Advanced Brightening + Anti Stain Dry Serum Deodorant. It protects from sweat, odor, and stains — that’s three less things to stress you out during a busy day at work. It also has vitamins E, F, and C, which moisturize, brighten, and nourish underarm skin.

Mastering how to wake up early, making a weekly schedule, and creating distance can seem like, well, a lot of work, but the benefits are worth it. Just keep in mind that productivity is not an end in itself — it’s a way for you to enjoy life outside of work, chores, and to-do lists. Start with baby steps (maybe wake up an hour earlier tomorrow) and see how it goes!