“There aren’t enough hours in a day.” Have you ever thought this to yourself? You are not alone! The list of responsibilities seem endless… being with loved ones, being a good employee, household tasks, continuing your professional education, obligations to your church community, dinners with friends, taking up hobbies, etc., it can feel like 24 hours are, in fact, too little for each day.
But, that’s all we have!
So, how do get the most out of each day? The key is to become extremely disciplined and manage our time well—something we’re all constantly trying to do. Here are some tips to get the most out of your days:
Start Your Day Off Right
It’s Monday morning. You wake up completely groggy and pick up your phone to see what time it is. You’ve missed your alarm and now you are fully awake and flying to the closet to throw together whatever works. You are already going to be 15 minutes late to work. You skip breakfast, rush out the door and get stuck behind a school bus pulling out of the neighborhood. As you sit in your car waiting on kids to get on the bus at the next stop you are probably thinking to yourself, “It’s going to be a long day!”
Everyday, we decide how the day will play out by the tone we set at the very beginning. Have you noticed how when your day starts off with chaos and stress it perpetuates? How about the mornings you wake up early, have time to work out, spend time in quiet reflection, eat a healthy breakfast, and still arrive at the office early? Just reading that may have even lowered your blood pressure slightly.
In a perfect world, you would do that every morning. But, the reality is that will not usually be the case. So find one thing that boosts your mood in the morning and try to incorporate that into your daily routine. Maybe it’s listening to music, opening all the windows in your car and singing along at the top of your lungs, reading for 10 minutes every morning or doing a bit of journaling; whatever it is, stick to it as that will boost your mood and clear your mind, setting you up for a productive day.
Give Yourself A Break
Let’s be honest… you stare at your computer screen and your mind wanders off to what you need to pick up at the grocery store on your way home after work, or you are sitting in the conference room listening to accounting talk about the budget for next year and you start scrolling through Facebook and completely forget where you are. Most of us cannot stay focused for eight hours straight. You may never take your eyes off the computer, but that doesn’t mean you’re being productive. A good way to boost your motivation throughout the day is to take small breaks. Whether you go on a quick walk to the water cooler, take the stairs instead of the elevator to visit the marketing department, eat your lunch outside under a tree, or do some stretching standing right at your desk, just moving your body can boost your brain function. Some experts suggest standing and moving for 5-20 minutes every hour to have more energy throughout the day.
Every day you have deadlines and tasks to be completed. Before starting your day, make a schedule. It may be overwhelming to think about, but having a step-by-step action plan will help you accomplish your goals. Write down your top priorities for the day—whatever they may be (i.e. finish the proposal for your new client, take the dog to the groomers, create a flyer for the event you are putting on next month, start writing the blog article for next week, etc.) and designate blocks of time to each priority for that day. Maybe it will be easiest to finish the proposal first thing in the morning because everyone tends to focus in the morning and there will be less interruptions, create the flyer after your morning break when you are feeling creative and energized, take the dog to the groomers on the way to softball practice after work, and start your blog article while the kids are getting showers and everyone is settling down for the night. Set aside the time and minimize distractions (i.e., social media notifications, alarms, news alerts, etc.) to get these things done. Take these thoughts and ideas from your mind and write them down with pen to paper. You’re more likely to commit to them when can visualize them physically. It’s not real until you can see it—and you can’t see it until you write it all down.
No Place for Disorder
Chaos and disorganization cause anxiety and distraction. Studies have shown that we work better when our environment is organized and tidy. Now, this can mean different things for different people as everyone has their own way of organizing. But whatever yours is, be sure to regularly clean up your workspace, file completed projects, and get rid of things that you no longer need. A clean space creates a clear mind. Consider developing a routine of clearing and organizing your desk everyday to ensure that the next morning will be as stress-free as possible.