4 Ways to Get the Most out of Your Day
If you are like me, you have a long list of all of the things you want to do (or think you should do) every day - from work and projects to personal care and everything in between. If you’re a parent, that list is especially long!
When we are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, we tend to have extra things on our to-do list, like working out and food prep and rest and time to de-stress.
These are all great things to do, but how are we supposed to fit them all into one day?! It can feel totally impossible (and sometimes, it is!).
Here are a few little hacks I use to get the most out of a day.
We Do Have Enough Time in a Day
But first, let’s face that old little lie that says there are not enough hours in a day. Guess what? There actually are enough hours in the day! For me, realizing and accepting this has been a bit of a game changer!
God gave us twenty-four hours in every single day! Twenty-four hours is the perfect amount of time. Any more, and we’d stuff our lives so full that we would probably die early, and any less, and we’d feel overwhelmed with feelings of not being able to get anything done. Most of us feel that way already! But if we realize that God knew exactly what He was doing when He gave us a day, and we trust Him to guide us with the use of that time, then we are able to accept the twenty-four hours and make the most of them!
We make the most of our days when our priorities are where they should be.
4 Ways to Get the Most out of Your Day
1. Put Relationships First
Sometimes we forget that relationships are good for our health! We feel like if we don’t have time to exercise and focus on ourselves, we won’t be as healthy. But one of the best things we can do for our health is to focus on others!
When we are putting others first, we are happier, less stressed, and more fulfilled. We also get the benefits of others investing in our lives. When you look at the cultures around the world where people live the longest and have the lowest rates of chronic illness, one of the most common factors is that they put a huge emphasis on relationships. They spend a lot of time together as families and communities. Other people are more important than their work or personal interests, at least when compared to American culture.
Our relationship with God is vital for our health as well. For our spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health! It is one of the only things we can do that benefits health in all four of those areas!
So, we need to put relationships first - our relationship with God, our relationship with our family, our relationship with our friends and other people in our communities - and we will be one step closer to health!
2. Have a Plan
We have talked about this in relation to healthy eating (see this article!), and it is equally true in our everyday lives: if we don’t have a plan, we are set up to fail.
Conversely, when we do have a plan, we are setting ourselves up to succeed!
It can be easy to make a plan that is impossible to actually follow. When this happens, we tend to become discouraged and give up.
Here are a few criteria for making a good plan that you will be able to follow:
Don’t fill every minute of the day, but save a little time for the extra things that will come up.
Prioritize enough time for the things that truly matter to you, rather than cutting it short to fit everything else in.
Put the biggest tasks first so you can get them finished sooner.
Make it enjoyable! It usually is best to get all of the most difficult and least fun things out of the way first; but if you tend to get easily discouraged, sprinkle in some small but fun activities between the big ones to keep yourself motivated and inspired.
Divide your tasks by categories into blocks of time so that you can move seamlessly from one to another. (For example, personal-care tasks can be put together: half hour workout, then half hour shower, then fifteen minutes to get dressed and do your hair. And put work-related projects together: half hour to catch up on emails, then a half hour to make some calls, then an hour to write, etc.)
Tell the people you live and work with about your plan. Explain to them how it works and at which times you will be doing which things. This way, they are able to respect your time and support you in your time management.
3. Make a Daily Schedule and a Weekly Schedule
I have found this to be extremely helpful! My daily schedule starts at the time I get up and goes until bedtime, but it has openings in it for the things I don’t do every day. Those items get put on my weekly schedule.
Here is what this could look like:
7:00 - get up and ready for day
7:30 - go to the gym
8:30 - breakfast and get kids ready for school
9:30 - quiet time to read, pray, etc.
10:30 - work
12:30 - lunch
1:00 - work
2:00 - meet a friend for coffee
3:00 - pick up kids and spend time with them
5:00 - cook dinner
6:00 - family dinner
7:00 - clean up house
8:00 - family time
10:00 - ready for bed
Sunday - rest, church, family time, dinner with friends
Monday - work, coffee date, family night
Tuesday - work, kids’ soccer
Wednesday - day off for projects (you can insert these into the work slot in your daily schedule), date night with spouse
Thursday - work, volunteer activities, clean the house
Friday - work, kids have friends over, family movie night
Saturday - family time, projects around the house, go on a little family trip, etc.
Obviously this is all just a sketch to give you an idea of what I am talking about! You can make it as personalized as you want and need to for your family and life.
4. Make a Daily and Weekly To-Do List
This is for the extra things that won’t be on your schedule, because they aren’t every-day or every-week type of things. Some examples for the weekly list would be things you don’t need to do on a specific day, like haircuts, getting the oil changed, scheduling an appointment with the realtor, or shopping. Examples of items for the daily list would be answering an important email, checking in on a sick friend, making lunches for the husband and kids to pack, or walking the neighbor’s dog.
It is important not to stress over what you can’t get done in a day! If you have deadlines you have to meet, then those can be at the top of your list, but don’t worry about the other things that don’t fit in. They can be done another day! The world will not end if you don’t get that grocery list made today, and stressing over it will only take away joy form today! So have a plan, make sure the plan is realistic, and do your best to stick to the plan - but don’t worry about the changes and unforeseen things that will come at you! They are part of life. We need to enjoy them and make the most of them and not stress over them!
I once hear d a pastor say that at the beginning of each day, he gives God permission to interrupt his day. I love this because even though God can do whatever He chooses, having that attitude of “this is my plan but I really want whatever you want for today” can help tremendously with being ok when things go differently than we had planned! Sometimes we will even realize later that our plan not working out was so much better for us!