The most valuable, yet limited resource we have. It cannot be created, bought, loaned, rolled over, or saved for a rainy day. We all get 24 hours in each day and there is nothing we can do to change it.
However, what we can do is change the way we spend our 24 hours to maximize our potential each and every day.
Below are 4 ways to truly get the most out of your day without burning out–and actually feel more energized while doing it.
This seems simple–just put the most important “to-do” items of your day first. But, do you know what is the most important task of the day? What if that task is just the worst and you (like most, including myself) keep putting it off until it is not longer possible to procrastinate? I will tell you this: Attack the most important first (yourself, family, pets) then go to the most difficult tasks (big client call at work, uncomfortable conversation about the work progress of your colleague, etc.) and knock them out as soon as possible, preferably before lunch.
The reason for this is to 1. Get yourself in gear for a great day by going to the gym, eating a proper breakfast, and getting your family set for the day and 2. To avoid wasting more time throughout the day avoiding the big items. Yes, you will spend time daydreaming about what can go wrong with the big client meeting, or visualizing how you are going to approach your colleague to correct her work. So by crossing these items off your to-do list first thing in the morning, you will create more space mentally and physically throughout the rest of your day.
Just as it is important to physically schedule going to the gym on your calendar so you don’t miss it, scheduling breaks will allow you to collect your thoughts and get tempting distractions (email, Facebook, celebrity gossip websites) out of the way in an efficient manner.
Have you ever noticed yourself starting to check out “one thing” on social media which leads you down a rabbit hole and suddenly you are looking at pictures of your best friend’s cousin’s baby’s 1st birthday? Avoid that by setting a timer for 10 minutes for your break throughout the day to do anything you want, including browsing social media, grabbing a coffee, taking a walk and it won’t take up more of your time throughout the day.
Running late for the train because you spent an extra 10 minutes looking for your other shoe? Don’t worry, it happens. As does adding two minutes to pack your lunch, another minute to be sure you have everything in your bag, and don’t forget to add time looking for your keys and pouring your coffee to go. These small minutes add up to a chunk of time that can be used to do something productive like reply to an email, or perhaps even hit the snooze button one more time (ahhhhh!) to gain extra energy.
Avoid these small time-sucks by preparing for your day the night before. Lay out your clothes, prepare your lunch and leave it in the refrigerator, even prepare the coffee filter and grounds so all you have to do is hit the “brew” button on your coffee when you wake up. Be ready for your day even before going to bed and you will save precious time in the morning that can be much better spent.
Multi-task during small activities
I am a huge fan of being fully present in whatever activity you are doing, however, sometimes you just need to multitask. One good example is taking advantage of your train or bus commute to answer emails, read a book, write out thank you notes from your child’s birthday party, etc.
It is important to capitalize on down time to get other smaller jobs done. Another favorite of mine is to throw something in the oven to bake while I get ready, as it often takes around the same time and I know I will be home so it is safe to have the oven on. I also like being productive while waiting for a doctor’s appointment (which we all know we have plenty of free time in the waiting room!) which is the perfect time to look for a new recipe…or even write a blog post.
As you can see, there are several ways we can lose, and maximize our time within a day. If you are looking to get the most out of your day, be sure to avoid as many time-suckers as possible and allocate your time in a smart and efficient way.