Having trouble getting things done? Read this article for productive daily habits that you NEED to make sure you get everything done, every day!
Lack of time to get things done is an issue that we all face, whether we like it or not. No matter how long our to- do list, our deadlines, it almost always feels that 24 hours in a day is never enough.
I personally became accustomed to frustrating myself to the extent of exhaustion almost every single day, the clock hitting midnight, not even half my day’s work undone, spilling over to my even longer to do list for the next day.
So what’s the deal here? Is there an inevitable cycle that we are doomed to repeat, day after day, month after month, year after year until our untimely demise?
Or is there some light at the end of the tunnel- or at the beginning of the tunnel rather- that can give a QUICK fix to this issue and allow you to sleep soundly by 10 pm each night without the nagging weight of a heavy heart to carry to the next morning?
The answer is simple:
To really get everything done, on the day that it NEEDS to be done, there are a few simple habits that, from my own experience, have worked wonders. No more restless nights and anxiety headaches and overflowing to do lists.
Here is a simple list of small, quick, and PRODUCTIVE habits you can instill EASILY to get everything done, on the day that it needs to be done!
Sleep enough to get enough done!
This sounds counterintuitive. How can I sleep early or enough if half the things I need to get done are nowhere near finished? It’s simple science. Studies show that the more you lack in sleep, the worse your ability to productively focus on the next day, the longer it takes for you to complete tasks. The only way to break the cycle is just what it says it is: break the cycle. Sacrifice your to do list for one day, and force yourself to sleep on time and get a good 6-8 hours of interrupted sleep on average, and see how well you work the next day.
Sleep on time, EARLY to get things done EARLY
Sleep again, you say? I say, yes! Sleep is more important than you realize. Not only is sleep time important, but the time that you sleep will dictate inadvertently when you wake up the next day if you have no set deadline to wake up, or lessen your amount of sleep if you sleep late and have to wake up early for work or school (duh!). This is a quick easy fix. Like I said before, simply break your cycle the first day, sleep early, and wake up early. The earlier you wake up, the more things will get done in the day. Which leads directly to the next habit…
Wake up EARLY to get work done EARLY
If you follow the previous steps, this habit will become a no-brainer. If you wake up around sunrise, you will have more time to function and get into your day’s routine without forcing yourself out of bed and rushing, and without those bags under your eyes from oversleeping. Sleeping early and sleeping enough is only beneficial to the extent wherein you make sure you wake up early. The early morning is proven to the be the most productive time of the day. If you set your important tasks for early in the morning, there is no doubt you will have more time in the day to complete them, and definitely before midnight.
Plan your meals to retain energy
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day- isn’t that what they all say? The saying is as the saying goes, and breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day! A lot of times when I used to be in a rush, I would just eat whatever came into my hand first, or skip breakfast entirely. That, of course, is the wrong thing to do! Make sure to plan all the meals in your day in advance, in the way that suits you best. And make sure to actually schedule them at times that are best suitable to your busy schedule!
Breakfast should always be the most focused-on meal. Eating healthy and heavy– an egg, some toast, some milk- is the best thing you can do to keep your day energized. Skimping on breakfast causes over-full lunches and dinners, that can offset your energy levels and leave you sleepy when you need energy the most. Eat at the right times, eat the right things, and your day will be full of energy!
Exercise to re-energize!
Exercise is a tricky thing to fit into a schedule for some people. However, there is no doubt that fitting in even 30 minutes of exercise a day can increase energy levels– and if it makes you tired, you are sure to sleep more soundly at night! Don’t be put off by the pains when you first start off. If you start off with smaller goals and steps, it will be easier to work your way up and create the perfect routine for you! This seems almost useless- how does exercise help you get everything done, every single day? The truth is, by exercising (and doing the right exercises as well- running or even using the elliptical) for even a short amount of time every day, it pumps you up, re-energizes you, and starts the happy-hormones flowing so you tackle your day with confidence!
Actually use a planner- to actually plan your days!
This sounds like a no-brainer for sure. It is very common for people to buy planners, but actually using them is another story. Have a master planner for all the things you have to do, and write down everything you need to do, and plan in advance what day you deem them important to be done. Rather than remembering off the top of your head or leaving things for the last minute, jotting them down in a planner helps you to unload the lists and lists of things to do from your own mind, and allows you to look at your time slots with a clearer head.
In addition to using a planner, you can even make a simple routine table with all the hours of the day on a Word document. Simple make a column for every day of the week, and timed intervals in the rows. Highlight each part to your heart’s desire, allocate what is important and what times are free and, wa-lah! You have a personal calendar and planner to make certain you follow through with everything, and finish everything when it is supposed to be finished, with time left to spare!
Remember to follow through!
Use to-do lists and check-lists
In addition to using a planner- which can admittedly become overcrowded, congested and stressful- use small checklists and to- do lists to plot out what is immediate work for the next couple of hours, the next day, or even the next week. This way, you can visualize what needs to be done immediately and make sure that it is done within the time frame! You can use post-its, index cards, small pieces of paper- anything that is most convenient for you!
Make sure you leave a small box to check mark a task and cross it out when it is done- there is nothing like the satisfaction of a completed task to motivate you to move onto the next one and complete it just as quickly and efficiently!
Take timed breaks and power-naps
Your mind needs a break- you are a human being after all, not a machine this corporate world is trying to make you. RAther than jumping from task to task, take time out to take a power nap- which are very beneficial and energizing. Meditate, read, take a stroll in nature, lay on the couch with a loved one and a bowl of popcorn-whatever relaxes you! If you have trouble fitting in or finding such times, then schedule your down times! Down time is equally important to getting everything done. Without his time, getting actual work done would, frankly, be quite impossible.
Take out time for yourself- you are the most important of all!
Here lies the secret of our chronic inability to get done what needs to get done: undermining our own value! When we start to consider ourselves machines, that is when we become machines! In addition to timed breaks and power naps, make sure to put in leisure time as separate from down time, to be unforgivably you! Whether it be once a day for half an hour or even 15 minutes, or once a week for a couple of hours, making sure to understand what it is you yourself enjoy, and being able to allocate time to not only that, but your own personal care and attention, is critical in maintaining your daily goals! Without focusing on yourself, our daily lives can become so out of focus that we lack motivation, and lack the ability to get things done that need to get done.
It seems nearly impossible at times to get things done on time the way they are supposed to. The days feel shorter and shorter, and its no wonder this generation is a stressed one. But by instilling some simple daily habits. we can not only make sure we get our daily stuff actually done on time, but can actually tremendously improve the quality of our lives!