12 Tips For Getting More Out Of Your Day
Time is the one thing we’ll never run out of, yet we never seem to have enough of it anyway. Why is this? The answer is that most people do not manage their time wisely, but of course that’s easier said than done. So here are some tips for making the most of the ever-fleeting hours of your day.
1. Get Up Earlier
I mentioned this in another of my articles, but the reason for it here is simple: you get more done the earlier you start at your day. From personal experience, I’ve also noted that my brain functions much better in the morning than at any other time of day. To implement this practice for yourself, try getting up just fifteen to thirty minutes earlier at a time until you get to the best time to wake up.
2. Go To Bed Earlier
This sounds like a direct contradiction to getting up earlier, but just like most people tend to be better organized and more productive in the morning, most people’s efficiency tends to decrease the more time that passes in the day. So when the evening comes around, it’s probably better to not try to force things on your schedule to happen when you could be getting much needed sleep instead. In any case, you’ll need a little extra rest if you’re getting up earlier in the day.
3. Don’t Use Anything Electronic For The First Half Of The Day
I don’t know what it is about electronics, but my brain works better without them. I’m more creative and productive when I leave the ideas to a piece of paper rather than my computer. Maybe it’s the simplicity of using something that doesn’t require a stream of power that allows our brains to relax enough to do what we ask of them. Or maybe it’s just because things like the internet and games are so addicting. Either way, by not using anything electronic until after lunch (or as long as possible, not counting using an electronic device for work), you will increase your efficiency remarkably throughout the day.
4. Eat Breakfast
People either seem to love breakfast or hate it. For every person insisting they can’t get through a morning without it, there’s someone else who says they just aren’t hungry in the morning. I’m usually not either, but I make myself eat something, and the results of it show. If I ever don’t eat breakfast, I feel okay for an hour or two. Then I wonder why I’m so easily frustrated and unable to get things done. Breakfast provides you with energy you need to get through the day, as well as jump-starts your metabolism. Lunch and dinner are great, but can’t do as good of a job.
5. Eat Healthy/Drink A Lot Of Water
In much the same way that eating breakfast helps you to get your energy ready for the day, eating healthy throughout the day, as well as providing yourself with plenty of water to drink, are going to take the energy you got from breakfast and help keep it up the entire day. Healthy foods have a positive impact on not only your body, but your mind as well. And going a day without water is like asking a car to run without gasoline.
6. Start Your Day Off With Some Personal Time
This idea is what I wrote about in another article of mine, “What Getting Up Early Can Do For You.” When you begin your day writing in a journal or reading a chapter of a book you enjoy, you feel like that is the reason you woke up. Not for work, not to take care of others, not to deal with the to-do list, but for you. It sets your day off on an amazing note, and makes you feel better about anything unpleasant you might have to deal with.
7. Get Some Kind Of Exercise
I can hear it now: “I don’t have the time to exercise!” But you do. I’m not saying you need to go to the gym for an hour a day, or at all. If you have the time, great. But most people don’t. However, there are easy ways to counter this, by going for three ten-minute walks spread out throughout the day, taking the stairs, and standing up to stretch for a few minutes every hour. A complete lack of exercise, which is what many people get today, would boggle the minds of our ancestors. It simply isn’t natural, and your body’s only response to it is the atrophy of otherwise healthy muscle tissue and the accumulation of body fat, not to mention the host of chronic diseases that could accompany it if given enough time. Exercise, like healthy food and plenty of water, will sustain you throughout the day and provide as many mental benefits as physical.
8. Start Your Day By Learning Something New/Challenging Yourself
I like to feel like a smarty-pants and learn a new word everyday. I go to dictionary.com and look at their “Word of the Day” feature, and repeat the word and its meaning a few times to myself until I know it. Then, like a really annoying person, I go throughout my day trying to use the word at least three times. But it makes me feel intelligent, even if just a little bit. I also like reading about art history. Some people might like logic puzzles. Whatever you might enjoy, you’ll get more out of your day if you feel good about yourself. Learning something new definitely increases confidence, allowing you to be more productive.
9. Don’t Multi-Task
We all know multi-tasking doesn’t work. But what we may not realize is how much we still do it. When I’m working, I keep my phone on the desk next to me, and every now and then it will interrupt me with a calendar appointment or text. And those things may only distract me for a minute, but once the damage is done to my concentration, there’s no going back. Look to the little, seemingly insignificant things in your day to day life that might be causing you some wasted time, and put them elsewhere in your day.
10. Take Breaks
Rome wasn’t built in a day. If they tried, they would’ve gotten too frustrated and given up, and there goes a chunk of history. So why do we pressure ourselves to work to the breaking point? If we have something that will take us three hours to do, yet with each hour our efficiency decreases by 20%, by the third hour we’re only working at a little over half our productivity potential, if that. If instead we worked for a set period of time, took a ten minute break (maybe for one of those quick walks mentioned above), came back and sat down again to work, we’d feel more refreshed than if we hadn’t moved at all. You get more done, and you feel better about what you’ve done as well.
11. Do More Important Things First/Save Fun For Later
If our motivation and willpower tend to decrease as the day wears on, it makes all the more sense to get done with the less appealing things first. Do the work, run the errands, and then watch the funny youtube video. Now, this may contrast to the idea of starting your day off with something personal, but it really doesn’t. I don’t believe in jumping out of bed and getting right to work, but I also don’t believe in getting up, having your personal time, and then spending an hour online searching for jokes of the day. Save that for the end of the day as something to look forward to, and getting tasks done will be much easier.
12. Stay On A Routine
It’s very important to stay on a regular sleeping and eating schedule, but try to do this as much as possible for things on the to-do list. For instance, if you always clean up the house a little every morning before work, keep doing that every day. If you let yourself skip a day, then you might not want to do it tomorrow either. Or you probably won’t be motivated enough to clean up the house after work. Also, by staying on a schedule it helps to keep doing things that you don’t particularly like. If you dread paying the bills every month but keep an hour set aside once a month to deal with them, the process will seem a little more manageable.
All of these tips are designed to help you get the most time out of your day, but also to make your day the most productive it can be. So if you’re tired of wondering where the time goes and sick of not doing what you really want, take at least one of these tips to heart.