What everyday habits drain our energy? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Nela Canovic, Writer, Entrepreneur, on Quora:

1) Starting the day in a panic. Waking up feeling groggy, hitting the snooze button five times, then letting thoughts rush to your head of the hundreds of things you need to do, feeling overwhelmed by everything before you start your day. Sound familiar? That's what happens when you are merely reacting to the day, instead of being proactive about it.

Change the habit: Develop a morning routine to give your day more structure, be more productive earlier in the day, get energized and motivated for what you need to do.

2) Skipping breakfast. Unless you are fasting, it can be a big mistake to skip breakfast. Think of it as fuel for starting the day that can help you to feel alert, energized, and motivated.

Change the habit: Choose something that is balanced, light, yet filling, such as a combination of protein, healthy fats, fresh fruit. Some breakfasts ideas are:

  • Overnight oats: mix a few spoonfuls of oats, one teaspoon each of chia and flax seeds, some walnuts, almonds, raisins; add a bit of almond milk or water to blend; leave in fridge overnight and top off in the morning with fresh fruit.
  • Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt with granola, walnuts/almonds/cashews, and fresh fruit (papaya, banana, berries, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears, mango).
  • Oatmeal with chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, dates, shredded coconut, raisins or cranberries; blend with a spoon of peanut butter and add fresh fruit on top.

3) Leading a sedentary lifestyle. Think about how many hours you spend each day sitting or just not moving your body at all. Add to that your commute time, which can be 2 hours or more, and then your evenings spent in front of your computer or TV. It's a lot! To boost your metabolism, strengthen your immune system, and stay healthy, it's a great idea to incorporate more movement into your daily life.

Change the habit: Choose some physical activity that you can do consistently. It doesn't have to be a 2-hour workout at the gym. Even a shorter workout earlier in the day can get you energized:

    • a morning yoga routine
    • a set of Hindu pushups or sun salutation poses
    • a quick power walk through the neighborhood
    • a 20-30 minute run

4) Letting your radio take over your morning commute. Of course, it is important to hear the news of the day and be informed, and some radio shows can be highly entertaining. However, everything else in between (especially commercials) can be a huge waste of your time and energy.

Change the habit: Feed your brain with targeted listening; select podcasts to get informed, learn new things, acquire a new skill, develop your critical thinking muscle, feed your imagination, or find new ways to improve your daily life. Bonus: you will likely feel less stressed and more energized by the time you get to your destination.

5) Checking email throughout the day. This habit doesn't only take a lot of time overall, it also distracts you to the point of even lowering your IQ by up to 10 points, according to the Harvard Business Review. Instead of reading everything that comes into your mailbox, leave checking your inbox for later.

Change the habit: Instead of going through emails in the first few hours of your day, take a look at your calendar and daily schedule so that you can strategize how and when to do your deep work. Getting work done early allows your brain to rest, and you can do more complex problem-solving tasks. Which also means you'll probably finish work sooner.

6) Saying 'yes' too often. Why? Because saying 'yes' to everything can cost you time, drain your energy doing things that are not necessarily good for you, and distract you from doing what is good or important to your personal development.

Change the habit: Start being more selective about what you say yes to, and conversely practice saying 'no' more often. Say 'no' to other people's ideas of what you should be doing. Say 'no' to advice on how to do it, 'no' to criticism for doing it, 'no' to gossip, and 'no' to phone calls or text messages that don't serve any purpose. Remember every time you say 'no' to them; you say 'yes' to yourself.

7) Finding excuses not to sleep. If you're trying to make up for time lost during the day to work late at night, this habit can be destructive to your brain. Chronic sleep deprivation can reduce your cognitive abilities, negatively impact your concentration, and cause you to make more mistakes while working and driving.

Change the habit: Aim for a solid 7-8 hours of sleep. Train your brain to wind down at the same time each evening to signal to your body that it's time to sleep, by setting a bedtime alarm on your phone about 30 minutes before going to bed, and by following a simple nighttime routine to help you unwind.

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Published on: Jan 11, 2017