We should all make the most of every day. Since I made the decision to join Sarah in her quest to reach $10k earnings (freelance & website) per month by the end of October 2016, I’ve realised I need to get a lot better at making the most of my day.
I might not have young children and an office job but I’m a single parent with a child living at home. Plus, run my own online retail business as well as actively working on a few other projects (like this blog) and have a home and garden to maintain. All that takes time and energy and most importantly, effective use of that available time and energy.
These then, are the steps I’m taking to ensure I make the most of every day.
1. Get Up Early
I’m one of those people who are, by nature, early risers. I’ve always had an internal alarm clock that goes off at the same time every day regardless of the time I go to bed. That is, I used to be like that. Over the last nine or so years, I’ve struggled with stress induced insomnia. My insomnia is not the can’t get to sleep kind, it’s the can’t stay asleep kind. So, I’m going to try Steve Pavlina’s approach and set an alarm so I rise at the same time every day regardless of how many hours sleep I’ve had. Hopefully, along with better hydration and magnesium supplements, it’ll be the final ingredient in the better sleep recipe.
One of the things I love about the early morning is the feeling of peace and quiet. There’s less traffic noise, true, but it’s more than that. Maybe it’s knowing that so few others are up and about makes it seem more peaceful. That peace makes concentrating much easier, too.
Less distractions. More peace and quiet. The perfect environment for getting the important work of the day done.
2. Eat Good Food
The food we chose to nourish our bodies directly effects our well-being. Not just physically but emotionally, too. Therefore, it’s important to choose food that provides a wide range of nutrients and sustained energy.
I’m always mindful of eating well but it doesn’t always eventuate. If I’m rushed or stressed or lacking sleep, I’ll reach for a quick blast of energy in the form of something that’s (usually) high sugar. Then… suffer the consequences. Once my body has dealt with the influx of sugar, I usually feel flat and foggy. And, either reaching for more sugar or stretched on the sofa.
Eating healthy, nutritious food doesn’t happen by accident. It requires planning and preparation. And, is worth the effort for better health and productivity.
3. Get Some Exercise
My exercise of choice is walking. It’s gentle, weight bearing, sustainable and meditative. It’s also a great way to get your blood circulating and refresh your brain when you’re feeling stuck. I’m lucky to have a lake with a walking track near my home. Walking around the lake is a great way to take a break, get some exercise and spend some time in nature. Win. Win. Win!
4. Set One Big Task
Since reading Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog! I’ve been very good at eating frogs for breakfast. However, I recently came across this article on Zen Habits and it’s added a new dimension to my planning strategy. So, rather than spending those super productive early morning hours getting the least exciting task (the biggest, ugliest frog) out of the way. I’m now going to use that highly valuable time at the start of my day to work on the most important tasks that will bring me closer to my one big goal (in this case the $10k earnings goal).
5. Be Present in the Moment
Being present can mean different things to different people. To me, it means being mindful of the moment and giving it my focus. I can tend toward being quite scattered in my approach to my work. I can have 17 things going on at once and be listening to an audio book. Not surprisingly, I rarely feel like I’ve actually accomplished anything for the day because there’s still so much still to do.
That means, multitasking is off the menu for the foreseeable future.
6. Nurture My Spirit
When you’re busy and a bit stressed, taking the time to nurture your spirit is more important than ever. In order to make the most of my day, I’m also going to spend a part of each day doing something I love that’s not work related, like reading fiction for the sheer joy of it.
Another favourite activity for unwinding is sitting on my back veranda watching nature at work. It’s easy to feel grateful for all the wonderful things in my life when I can take the time to observe the world.
Sometimes, I’ll combine both my favourite activities and sit outside and read. Stress is a killer and ignoring it is never in your best interests. Do something you love and do it just because you love it.
7. Have a Plan for Tomorrow
Probably the most important aspect of being able to make the most of every day is to have a plan you can action immediately upon rising. It’s too easy (at least for me) to fluff around in the morning, do a bit of this and a bit of that and before I know it, it’s lunchtime.
Giving some thought to and deciding on a plan of attack for the next day before climbing into bed at night, ensures you’ll be on track immediately.
Make the Most of Every Day
Making the most of every day is something we all need to do. Rich or poor, we’re all allotted the same number of hours each day. How we choose to use that time will have a lasting impact on our health, our relationships and ultimately our success.
So, get a jump start on the day by getting out of bed early. Eating good food. Getting some exercise. Deciding on one big goal and figuring out what the most important tasks are for achieving it. Being present in the moment and focusing on what you’re doing or who you’re with. Reducing the effects of stress by taking the time to do something that brings you joy. And, making sure you start your day with a plan already laid out. If you do these things, you can’t help but achieve great things. We’ll know in a year if it’s worked for my One Big Task.
How will you choose to make the most of your day?