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This bundle of activities revolves around practices you can apply early in the morning, several times a week.  You should apply these practices frequently but perhaps not every morning.  If you apply this routine

  • your capacity to maintain concentration and effort across the day will improve
  • you will feel more uplifted and engaged at work
  • your knowledge will extend rapidly

Exercise

1.1 Develop a collection of insightful or interesting books, papers, or articles you could read.

  • To identify significant works, you could visit websites that outline the latest developments in your field, in research, and in society—such as www.sciencedaily.com or www.reddit.com

Did you know: When people choose to read some material as rapidly as they can, their mood often improves—a technique called thought acceleration.  This task may increase levels of dopamine, the reward chemical in your brain, in a specific circuit of the brain called the mesolimbic pathway

Exercise

1.2. Develop a list of challenging physical activities you might be able to complete early in the morning—especially activities that could benefit you.  Record these activities in the Working Document, in the section labelled physical activities. For example  

  • while driving to work, you could grip the steering wheel tightly to improve your strength
  • you could stretch in the shower, perhaps while scrubbing the walls, to improve your agility
  • you could engage in aerobic exercise

The most helpful physical activities tend to

  • improve one or more of your skills, such as your technique in a sport
  • involve social interactions
  • instil a sense of freedom, such as riding in the countryside

Did you know:  Physical activities that improve a skill, involve a social interaction, or instil a sense of freedom are more likely to enhance wellbeing than other physical activities.  Indeed, some physical exercises can actually feel like a sense of obligation and even damage wellbeing.

Exercise

1.3 Develop a list of actions or tasks you tend to avoid. Record these activities in the Working Document, in the section labelled shunned activities.  For instance

  • you might avoid specific errands, such as your tax return or your housework
  • you might avoid a person you should contact

Exercise

1.4 During the evening, record three unpleasant or unnatural activities you will complete the next morning.  For instance, you should specify

  • one of the books, papers, or articles you collected that you could skim very rapidly
  • one of the physical activities you could undertake
  • one of the shunned tasks you could initiate or complete

Exercise

1.5. During the morning, dedicate about 10 minutes to each of these three tasks.  

Did you know: After people complete three challenging, unnatural tasks each morning over several weeks, they can maintain effort and motivation over a longer period.  They do not feel drained as readily. Furthermore, they experience a sense of routine—a feeling that diminishes apprehension and anxiety during tumultuous and unpredictable times.