Ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? I know the feeling.
There always seems to be so much to do, so much to accomplish.
However you choose to define success, whatever it is that you hope to achieve or complete- it most likely isn’t going to happen overnight.
It happens every day.
It happens when you stop using excuses.
It happens when you take small steps.
It happens when you grow and work on self-improvement on daily basis.
It happens when you don’t let small (or big) setbacks discourage you and bring you down.
Whatever it is that you’re after, start now. It doesn’t matter where you are; now is the best time to start.
Because you can’t let being where you are right now, stop you from getting where you want to be.
If you want to develop a productive routine for your day, you need to make the most of your mornings. Getting an early start to your day means that you are setting up your intentions for the day to come; you won’t be in a rush and you won’t feel stressed, knowing that you are on time and on schedule. You will have more time to plan out your day, organize yourself and check your to-do list. Have something to look forward to every morning- that will make it easier for you to get out of bed (you can also try the 5-4-3-2-1 method).
Having a healthy morning ritual is something that I talk about often in these types of posts, but that’s because it’s something that has made a HUGE difference for me in how I handle stress and my day-to-day tasks. Every morning, as I get up early, I drink my green tea, I write in my journal, I set my intentions for the day and I tell myself that “today is going to be an amazing day.” This means that I [almost] always start the day on a positive note and that just sets my mood for the day.
I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t always a morning person. My mornings often felt rushed and disorganized.
My mornings were… messy.
I mean, I remember once driving to work and being in such a rush that I forgot to put my shoes on and left the house wearing slippers (true story, by the way). When I started doing things like practicing gratitude daily, writing in a journal, it felt a bit…. sill. I’ll admit it. Today, I can’t imagine my life without those things.
Create a morning ritual for yourself that will help you feel positive and inspired, every day. And no, I don’t mean scrolling through Pinterest in search of inspirational quotes. Quite the opposite, in fact. Don’t reach for your phone and start checking your emails or Twitter feed, first thing in the morning. Instead, try practicing some mindfulness, be present. A mindful living will help you be more productive as it improves your focus, and that, in turn, will get you closer to reaching your goals.
ESTABLISH A ROUTINE + KEEP A SCHEDULE
By prioritizing certain aspects of your life and creating a routine, you’ll get things done in a stress-free environment. Not every person is the same, so my ideal routine might be a lot different from yours. The point is: creating a routine is crucial. I get asked all the time how do I manage to work full-time and run this blog. The key is establishing a good routine. By coming up with a routine you’re setting yourself up for success- you work on your goals during the same time each day and as you get used to this practice, you will accomplish your goals faster. You won’t have to “find” time to do what’s important- as you create your routine, that time will be there.
Staying disciplined also requires a lot of focus and I, unfortunately, get distracted very easily. I realize that it’s a problem for a lot of us these days. I mean, we’re constantly being fed with information and there seem to be so many new things we want to know and learn- it’s nearly impossible to focus on a single task. This is why I schedule everything- and I mean everything– as far as my work and personal goals are concerned. I time-block and stick to my schedule- that’s how I keep myself in check.
You might think you’re good at multitasking, but you’re probably not (sorry). Researchers at Stanford University found that those of us who regularly use several streams of electronic information cannot control our memory, pay attention or switch from one job to another, as well as those who work on one task at a time. You might think that you’re getting a lot more done by multitasking, but chances are you’re not as efficient as when focusing only on one thing. I also noticed that when trying to multitask at work (especially in an office environment) I waste time doing things like proofreading, double-checking my work and confirming that I actually did what I was supposed to. It’s like working on an important project while also helping out a co-worker and talking to a client on the phone. When doing three things at once, you cannot give any of them 100% of your attention.
Here’s something to remember: being busy, and being productive are two different things. Setting up boundaries- especially when it comes to your workplace, is important. When working on something important, communicate with your colleagues. Let them know you’re on a deadline and you’ll be less likely to be disturbed. Minimizing noise and digital distractions will also help you stay focused.
SET DAILY GOALS
It doesn’t have to be anything big; just small daily goals. Your goals might involve health, home, self-improvement or they can also be work-related- small goals facilitate progress. Setting big, ambitious goals is great, but focusing on accomplishing those smaller tasks, will keep you from feeling overwhelmed or disappointed when experiencing a setback. Break down your “big” goals into smaller ones and take baby steps. Ask yourself, “what can I do today, that will bring me closer to my goals?” The best way to do this is to set up a list of priorities for the day, every morning. Keep the list of priorities short though, to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
It’s not enough to “set” those goals though. It’s not enough to create a list and say “hey look at all my goals, I’m killing it!” It’s not enough to write them down and talk about them for a little while. You do that, and you’ll end up going nowhere. You actually need to get to work.
KEEP A JOURNAL
To keep track of your progress, document your success- however small or big it might be, write down your goals, quotes that inspire you, things that you’re grateful for. When you’re trying to accomplish something, it doesn’t always come to you overnight. In fact, in almost never happens overnight. Success is usually a result of hard, consistent work.
Remember that changing habits is (almost never) easy. It’s a simple concept- take a habit, replace it with a new one- but it’s not easy. Don’t try to change everything at once- you’ll feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
What are some of your “big goals”? Can you identify any smaller objectives you can start working on today? What are some things that you’ve been putting off, forever? Getting your driver’s license? Changing jobs? Ending a messy relationship? Getting in shape? Reading more books?
Whatever your goals are, ask yourself, right now: “what can I do today, to get me closer to where I want to be?“