Danielle RichardsonNot a Morning Person? Here’s How to Boost Your Early Energy Give one of the hacks below a try to increase both your energy and focus in the A.M. Published 3 weeks agoon December 26, 2018By Danielle Richardson Invision January 2019 Issue Share Tweet I LOVE COFFEE, SO SKIP this article if you’re expecting advice on giving up your beloved morning Starbucks. You can keep your coffee, but it’s time to discuss a common morning struggle — our lack of energy! Many of us enjoy the taste of coffee or tea, but we’re really using caffeine to solve the underlying issue of not having enough energy for the day. Low energy can be caused by a lack of rest, systemic disease or chronic stress. To make matters worse, we often compound this with poor choices throughout the day that further deplete our reserves. If you suffer from a lack of energy, simple changes to your daily habits could have profound positive effects. Give one of the hacks below a try to increase both your energy and focus.Lighten Up at Breakfast. Working in downtown Houston, I observed many busy professionals grabbing breakfasts that consist of pastries, bread, cheeses and other heavy foods. It’s difficult to have enough energy for the day when the first meal is not nutrient dense and difficult for the body to digest. An easy change is swapping heavy options for something lighter like eggs, a smoothie or fruit. Making healthier dietary choices is a quick and effective way to increase both energy and clarity.Do Not Disturb. I’m a big proponent of unplugging, but I’m also a realist and understand the necessity of staying connected. Make it a morning habit to only briefly check your phone for any pressing matters, then turn off your notifications or place your device on its “Do Not Disturb” setting. Distractions in the form of emails, texts and social media updates decrease your productivity while draining your mental energy. A study at George Mason University by cognitive scientist Dr. Cyrus K. Foroughi and colleagues found even small distractions cause a significant decrease in overall production and quality of work. Changing your phone settings allows you to create boundaries around your time and prioritize important tasks for the day.Move Your Body. Don’t overcomplicate it. Be active and add simple movement to your day like push-ups, dancing, a few yoga poses, or a short walk during your lunch. Movement, or exercise, gets you out of your brain and into your body while shifting stagnant physical energy. It circulates oxygen, improves your mood, and allows you to feel more present and focused. Not just reserved for the morning, short bursts of movement throughout the day can recharge your batteries and get you over the 2 p.m. slump without a second coffee.Minimize Decisions With Routine. Last but not least, create a routine to decrease the number of decisions you make each morning. Wake up at the same time and find practices that help you clear your mind and start the day on a positive note. This does not have to be an elaborate 60-minute event. Your routine can be as short and simple as you’d like, but the key is to be consistent. Successful people take control of their mornings with routines to cultivate positive energy and allow a break from the decision-making process, which often depletes energy. Keep your energy high and bring your A game by setting notification boundaries to maintain your focus. Advertisement Related Topics:Featured Don't MissDaily Habits that Kill Productivity Danielle Richardson Dr. Danielle Richardson practices in Houston with Texas State Optical and runs a holistic wellness company, Fierce Clarity. She is a registered yoga teacher and hosts wellness retreats, yoga classes, and pop-up events for busy, professional women to help manage stress and avoid burnout. Follow her on Instagram at @fierceclarity Advertisement SPONSORED VIDEO SPONSORED BY WALMAN OPTICALProfitability with Managed Care: It’s RealIn the first of this three-part series, Dr. Eric White, Complete Family Vision Care, talks about managed care, and how to put your practice on the path to profitability. Promoted Headlines Profitability with Managed Care: It’s RealWalman Optical Overheard at The E+A Lounge at VEWEssilor Nominate a Difference MakerEssilor You may like Daily Habits that Kill Productivity Dispelling the Myths of Work-Life Balance Taking a Holistic Approach Can Lead to Better Outcomes for Your Patients. Here’s How … Want more INVISION? Subscribe to our newsletter. CommentDanielle RichardsonDaily Habits that Kill Productivity These four things will obliterate your focus. Published 1 month agoon December 18, 2018By Danielle Richardson DISTRACTIONS. DISTRACTIONS. DISTRACTIONS. In a perfect world, there would be none. We’d wake up, have our coffee, and head to work for a productive day crossing everything off our to-do lists. I’d love to visit this dream optometry land but realistically, on any given workday, there seems to be 100 things vying for our attention. It’s super easy to get off course and lose focus.We can’t control everything that pops up to disrupt our flow, but we can control our actions. Many of us have pesky habits that kill productivity and make it hard to focus. Identifying and making modifications in our habits can help the day run more smoothly. Do you suffer from these productivity killers?Social Media Breaks. Raise your hand if you’re guilty of checking social media during the workday. We all are! Punctuating the day with social media is the easiest way to kill productivity. You don’t need to post a status ranting about your complicated contact lens fit. It’s estimated the average person will spend about five years, or 116 minutes per day, on social media in their lifetime. Reclaim those minutes spent mindlessly scrolling and focus on the task at hand.Multitasking. By far this is the worst habit we all have. Being a clinician requires us to do multiple things at once, but multitasking can have the opposite effect of the one we seek. The more we try to juggle, the more we stretch ourselves thin; in fact, studies have shown multitasking can reduce productivity as much as 40 percent. As a yoga teacher, I often invoke the principle of “be here now.” Be present to what you are doing at the moment.Not Sleeping Enough. It’s counterintuitive, but you cannot be your best self without those 8 hours of rest. Arianna Huffington is trying to create a sleep revolution for good reason. We live in a society that praises entrepreneurs who run on three hours of sleep, but have we asked ourselves why? Sleep deprived people are more at risk for high blood pressure, obesity, and other adverse health conditions. Instead of picking up an extra cup of coffee to improve your focus, try heading to bed earlier.Stressing About Things You Can’t Control. Stress is an emotional drain that depletes us of the energy necessary for focus and productivity. You don’t have to be a Zen monk to understand the philosophy of letting go of what is outside of your control. Anxiety and worry are the background chatter running through most of our heads and, when left unchecked, they can affect our behavior, making it hard to focus on the present. Nix this negative habit by picking up a mindfulness practice to help de-stress and refocus on your internal locus of control. Continue ReadingDanielle RichardsonDispelling the Myths of Work-Life Balance Realizing these can help you get unstuck from patterns that ineffectively use your time and energy. Published 5 months agoon August 22, 2018By Danielle Richardson AS THE WORLD MOVES FASTER, more is demanded of us. There are more patients to examine, more emails needing a response, and more social engagements. Technology has extended the workday beyond its 9-5 confines and our jobs often bleed into family and personal commitments. Many burn the candle at both ends and feel exhausted and inadequate in one or more areas of life.Enter “work-life balance” to solve our dilemma of being a well-rounded, high-performing human being. The phrase conjures idyllic images of a perfect professional who effortlessly “has it all.” This and other myths surrounding work-life balance cause people to dismiss the idea and remain stuck in patterns that ineffectively use their time and energy. When life is out of balance you may notice you sleep less, eat worse, and are more susceptible to illness and burnout. Work-life balance is not a magic formula, but rather a consciousness of the relationship between all aspects of your life. Let’s dispel some of the popular myths.Myth 1: Perfect Balance Exists. A big myth lies in thinking “work” and “life” should balance on a scale with the weight equally distributed between both sides. This falsehood creates stress because we are striving for an idea of perfection that doesn’t exist. Work and home demands are constantly changing so your definition of work-life balance cannot be static. It has to account for the natural oscillations in priorities and allow for evolution.Myth 2: Balance Is A Working Mom Problem. Work-life balance conversations have a tendency to center around women juggling home and career responsibilites. However, this issue affects us all regardless of age, marital status or gender. Research led by Kristen Shockley of the University of Georgia showed little evidence of differences between the work-life conflicts of men and women. We all struggle with imbalance, so it’s important to seek ways to manage our energy and show up fully at work and home. Myth 3: Later. I’m Too Busy Now. Work smarter, not harder. It’s tempting to fall into society’s definition of an “ideal worker” who prioritizes work above all. Hard work is necessary for advancement; being a workaholic is not. Create a personal definition of success beyond your career. I teach wellness workshops and retreats to professionals and you’d be surprised how few are in touch with their desires. Asking “What do I want?” is a powerful way to illuminate what’s important to you in order to design your life and appropriately invest your time. Traveling, family time, or learning a language can run in tandem with, not in opposition to, your career.Balancing our lives in and out of work will remain difficult unless we decide to create more synergy. Continue ReadingDanielle RichardsonTaking a Holistic Approach Can Lead to Better Outcomes for Your Patients. Here’s How … This approach empowers patients to take an active role in their healthcare. Published 6 months agoon July 27, 2018By Danielle Richardson THERE IS MORE than meets the eye when it comes to our health and that of our patients. We widely accept that humans consist of a mind, body, and soul, yet oftentimes as doctors we focus only on what we see physically. It’s time to step back and take a holistic approach to patient care, in which we treat patients beyond their physiological needs to improve their overall health and well-being.Doctors and scientists are beginning to more fully understand the roles genetics and lifestyle play in our health, the interconnected nature of all of our systems, and that mind and spirit do affect the body. Despite these findings, most American patients aren’t receiving holistic care. A holistic approach to medicine involves treating the whole person and considering a patient’s unique needs — mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, culturally, or economically — to provide maximum value.A holistic approach empowers patients to take an active role in their healthcare. It increases the depth of a provider’s care and can increase self-awareness and self-confidence in patients. When treating your patients, consider how other components may be affecting their eyes and overall health.LifestyleWhen patients present with new complaints, sometimes a change in lifestyle is the underlying cause. For example, a patient enters your office complaining of new headaches in their 3-month-old glasses with no significant medical history and a stable refraction. Asking the patient about a change in their visual demands such as a new work assignment or new digital devices may reveal the true culprit. Additionally, patients with newly diagnosed chronic health conditions may be experiencing significant lifestyle changes that could adversely affect their ocular health or visual perception. But beyond the eyes, we should talk to our patients about what modifications they’ve made to support their health. Many patients are proud to report the positive eating habits or healthy modifications they have made. Acknowledging their efforts provides reinforcement to continue with their treatment plan.StressI often talk with my patients about stress. Are they working on a big presentation? Have they taken on more responsibility at home? Stress can manifest in a myriad of ways and when we consider the stress load of our patients, we see them as full human beings. Patients want to relate to their doctors, and sharing coping mechanisms can offer insight and connection. I suggest patients take a break throughout the day, recommit to being active 3-4 times per week, or re-engage in a hobby they’ve let go. This is not only important for patients, but for us as clinicians to keep burnout at bay.EmotionsWhen making diagnoses or recommendations, we have to consider the patient’s emotional state. Simply talking with patients about their support system and their fears, and reassuring them, can go a long way. 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