I never understood the value of my time until my schedule became almost unbearably busy. When life throws you 60-hour work weeks on top of school, side hustles and everything else that comes with life, you learn how to get organized fast.
Even though planning and scheduling are absolutely necessary for being successful in all that you do, they will never be enough on their own. Success is so much more than simply checking off the tasks or goals on your to-do list.
Luckily, my schedule is much less crazy these days, but I still have a ton to accomplish each day. I use the tricks that I learned in my busiest season of life to maximize my time and energy each day to live a productive life.
Your morning often sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Here are some tips on how to set yourself up for success each day, starting with the actions you take you wake up each morning.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Planning ahead is a huge part of success. Going to bed at a decent time to ensure that you’re getting plenty of sleep is very important. It is difficult to function to the best of your ability if you are not well rested.
Something that has improved my quality of sleep is a weighted blanket. I’d been wanting one for a while and I got one for my birthday! I absolutely love it and don’t know how I ever slept without it.
If your sleep schedule is out of wack, melatonin (a natural supplement that your body produces but may be lacking) is another great tool for getting back on track.
2. Follow a Routine
This is simple. Create a routine. Follow it. We are creatures of habit so create a routine that helps you get on the path to a productive day.
Your routine could include quiet time, exercise, reading, praying, listening to music or whatever you want. The key is to get into healthy routines and stick with them.
3. Meditate and Reflect
Take a few minutes every morning to reflect in silence. Remind yourself to live intentionally. Remind yourself of the bigger picture. Remind yourself to be great. This can truly help you set the tone for the day.
I’ve recently started using a 5 minute gratitude journal where I spend a few moments in the morning declaring how I want my day to go and then a few minutes reflecting in the evening on what made my day great and how it could’ve been better.
I’m really enjoying this journal so far. I highly recommend getting one of your own because it’s less than $6 on Amazon.
4. Set Attainable Goals
Going into every day with clear goals is an essential step to set yourself up for success. I like to set my goals the night before and review them when I wake up in the morning.
I typically include a list of personal tasks in addition to a list of work-related tasks and deadlines. If I am working on something big, I will usually include the milestones I would like to hit on that project for the day.
5. Learn and Grow
Set aside 15-30 minutes each morning to read a chapter of a book that will help you to grow as a person or to learn more about your craft or business. If reading is not your thing, I suggest listening to 15-30 minutes of a podcast.
A podcast that is great for entrepreneurs (but could be valuable to anybody who is interested in mindset work) is “The Ikonn Experience” by Alex and Mimi Ikonn.
6. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Yes, people. Your mom said it to you for years, and I’m saying it to you again today. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
I am not talking about that donut or pop-tart BS. You need a healthy breakfast each morning, even if you’re not really hungry when you wake up.
Eat a balanced breakfast. When I was always on the go, I typically cut fruit for a smoothie the night before, so I could throw it in the NutriBullet and take it for the road.
Try to pack some protein in there, whether it be in the form of eggs, bacon, nuts or whatever you prefer. You will feel much better for the rest of the day.
7. Stay Unplugged
Putting off the morning scroll is a challenge. I am so used to checking my texts, email and social media as soon as I wake up that it makes it difficult to put my phone back down when I reach to turn my alarm off.
But over the past few months, I’ve been trying to avoid my phone until after I’ve made myself a healthy breakfast and eaten it without distraction.
It’s something small, but I’ve noticed that it helps me get my mind focused on what I need to get done for the day rather than going on Instagram. It makes me more productive.
It’s Time for a Successful Day
For those of you who are always on the go, some of these tips may be a bit tricky to follow, but if you plan accordingly, it is all possible! Remember: if you want to do great things, make today your day. Set yourself up for a successful day.
All photos are by Laura McCawley.
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