You have an ever-growing to-do list. Your schedule keeps filling up. And you’re starting to wonder when you’ll get it all done.
I hear you. When life gets this crazy, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And when this happens, it’s tempting to call it quits.
But luckily, you don’t have to throw in the towel quite yet. Why? Because today I’m sharing with you 5 strategies on how to make the most of your day.
Get Up Extra Early
I love the early morning. It’s that quiet time of day before the “crazy” sets in. While the rest of the world sleeps, I have a chance to get stuff done – distraction-free. And by the time the “real” workday starts, I’ve already made significant progress on my day’s tasks.
As a person who loves checking things off her list, getting that head start so early in the morning feels incredible; it’s a real motivation boost.
While it probably goes without saying, if you’re making the shift to wake up earlier, you also need to go to bed earlier. It’s important to ensure restful sleep the night before.
If you maintain your previous bedtime hours, you’ll find yourself groggy and dragging in the morning; this only defeats the purpose of getting up early to be productive. So take some time to establish a bedtime routine, and check out these 5 strategies to ensure a restful night of sleep.
In addition to getting enough sleep, it’s also important that you’re getting quality sleep. You see, there are 5 stages in your nightly sleep cycle, and each stage gets progressively deeper. If your alarm wakes you up in the middle of a sleep cycle, it leaves you feeling out of it and much more likely to hit the snooze button.
What should you do? I like to use an app like Sleep Cycle. It tunes into your cycle and wakes you up during the lightest stage of sleep. As you might guess, this makes it much easier to get out of bed in the morning. And really, who doesn’t want that?
Exercise In The Morning
I am a huge fan of morning exercise. Not only does it get the blood pumping and the endorphins flowing, but it also improves both your physical and mental energy. Believe it or not, there were studies done comparing morning exercise to a cup of coffee, and it turns out that cognitive ability was nearly twice as strong after exercise than drinking a cup of coffee. Crazy, huh?
So set your alarm a bit earlier and squeeze in that morning workout. Not only will you feel more energized, but you’ll prime your brain for a productive day as well!
Visualize Your Day
Visualization is a powerful tool, and it plays a big role in boosting productivity throughout the day.
By visualizing your day, you’re clearly defining your objectives while kickstarting your motivation to get there. Additionally, visualization lays out a clear “plan of attack,” which helps you get things done more efficiently and with significantly less stress. Less time and less stress? Sign me up, please!
So take a few minutes – you can even do it right now – and visualize exactly what you want to happen today. Then, consider how you’ll feel once you’ve accomplished those tasks. I think you’ll be amazed at the results.
Avoid Emails/Social Media
Social media and emails are truly a blessing and a curse. Yes, they help us stay connected while increasing communication efficiency. But at the same time, they are – quite possibly – one of the biggest time-sucks of the day.
We’ve all been there; we tell ourselves we’re only going to check “one quick email” or read “just one tweet.” But then we end up scrolling retail sites, replying to 5 non-urgent emails, and pinning countless pints on our latest DIY board.
Well, guess what. Those emails in your inbox and your DIY pinboard will wait for you. I promise. So focus on the big projects on your to-do list first. Then at the end of the day, when you’re running out of steam, respond to those emails or take a scroll through Facebook.
This leads me to my next suggestion…
(Looking for other ways to avoid distractions? How about 6 of them?)
Do the Hardest Task First
To ensure maximum productivity, tackle the hardest tasks on your list first thing in the morning. Because these projects are often the ones we dread, they usually get pushed to the back burner as we repeatedly tell ourselves, “I’ll do that tomorrow…”
Of course, this isn’t an effective strategy. Ignoring the hard stuff won’t make it go away. What’s more, it won’t make the task any easier the next day.
So rather than completing the easy stuff first, save the tasks you enjoy for the end of the day. Finish your expense reports before doing social media outreach. Write your blog post before answering email. By tackling the hard stuff first, you’ll not only get more done, but you’ll also end the day feeling unstoppable.
How do you maintain productivity? What are your strategies to make the most of your day? Let me know below!