One of the things that drives me is to continually challenge myself to become more productive each day. I don’t believe anyone wakes up and sets an intention to have a lousy, ineffective day.
We all want to do the best we can and be more effective in what we’re doing so that we get a sense of accomplishment and progress. The challenge we face is that not all our days are consistent.
Sometimes our day “gets away” from us and we have a difficult time getting back on track. The good news is we can do some simple things each day that will ensure we start our day well, stay on track throughout the day, and finally end our day on a strong note.
The downside is if we aren’t intentional about how we want our day to pan out, it is highly likely that we will be reacting to things that happen during our day.
Here are 10 simple things we can do each day so that we can consistently have highly productive days, and also accomplish what we want a lot faster. While these solutions may seem like common sense, what we must ask ourselves is whether we are consistently applying them to our everyday lives.
- Get hydrated as soon as you wake up. As our body dehydrates when we are asleep, it is essential that we replenish our body with water when we get up. As our body is more than 70% water, in order for us to be at our best, we must be more alkaline. Having water with some lemon will help reduce our body’s acidity levels and also keep us more alert during the day.
- Give yourself some quiet time before you get into your day. A common thing busy people do is to get into their day as soon as they get up. It may involve checking emails or turning on the radio or television. A practice that is more beneficial is to have a set of rituals to start the day. It may include doing some deep breathing, meditating for a few minutes, visualising our perfect day and future, and reading something uplifting.
- Engage your body. Best practice is to do some form of physical exercise in the morning. However, that may not be practical at times as we are often short on time. A simpler alternative is to do some simple stretches just to waken our body. Doing some basic yoga, push-ups or even some jumping jacks will help get the blood flowing better through our body. Keep in mind doing some simple stretches in the morning is not a substitute for doing proper exercise. We must exercise regularly in order to maintain a healthy body.
- Review your goals and projects. Goals or projects give us direction and outcomes to aim for. They give us purpose for the things we do. Each day, all it takes is a few minutes to reconnect with the things we are working towards. We may have a few big projects we are working on so by reviewing them daily, we can choose which one to focus on during the day.
- Prioritise your tasks or actions. After reviewing our goals or projects, the next thing we want to do is identify the things we can do today to move us closer to accomplishing them. While it can be very tempting to overestimate what we can get done in a single day, generally speaking, doing between five to ten things per day is a good gauge on how effective we are. These tasks or actions must be what will give us the biggest benefit today.
- Nourish your body and maintain your energy levels. This comes down to having regular breaks during the day, preferably two small breaks every hour then a longer break every three hours. Having small regular meals throughout the day is also important as is staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Where possible, taking a short power nap in the afternoon can also help boost our effectiveness, especially in the latter part of the day.
- Maintain a positive attitude throughout the day. Let’s face it — we all have things happen that are unexpected and can sometimes even be a negative experience. We can choose to be reactive or we can choose to be in control and respond to events accordingly. Our attitude begins with the type of thoughts we think and if we choose thoughts that are positive, we’ll be in a better frame of mind to deal with whatever comes our way.
- Review your day and set an intention for the next day. When we reflect on our day, we give ourselves the opportunity to appreciate all the things we did well and also identify things we could have done better or differently. It is highly probable that we will experience similar situations in the future so we are giving ourselves the best chance to do things better and continually improve ourselves. We can also set an intention for the next day by identifying a few things we’d like to accomplish or experience.
- Turn off technology before going to bed. I’m embarrassed to say that many years ago, I used to have the television on throughout the night while I slept. Obviously that was not doing me any good in terms of getting a good night’s sleep.
In the last 30-40 minutes before going to bed, it is highly beneficial to give our brains a break from any visual stimuli such as from television or our mobile devices. That time can be used for reflection to review and capture some of the key lessons we learned during the day. I often like to read something uplifting or educational — not via an electronic reader but with a physical book.
- Get plenty of sleep each night. The effects of not getting enough sleep is detrimental to our overall health and well-being. When we are rested, we are more alert, focused and can concentrate for longer periods of time. While we all have different body rhythms, anywhere between seven to nine hours of sleep per night is highly recommended.
Just doing a few simple things each day can dramatically increase our productivity and how well we get things done. The more intentional we are about how to design our day, the higher the chances we will regularly have productive days. If we allow ourselves be reactive to events, we will seldom have those highly efficient and effective days. All it takes is to implement a few simple strategies which can totally transform the way we work.
Question: What are some of the things you do daily to have an effective day?
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