I know that we all have a million different things going on every day. Trying to balance everything in our professional and personal lives can sometimes be overwhelming and stressful. Trust me, I'm right there with you! One of my favorite sayings about productivity and time management is “work smarter, not harder!” Today I wanted to take a deeper dive into my own productivity principle (one of my five Ps -- be sure to check out my last column if you missed it!) to share with you some helpful tips on how to make the most out of your day, and be your best and most productive self from the moment you wake up.
1. Breathe and meditate
I love taking 10-15 minutes in the morning to do a breathing exercise and a quick meditation. This practice will help clear your mind of any anxiety and prepare you to start the day fresh and with a clean slate. Here is a great resource for beginner breathing techniques.
2. Make your bed
Such a small task, but it can truly make you feel like you've accomplished something. I promise you, when you're ready to go to bed at night, you will thank yourself. This small task will encourage you to do another small task, and then the domino effect will set in.
3. Prioritize your to-do list
Outline your daily goals. I write my lists the night before, so I know exactly what needs to be done in the morning. I always list my top priorities first to make sure I tackle those and get them completed first. Save the less urgent tasks for the afternoon when your energy starts to wane. I'm usually all about living in the moment and just going with the flow, but when it comes to productivity, planning ahead is key. As old school as it may sound, writing out a list really does help to hold me accountable, keep me organized, and, honestly, for me, physically checking off a box always helps me feel good and productive.
4. Work out first thing in the morning
If I could give you one piece of advice on when to workout, it would definitely be in the morning. This will make you feel so good about yourself, so accomplished and ready to take on the day. Working out in the morning is a great way to boost your energy and jumpstart your metabolism.
As hard as it may be to get your butt out of bed, it's honestly easier to just get this session out of the way, so you don't have to worry about finding the time to do it later. Plus, the post-workout feeling makes me feel alive. See some of my free workouts here.
5. Take small breaks throughout the day
I can not stress this enough. Make sure that you set a lunch hour for yourself and take regular 5-10-minute breathers whenever you feel yourself losing energy. Get up, stretch, do a mini workout, make a snack, and then get right back into it. I love to work for 30 minutes at a time, without my phone or any distractions, and then take those 5-10 minutes to relax my mind. Taking small breaks throughout the day to reset can have such a powerful effect on your mind and body in so many different ways.
Take a three-minute break with me right now and try this quick and effective mini workout to get your blood flowing and oxygen pumping. It's body weight, so there are no excuses. You can literally do this anywhere and at any time. So get up and move with me for the next couple of minutes!! GRAPHIC HERE
THE MOVES: 1. Static lunges. 2. High Knees. 3. Leg Lifts.
**Do each move for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds**
6. Fuel your body and mind
Keeping your mind and body fueled throughout the day is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Eat nutritious and filling meals but also listen to your body and snack when you need to. I will be sharing some of my favorites recipes with y'all here, but if you need some recipe inspiration in the meantime, feel free to check out the hundreds of recipes I have on my site. I love to snack on mini, healthy things when I am deep at work. It gives you brain power. My favorite snacks are things like grapes, popcorn, cherries, carrots, edamame and hummus.
7. Avoid distractions
We can get so sidetracked with our phones and sometimes find that if I take a three-minute break, I go on social media, and all of a sudden, it has become a 30-minute break, and I am deep in my sister's friend’s cousin’s Instagram page. I know you all can relate. Try to limit your social media time by setting timers, exiting when you get all the info you need, etc. Sometimes I put my phone on airplane mode when I really need to focus for an hour.
I want to leave you with this: Don't sweat the small stuff! When something doesn't go as planned, or you didn't have the time to accomplish a task, take it all into perspective. Ask yourself, "Will this matter to me in three months? Or even in five years?" Realize that we often get so worked up about things that don't matter in our long-term plans. Stay committed to your goals and do what you can throughout the day to get one step closer to them by working smarter, not harder. And please remember, be kind to yourself.