How do you make the most of every day? You make every day count. The secret to doing that lies in paying attention to the small things you do.
It’s very easy to fall into those patterns where your brain just kind of shuts off. That’s usually what happens when you crowd your time with things like mindlessly browsing the internet or sitting in front of the TV. Over the last two years or so I felt almost as if I was slowly falling out of the pattern of intentional living. I noticed that I spent less time doing things that used to bring me joy, things that helped me grow and kept me feeling excited for each day. Once I’ve fallen out of that habit of constant growth, it was so hard to get my routine back to where it was. That’s when I had to remind myself, once again, that the key to making a change is to focus on those small daily habits. It’s all about taking it one step at a time.
Procrastination, poor time management, over-indulgence- these are things we’re all a little guilty of, right? None of it is a big deal until it becomes a daily habit where you find yourself just watching the days go by, waiting for the weekend, hoping something will change.
The first thing I did when trying to get back into the pattern of intentional living, was keeping track of where my time was going. I literally wrote down everything I did during the day, however productive or unproductive it was. This can be a real eye-opener if you find yourself not knowing where your time goes. Here are some of the other things that helped me take back control of my days and make the most of every single one of them.
7 WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY DAY
1. STAY ORGANIZED
Keep your space free of clutter, put things away “as you go” and it will make cleaning your space a lot easier and save you frustration whenever you’re in a rush or trying to find something. Each evening, I like to sit down with my calendar and draft a flexible plan for the next day. Doing this helps me stay organized as writing my “to do list” makes it easier to see how much and what kind of prepping I need to do for the next day.
2. TIME BLOCKING
As someone who is very easily distracted and has ADHD, I’ve always struggled with productivity. The thing is, I also hate not being productive and not getting things done or sitting around doing nothing always makes me feel anxious and can drive me crazy. Time-blocking turned out to be a game-changer for me as it provides a much-needed structure to my very often scattered mind. It also helps me make the most of every day as I set my schedule around my priorities and keep it very detailed to avoid getting lost in multitasking or distracted.
3. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
When it comes to your goals– both big and small, personal and professional- the key is to just start and remember that change begins with a single step. Keeping track of your progress will help you make the most of every day, hold yourself accountable but it can also put things into perspective. How? Well, it’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see or get immediate results. The truth is that most goals are accomplished by taking a small step or action, every single day. When you record every action you take toward your goal, however small, you notice your progress and make every day count.
Prioritizing your daily tasks is the key to avoiding taking on too much or overfilling your time. There are times when you find yourself being incredibly busy, but at the end of the day you really haven’t accomplished much or haven’t done anything productive. Tackle your most important tasks first thing in the morning, or as soon as your schedule permits it. Yes, those “big” tasks are usually least-pleasant ones, difficult or time-consuming. It’s important to remember that your willpower is just like a muscle and the more you use it and practice prioritizing, the easier it becomes.
5. STAY ACTIVE
Science proves that people who stay physically active manage stress better. Working out during the workweek also improves focus, mood, and productivity. We all sometimes tend to overcomplicate the whole “exercise” thing, but the truth is that as little as 20-30 minutes of light to moderate exercise a day can make a big impact on your overall wellbeing and productivity.
6. BE PRESENT
How many times do you wake up and the next thing you know you’re back in your bed, getting ready to sleep? Some days can drag on forever, and some pass by very quickly- too quickly at times. Staying mindful and present during your mornings or the times you spend with people that are close to you will help you appreciate those little “everyday” things. You also become calmer and happier, the more you live in the “now.” Pay attention and be present (especially when interacting with others) instead of rushing through your day or wasting your time wishing you were someplace else.
7. UNWIND + RESET
One of the best ways to make the most of every day and really get a fresh start the next morning is to reset and decompress the night before and let go of all the stress of the day. Before you get to bed, take some time to unwind and relax. Some of my favorite ways to do this are through deep breathing exercises, meditation, journaling or things like self-massage (I recently started using this bed of nails mat which really helps me relax after a long day) or, if I have enough time and energy I’ll indulge in a long bath and an audiobook. The key is to find some time at the end of the day to reset a little, to do something you really love- this is especially important during times of higher stress.