Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. 24 hours to do as they wish. Sleep. Eat. Work. Socialize. Exercise. So why do some people manage to achieve more in this time than others? It all comes down to productivity. How can we use our time to do the most of what matters to us? Stop wishing you had more hours in your day and start making them. Follow these simple hacks to make the most of your next 24 hours.
Disconnect once in a while
Studies show that the average person spends 8.5 hours on electronic devices every day, 3-4 of which are on their mobile phones. Now imagine how much more productive you would be if you used just one of those hours differently – going for a run, a training session, writing, reading, learning, cooking or meeting a friend. You would end up getting a lot more out of your time.
We suggest you track how much time you spend on your electronic devices each day and set a limit. Methods to cut back include: making your TV off-limits every evening or at least every other evening, not checking your Email inbox if you’re not in the office and deleting gaming apps from your phone. Aside from wasting your time, constant exposure to electronic devices leads to poor sleep, and we all know that being tired gets us nowhere.
Take a break, go for a walk
How much time do you spend staring at your computer screen at work, but never getting anything done -which then results in long and frustrating hours in the office? Save yourself this time and take a break every so often.
It’s true: a walk really does solve everything and the connection between your mind and feet is stronger than you think. When you go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen to the muscles and other organs – including the brain. And that’s not all. Because walking doesn’t require much brain power itself, our minds are free to wander, which is exactly the kind of mental state that is most likely to lead us to innovative ideas and insights. So, next time you’re lacking some creativity, need to clear your mind or can’t seem to solve a problem, get up, grab your coat and hit the pavement.
Listen to music
There’s a reason why listening to music is considered doping: many studies prove that music can enhance the performance of all sports. It’s an additional stimulus to the brain which results in distraction and lower RPE rates (rates of perceived exertion). Not only does it make us feel better by improving our mood, but it also synchronizes movements. The brain, muscles etc. become more connected as they have something common that synchronizes them – making the way we move more fluid. But why stop at having just a playlist for training?
If it’s likely to speed you up and make you more productive, we suggest you make various playlists for life. Boring chores that seem to take forever, like hoovering, ironing, cleaning the car or doing the weekly grocery shopping can be sped up and made more enjoyable with the right playlist. Try it out for yourself.
Work on one thing until you’ve finished it
There’s a name for it when you work on 10 different things at once without ever really getting anything finished: it’s called procrastination. And procrastination practically means wasting time. Rather then having 10 unfinished projects, focus on completing one at a time. It might take longer. It might require more concentration. But it’s better than ending your day and having nothing to show for it. Every morning, make a list of the things you need to do that day and number them from 1 – 10 based on how tough and time-consuming they are. Then, start with the toughest and most time-consuming task on your list and work your way down from there, finishing each one before starting the next.
Wake up earlier
Some of the most successful and happiest people in the world are morning people. They seem to have an edge on everyone else. And that’s exactly why adopting this habit is worth it. If you want to achieve more in your day, it’s simple: wake up earlier. Get up with enough time to plan your day and prepare for it. Try waking up two to three hours before your working day starts. When you wake up later, you spend the rest of your day unprepared and trying to catch up. Or spend this extra time in the morning exercising, so you don’t have to do it later. The morning is when our willpower is at its strongest, therefore if you’re someone who struggles sticking to a training routine, those few extra hours could be exactly what you’ve been missing. We know, we know…it’s easier said than done. But we also know that it just takes time and getting used to. Start now, become a morning person by next month.
Take a cold shower
If you train in the morning you’ll know the feeling after a hot shower. Relaxed and ready to go back to bed. Not what you want when you have a long day ahead of you. That’s why cold showers are increasingly becoming the productivity hack of choice for those who want to add more time to their day. Why should you try it? A few minutes under cold water in the morning might just improve your mood, make you feel energized and help you focus. Ok, so maybe it’s not the most comfortable method, but it could well wake you up and prepare you to take control of your day. Plus…it’s said to boost your immune system and speed up regeneration. Worth a try wouldn’t you agree?
Learn to say “NO”
This one is simple: You don’t always have to say yes. Avoid taking on too many tasks and spreading yourself too thin across chores that steal the focus away from your important goals or the things that matter to you. Saying no is not a sign of weakness. It’s a method of prioritization.
Make exercise part of your morning routine. A good workout can really help your attention span and your mood. Exercise also gets your brain working and leaves you feeling more ambitious to take on a new challenge that day. If you’re lacking inspiration, or don’t know quite how to get started, check out Freeletics, a fitness app which contains a wide range of workouts and exercises you can do anytime, anywhere to help you towards your goals, also offering support and guidance for the very best results.
Use your Sunday evening wisely
Is Sunday your lazy day? Time to change that. Rather than seeing Sunday as the end of one week, see it as a head start on the next one. At around 5pm – or a couple of hours before your dinner time – reserve some time to plan your upcoming days: what do you want to achieve? What obstacles are you likely to face? Write to your training buddies and schedule your training sessions. Think about your meal plan for the week and start preparing the ingredients you can in advance. The more you get yourself ready on Sunday night, the less time you spend doing this every day which means you have with more time to do the things you actually enjoy and to work on your goals. After the planning is done you can make dinner and relax – you’re already ready for Monday, so nothing to worry about.
Don’t make excuses
To be successful, there are “no excuses.” This is the most important thing to tell yourself. It’s never “too late”, “too cold”, “too dark” or “too early”. Time isn’t something that some of us have more or less of – it’s something we all have the power to make. And when you say you don’t have it, it then becomes true. So this year, stop looking for extra time and start making it. More time = #MoreLife.
If you’re having trouble deciding how to spend your time, answer these three questions: if you knew that you would succeed in the next project you did, what would you do? If you only had two months to live, how would you spend your time? If you had unlimited money, how would you spend your time? Answering these three questions can bring us more clarity about what our priorities really are, and how to use your time in a fulfilling way.
Every day is a new opportunity to become more of the person you want to be. Stand out from the crowd and make your 24 hours count.