If you’re trying to make the most of every day you probably have some routines you follow that help make you live up to your best. However, none of us are perfect and there are probably tons of small things that you aren’t paying attention to that could make your day so much better. I’ve read dozens of books about living up to your potential and picked out the pieces of advice that I’ve incorporated into my days that make my life infinitely better than before.
Wake up every day at the same time
Starting your day at the same time, even on weekends, can provide you with a baseline of energy to run with throughout your day. Your body craves order and wants to be on a set routine. Sleeping on schedule, eating healthy and at the same times each day, and getting regular exercise help your body maintain its physical systems so you can feel your best. If you’re not a morning person, you can train yourself to become one. Just set your alarm for the same time every day and avoid the snooze button. Within 7 days your body will begin to adjust to the new wake schedule and you won’t feel as fatigued.
You don’t have to run or lift weights every day to get some exercise. Simply taking a 15 minute walk each day will have a marked impact on your overall physical and mental health. However, numerous studies have shown that doing at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 days a week has a strong correlation with people living much longer and having lower risk for disease as they age.
Eating a healthy breakfast for some people is a chore. Many people wake up and skip breakfast and go for a cup of coffee and maybe a doughnut at the morning meeting. Give your morning a healthy boost by eating a protein rich breakfast that will provide you the energy you need to fuel your day. Not only does eating a protein rich breakfast promote a healthy diet, but it has been shown to help people lose and maintain a healthy weight.
Some of us are natural organizers and some of us can tolerate uncertainty. There is a middle ground that we can all find and it starts with doing basic organization each day. When you wake up make a list of the things you must do that day and slowly check your way through the list. Periodically make a longer list with weekly, monthly, and 6 month goals. By having a clear list of things you’re working towards you can be more productive each day.
Stop avoiding hard tasks
While working through your list of things to do don’t skip over the hard stuff for easier items. In fact, you should tackle hard problems first. Addressing the most difficult issues on your list can get them out of the way and allow you space to work on more fulfilling issues that make you feel better about yourself.
There is a rule that many productive people follow that can work wonders on your daily life. Work for approximately 60 minutes where you turn off all distractions and then take a 10 minute break where you only work on other items or do something for leisure like go for a walk. This so called 60/10 rule is a known productivity booster and can work for both work and personal projects
Moderate caffeine intake
I love my morning coffee, but I’m aware that too much can make me jittery and have trouble focusing. Scientific studies actually show that after 2 cups of coffee the medical benefits of caffeine plateau so try to reign in your coffee habit.
Drink water throughout your day
When you’re dehydrated you are not capable of being your best. Dehydration can sneak up on you and you may be feeling the negative effects before you actually feel thirsty. Staying hydrated throughout the day will make you feel better, work more effectively and feel more full during the day.
Get rid of junk emails
Personally, I think we have an email problem. We spend too much time on email and not enough time getting meaningful projects, whether for work or home, finished. One easy way to reduce the amount of time you spend on email is to unsubscribe from the daily newsletters and shopping emails you’re getting. Spend more time working on what matters to you and less time reading about sales.
Wear bold clothing
In most office environments it can be difficult to wear fun colors or interesting clothes, but the positive mental impact of fun clothing should make these stuffy offices have second thoughts. Wearing bright colors and fun patterns can make the person wearing them feel more creative and open to suggestion. If you can, try breaking away from the basic blues and greys and try something new.
Pack your own lunch
The two main reasons to bring your own lunch are that you’ll save money and you’ll be healthier. Going out to eat every day may be a fun break in your day but the costs add up quickly and you can save a bundle by bringing your own food. An added benefit is that you know what you’re putting into your lunch whereas at a restaurant you really can’t be sure that you’ll always choose the healthy items on the menu.
Avoid negativity in all forms
It’s okay to feel down sometimes, that’s perfectly normal. What isn’t okay is allowing for these negative thoughts and mannerisms bleed into your daily routines. Life is short and allowing yourself to dwell on negative thoughts and feelings won’t allow you to see the positive in your life. If you have people around you who can’t stop being negative, you should consider limiting your time around them. It sounds harsh, but if they can’t help themselves you shouldn’t let them drag you down.
Read every day
We read for work, we read the news, we read blogs, we read packages, we read all kinds of things every day but do you actually sit down and read just to read? Dedicate time every day to read a book. Reading, whether fiction or non-fiction, can help you to focus your energy on something creative and help you be more creative, educated, and a better speaker.
If you smoke, QUIT NOW!
Smoking is much less popular today than it has been but plenty of people still smoke cigarettes. Smoking is terrible for your health and is a known carcinogen. It also robs you of energy and takes time out of your day when you take smoke breaks. There just isn’t anything positive about smoking so just do yourself a favor and cut it out!
Naps, are you serious, I’m an adult I don’t have time for naps! I said that same thing, but after speaking with several very successful people I was shocked to find that they take naps nearly every day. They may not go crawl into bed, but they do take time to close their eyes, turn off their phones and emails and lean back in their desk chair and nap for 15-20 minutes in the late afternoon. Just napping for 20 minutes can give you the boost of energy you need to get through the end of your day.
Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s natural to compare yourself to other people, but it’s a bad habit that can hold you back from your true potential. Everybody is unique and everybody has their own story, so to compare yourself to them isn’t fair to you or them. They face different struggles each day than you do, and comparing your situation to theirs can hurt your self-esteem.