“So much to do, so little time” is a phrase many of us can relate to. Professional tasks, social commitments and responsibilities at home can be a lot to manage and can leave us feeling tired, overwhelmed and mentally drained. But it doesn’t have to be like this!
There are many moments throughout your day that can be improved when you take the time to focus on yourself and your priorities. Productivity isn’t all about just getting stuff done — it’s getting it done well so that we have time for the things in life that really matter. We’ve created a timeline of typical daily tasks and how you can update your lifestyle to get more done. Read on to learn how to decrease your stress, sleep better and feel more prepared!
6:00 AM Wake Up and Get Going
- Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning. Avoid screen time until after breakfast, and allow yourself to focus on your own intentions for the day rather than the needs of others.
- Start your day with stretches. Focus on shaking that sluggish feeling and get ready to focus on the task ahead.
6:15 AM Set Today’s Goals
- While you eat your breakfast, consider what you want to accomplish for the day and make a mental note or write it down on paper or in your phone. Studies show that those who have concrete goals tend to have higher confidence and a strong feeling of control.1
- Set the tone for the rest of your day. Things can always veer off course and while unexpected challenges are normal, you want to set yourself up for success from the first moment you arise. Try to sustain your momentum throughout the day.
6:30 AM Breakfast
- It's called breakfast for a reason: Your body has been fasting overnight and the morning is the time to refuel. Don't shortchange yourself; start your day off properly. A healthy (and quick) breakfast provides more energy, improves your short-term memory and increases your ability to concentrate for long periods of time.1
- Drink a glass of lemon water to help naturally jumpstart your awareness. Lemons contain potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants that help improve nutrient absorption and stimulate your system, helping you wake up from the inside out.1
7:00 AM Work Out
- Make time for a daily workout. Adding in something new to your daily routine may seem like the opposite of getting more time. However, research shows that people who exercise regularly have more energy and better focus.1
- Not sure where to fit it all in? Start at 10 minutes a day and work your way up if you can. Sneak in a session before work, during your lunch break or sometime more creative.
7:30 AM Commute
- If you drive:
- If you take public transit:
- Learn a new language with apps like Duolingo.
- Attend to all your social media profiles now so you’re not tempted to check and give into distraction at the office.
- Read blogs by experts in your field. Take this time to get in a positive mindset for work and build motivation for the day.
8:00 AM At Work
- Remove any unnecessary distractions. Turn off your mobile phone. Close out of any browser windows or programs that don’t pertain to the task at hand.
- Find a quiet place or wear noise-cancelling headphones. Do what you need to minimise the things that steer you off course.
- A clean workspace helps clear the mind! Keep your desk free of debris and clutter.
- Multitasking is the archrival of productivity. In fact, psychologists found that multitasking can result in lost time, productivity and efficiency.2 Stick to one task at a time, complete it and move onto the next.
12:00 PM Beat the Afternoon Lull
- First, take an actual lunch break! Even if it's taking just the time to listen to one of your favourite songs or consciously breathe, use this moment for yourself. If you'd like to spend more time relaxing and preparing for the second half of your day, try a short guided meditation with Calm.
- Get up from your desk and take a brisk walk. This is a great time to get a quick workout. Elevate your heart rate and generate some endorphins.
- Make personal appointments, swing by the bank or update your schedule with any upcoming plans. Get small errands out of the way and you’ll spend less time trying to fit things in. When your schedule has fewer small tasks, you can avoid elevated stress levels and a lack of efficiency.
7:30 PM Dinner
- Spend less time preparing your dinner with a more hands-off approach. A slow cooker is a great tool to help you skip long cook times and create tasty meals while you’re away. Find easy, healthy recipes here.
- Make extra servings to use for lunch the next day and help minimise the time you might spend preparing in the morning.
- Keep things simple with these fast dinners — each takes 15 minutes or less from start to finish.
- Don’t let dishes stack up. Even if you’re tired, think of it as leaving future work for you to do. A little work now is a lot less later.
9:00 PM Get Ready for Tomorrow, Today
- If you exercise in the morning, set out your trainers and clothes for the next day. That way, you can sleep in a little later and still have time to get up and go!
- Do everything you can tonight to get yourself ready for tomorrow. Pack your workbag or any important papers you might need and set them by the door on your way out. Preparing everything in the evening will help you feel less rushed in the morning and allow you time to accomplish your morning tasks.
10:00 PM Sleep
- Check your phone 30 minutes before bed so you know how best to prepare in the morning. Then put your phone away! Studies show screen time before bed is double trouble. Not only does it make it more challenging to fall asleep, it affects how sleepy and alert you are the next day.3
- Use the moments before bed to read or journal and decompress from the day. Even if it’s just for a few moments, both practices allow you to calm your body and slow your heart rate. This signals your body that the day is winding down, making it easier to drift off.
- Reflect on your day. Were there areas where you could have been more efficient? Was there a task you could have avoided, better spending that time elsewhere? Use this review as a launching point to make tomorrow better.
There will always be a set of tasks we need to accomplish, whether it’s at the workplace or in our personal lives. In order to be more productive, we need to get more efficient with the tasks at hand. These are lifestyle changes, not quick fixes that will solve all your points of stress immediately.
You can get more done by first working on yourself. It may seem counterintuitive, but making time for yourself means making room for the best you. A happy, healthy, positive you will make it easier to be both more effective and more efficient at getting things done.
1Bradberry, T. (28 October 2015). 11 tweaks to your daily routine will make your day more productive. Retrieved 28 April 2016, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251989
2 American Psychological Association. (06 March 2006).Multitasking: switching costs. Retrieved 01 February 2016, from http://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask.aspx
3Beres, D. (30 November 2015). Reading on a screen before bed might be killing you. Retrieved 02 February 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/reading-before-bed_n_6372828.html
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