Ever felt like there aren’t enough hours in a day? For so many of us a lack of time is a well-used excuse for not getting to the gym, returning an email, catching up with an old friend or just slowing down and taking a few beats. Although in our defence, we’re busier than ever juggling a mountain of tasks, deadlines and commitments!
While we’re each given the same 1,440 minutes every day, there are some super simple hacks to genuinely maximise them. Read on for five ways to get the most out of your day.
1. Win the morning, win the day
While the temptation to hit the snooze button once, twice or even ten times is real for us all, waking up on time or better still early does a great job at setting you up for the day ahead. You will be rewarded with an extra hour or two so you can do the activities you often struggle to find time for – like exercise or a load of washing.
It won’t be easy getting out of bed right away, and yes, you may hit a proverbial “wall” in the early-arvo, but the struggle is worth the reward. To rise early and achieve something before so many have even woken up is huge incentive and the most straightforward way to add hours to your day. And if you play your cards right, you may even find some time for a cheeky arvo nap.
There are some days it feels like your list of things to do is endless. You’d like to fit in some exercise, but you have a full day of Uni from 9am, you need to study during your breaks and then meet a mate for an early dinner at 6pm. Oh, and you also need visit the Apple Genius Bar to get your cracked phone screen fixed. To manage this full plate, it is essential you prioritise to make the best use of your time.
Arrange your to-dos in order of most to least important and go from there. What is non-negotiable? What can wait until tomorrow or next weekend? You shouldn’t skip your tutes or neglect study but maybe you can make an online Genius Bar appointment for next week during your study break? Perhaps you can check whether your friend is available for breaky tomorrow instead of dinner tonight, and you can finish the day with a group fitness class on campus?
3. Take meaningful breaks
Many people think productivity is concentrating for uninterrupted hours at a time (often in front of a computer screen) and starving yourself of a break. How productive could it be to step away from your desk and go for a 10-minute walk around the block? Believe it or not, very! According to a 2019 Australian Financial Review article, “brief periods of distraction have been shown to improve decision-making and creativity.”[i]
Planned time outs are designed to reenergise you – get your blood flowing and boost your brain function, and productivity. They give you an opportunity to recharge and stay motivated, and ensure you maximise the time spent at your desk or on a task. Breaks are also a good time to do things like practice mindfulness or give your mum a call.
Put simply: exercise releases endorphins (which makes you happy), improves energy levels and promotes better sleep. Allocating time to exercise improves not only the quality of your day but also represents an activity that with it comes a strong sense of achievement. Exercise in the morning, or any time of the day for that matter – whether it be going for a run, playing sport or hitting the gym – sets you up for a day of productivity and positivity.
5. Unwind properly
Take time to reset. As important as it is to attack your to-do list and carry a sense of accomplishment for a workout, chore or job well done, it is equally as important to switch off. Learning to relax and unwind by reading, playing a board game or enjoying a routine cup of tea before bed gives your body and mind a chance to calm down, reducing stress and fatigue.
So, there you have it… five tips to get the most out of your day, although truth be told, none of us are ever going to fit in everything, all the time – so the best advice? Don’t be so hard on yourself. Enjoy your days the best you can and where possible, maximise them through earlier starts, setting priorities, taking meaningful breaks, working out and finally, switching off.