We’re always busy. We work full time, we go to school, and we care for our families. Our lives are exhausting and we feel like we never have time to do anything. It’s the old hamster-on-the-wheel conundrum. When we finally do get that day off or we finally do get that babysitter for the night, all we want to do is relax! And why not? We deserve it! So how do we get some of our time back so we can focus on being productive instead of busy in order to lead a more fulfilling life?
1.Wake Up Early. Get into the habit of waking up at least an hour earlier than you normally do. Unless you work an overnight job, you SHOULD NOT be in bed past 10 AM. The first hour after waking up will set the tone for the rest of your day. Here’s my morning routine that I use to start my day.
2.Tackle Your Toughest Task First. When you take care of your most difficult task of the day first, you’re starting your day off with a huge victory. You’ve already gotten up early and completed your most tedious task! Rejoice! Now you have the confidence from being productive and the peace of mind in knowing that the rest of your day should be a breeze!
3. Limit Distractions. You’re going to want to kick back, relax and catch up on House of Cards. You’re going to want to see that corny Youtube video that your best friend thought was so hilarious. You’re going to want to check your social networks. That’s okay because these are all normal urges. Unfortunately, the only thing you’ll see on your social networks is hundreds, if not thousands, of other people competing to see who’s life is better. Cut this out. This does nothing for your self confidence and sucks away the joy in your own life because you are constantly reminded of how much more fun and interesting your life COULD be! Unless you are posting or uploading content, stay away from your social networks. I’ve deactivated my social networks altogether but this may be a little drastic for you. The point here is to limit these distractions as much as possible. If you go an entire day without once checking your instagram or netflixing/youtubing, you’ll soon realize just how much extra time you have in a day.
4. Save your energy. You only have a limited amount of willpower each day. Think of your willpower as a gas tank. The more energy you expend on tasks throughout the day, the less willpower you will have to get anything else done later. As your day progresses, you must constantly ask yourself if the current task requires 100% of your time and energy. Am I telling you to half-ass your tasks? Yes I am, but not necessarily all of them. Too often we get caught up in repetitive tasks that make little to no impact on anyone’s lives. It’s up to you to identify these time wasters and eliminate them if possible. If you’re working a job, find a way to spend as little energy as possible while still being efficient. That may sound contradictory, but the more you focus on exerting less energy and mental power, the better you’ll get at minimizing and eliminating meaningless tasks. The goal is to save as much willpower as you can for the next step.
5. Sleep late. Yes, you woke up early. Yes, you were productive all day. You deserve your rest. However, if you’ve followed the previous four steps you should have just a bit of willpower remaining to get you through one more hour. Get into the habit of staying up an hour later than you normally would. You want to use this time for personal development and reflection. Instead of watching Netflix, read a book. Get on Youtube and learn a new skill or hobby. This is the time you have to discover and develop your personal interests. This isn’t necessarily about getting rich or #teamnosleep. People believe you have to be a modern day vampire in order to achieve any type of considerable success but this is not true. I love my sleep. The only difference is that now, instead of sleeping 8 hours a night I will sleep no more than 6. I choose to sacrifice 2 hours of sleep in order to develop myself and grow as a person. These 2 hours/night adds up to 14 extra hours/week that I can use to be productive!
We’re always busy. When we take a step back and look at how cluttered our lives are we can see opportunities to make better use of our time. The sleep of a laborer is sweet. When you go to bed at night after following these steps, you sleep with the peace and satisfaction of knowing that you got the most out of your day.