I’m no stranger to hard work but as more and more responsibilities come into my life I feel like it keeps getting tougher to tick things off of my ever-growing ‘to do’ list. I’ll often get to the end of the day and wonder where the time went, wishing for a couple of extra hours because there’s still more I want to do. It’s like I’m a mouse running on a wheel that never stops spinning and all of this can sometimes leave me feeling pretty deflated.
In an effort to change this, I’ve made 6 small changes to my routine that have been really helping me to feel more accomplished by the end of the day:
1.) Get active first thing in the morning.
I’m talking right when you wake up (which yes, is pretty awful when you’re not used to it.)
I started exercising in the morning about three years ago and even though I’m by no means an exercise buff, if I don’t get active in the morning nowadays my day just feels incomplete. It doesn’t have to be a huge cardio session (it’s definitely not for me) but doing something active in the morning really helps me to feel like I’ve already accomplished something from the get-go.
2.) Create time frames for your day.
Work out what it is you want to get done in the day, then break your day into chunks (i.e. Morning, Afternoon, Evening) and allocate tasks accordingly. So for example you might want to work out, have breakfast, shower and answer emails in the morning and then leave the afternoon for meetings or errands etc. Breaking down the day into sections like this helps me to not feel overwhelmed when I have a lot to do because I know that I’ll get everything done, it’ll just be at a different time of the day.
3.) Do your hardest task/s first, aka whatever you don’t really want to do (but have to).
Usually there’s always at least one particular task per day that I just don’t want to do and you better believe I’ll try and avoid doing it if I can. To kick that habit in the butt, pull a Nike and Just Do It. Pick your hardest task and tackle it first, that way you won’t waste time procrastinating or worrying about it. If it turns out to be a little harder to do than anticipated, you’ll still have plenty of time left in the day to figure out a solution and get it done- minus the stress freakout.
4.) Take full advantage of your time.
I know people who read while they walk and they actually get through a couple of books per week that way. While that’s not really for me, I’m all for the idea of utilising the heck out of your time. If you’re taking a break by all means enjoy that break guilt free, but if you’re taking public transport somewhere you can make the most of what’s probably a dull journey by doing things like answering emails, making lists/notes or returning phone calls etc.
5.) Get up early– or stay up late.
I know everyone talks about how great it is to rise early but if you’re just straight up not a morning person and you’re in a position where you can stay up later and wake up later, then I say go for it. Either way you’re getting in a couple of extra hours, whether you use that time for work or leisure. So if you’re a morning person, great. If you’re a night owl, that’s also great. We can co-exist and both get more done.
This may seem like an odd one but I’m all about focusing on gratitude this year and I have a little pre-sleep ritual that really makes me feel like I’ve fully appreciated and made the most of my day. Right when I get into bed I take a couple of minutes to reflect on everything I’ve accomplished throughout the day (even if it’s small) and I think about everything I’m grateful for. It may sound corny but doing this regularly keeps me grounded and it helps give me a daily dose of perspective about anything I think is ‘wrong’ in my life.