15 Simple Ways to Get More Out of Every Day
Have you ever felt like every day is the same?
Slam the snooze button too many times. Skip breakfast. Work all day. Get home late. Eat anything that's within reach, while watching too much television. Stay up too late. Sleep too little.
We've all been there … doing the same thing over and over, wondering why nothing changes. It's only a matter of time until our diet does us in, and slowly we add a few pounds. Our lack of sleep and exercise further compromises our health, causing energy levels to plummet. It's as if we're working against our own best intentions, making it more difficult to make progress — in the gym, in our work and in our lives.
The odd part is that these limitations — the ones that feel imposed on us — are actually within our control. Our decisions are holding us back.
The only way to right the ship is to upgrade your daily routine. Start with these 15 tips to improve your habits, and get the most out of every day:
- Wake up early. Getting out of bed before everyone else is the best way to start the day. You can devote time to things that matter to you. It could be reading, writing, meditating, exercising or simply getting a jumpstart on the day's to-do list.
- Eat breakfast. Fuel your mind, body and productivity with a simple and nutritious breakfast. Make it easy on yourself. Toss some fruit, greens, nut butter and some protein in a blender. Done!
- Be first. Get to work before everyone else. Give yourself time to map out your day without distractions.
- Avoid your inbox. Do not get sucked into the email trap first thing in the morning. Answering emails is a black hole. It makes us feel productive, while it actually can be completely unhelpful.
- Confront the challenge. Take on your biggest, most important task at the start of the day. If it requires creativity and focus, work on it first.
- Single tasks. While you're working on your most important task, give it your undivided attention. Our brains aren't meant to work on more than one thing at a time.
- Set a timer. Even if you work on one thing at a time, your will power will run out. That's why you should set a timer. Work intently for 90 minutes, and then break for 20 minutes.
- Stand up. Your desk is killing you. Seriously! Studies have shown that sitting all day can shorten your lifespan. Program movement, or standing, into your day. Take phone calls standing. Stretch or take a lap around the office every 30 minutes.
- Take a break. Don't eat lunch at your desk. Break away, if only for a moment. Bring a healthy lunch and snacks too: fruit and nuts, or veggies and hummus. Stick to real and fresh foods.
- Break a sweat. You're already eating well, now it's time to move more — as in exercise. Keep it simple. Start with 15 minutes of exercise, three days each week. Use bodyweight exercises to get and stay fit.
- Go home! This one is pretty self-explanatory. You live at your home, not your office. If it's the other way around, your priorities need some serious reevaluation.
- Cook dinner. Have a home-cooked meal. It doesn't have to be a feast with hours of preparation. Batch cook food early in the week. Make vegetables a staple. Pre-plan a menu. Make it work for you.
- Turn off the television. Better yet, smash it with a baseball bat. There's no need for it. It's a time sucker. Spend your time reading, exercising or meditating — anything but watching another TV show.
- Think back, plan ahead. At the end of the day, take a minute to think about what you accomplished. Give yourself a pat on the back. You did a lot! Now, think ahead to tomorrow. Plan your day. Make a to-do list (the most important task first — remember!).
- Go to bed. Create a grown-up bedtime routine. No technology within one hour of bed. Sip on some decaffeinated tea. Read a book. Write in a journal. Drift off to sleep. Aim for six to eight hours of solid rest.