How do you feel about habits? Have you ever thought about what kinds of things help you make the most of your time and enjoy your day?
Let’s face it – whether you’re still in sweats at home in quarantine, working from home in your office, or out at your job in the world, life has the tendency to get the better of us sometimes. It’s important to recognize what works and doesn’t work during the day to keep you healthy, energized, and ready to do whatever needs to be done.
Building habits can be a powerful strategy to set yourself up for success and make the most out of your day. Here are the four that have helped me the most:
1. Start the day by drinking water.
I leave my water bottle right next to my bed and I have gotten in the habit of gulping down some of it right when I get up in the morning. Not only will this help you hydrate and feel better in the long run, but drinking water in the morning helps to “wake up” your organs and therefore helps you feel more energized faster.
So many people start their day with drinking coffee (myself included!) but don’t realize that they are already dehydrated and the caffeine isn’t helping their body to function as well as it could. Drinking water first thing in the morning, before coffee or any caffeinated drink, is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success.
2. Make the bed.
Now, I’ve heard different reasons for this one. Some people say that it’s important because a cleaner, more organized space helps you be more productive, and that certainly helps! But for me it’s a little different. I make my bed every morning when I get up simply because if the bed is already made, I am so much less likely to get back into it.
I am totally prone to crawling back into bed if it looks comfy, especially if I don’t have any sort of early commitment, but if I do that then it could lead to hours of lying there snoozing or watching Netflix, and by the time I look up, half the day is gone. So, to avoid that, I make the bed and take away that option.
3. Gratitude practice/checking your mood.
I have a practice that I do in the mornings that basically allows me to briefly assess how I’m feeling that morning, and what I can do about it. As in, did I wake up grumpy? Maybe I need to listen to music or have an extra cup of coffee with my favorite caramel creamer.
Then I write down a few things I’m grateful for, both big and small. Starting the day with gratitude can put you in an already-positive mindset.
Once I’ve assessed my mood and written my gratitude list, I think about any challenges I might face during that day and how I could potentially conquer them. The whole process only has to take a few minutes, but it opens my mind and makes me feel ready for the day. If you would like to know more about my gratitude/mood setting practice I do in the morning, I explain it in more detail here!
4. Make a list for the day.
Not everyone is into lists, but for me they really help. I find satisfaction in checking things off, so each morning I write a list on my whiteboard of things to do, and every night I erase it so it’s clean for the next day. Even if it’s a day I don’t have to work or be anywhere, I still make that list and put the things I intend to do. It may sound silly, but if I know it’s the weekend and I’m going to watch tv shows, I will put that on the list.
- Yesterday I didn’t work and so my list consisted of:
- Go on a run
- Eat ice cream
I know it sounds ridiculous, but I had every intention of doing all of those things, and it made me feel accomplished and like I was allowing myself to live freely when I could cross off both running and Netflix – both ends of the spectrum.
5. Do an afternoon check-in, and recognize when you need a pick-me-up.
Some days I am totally fine, but other days I notice myself – like many other people – getting sluggish and tired at specific times (usually in the early to mid-afternoon). Instead of trying to trudge through it and struggle past the drowsiness, I try to do something about it.
If I’m working at home and can afford to take a twenty-minute nap, I’ll lay down and set an alarm. If that’s not possible, I consider a coffee, or go for a ten-minute walk outside. This obviously depends on the situation but the point is, if you’re feeling sluggish and need a pick-me-up, if at all possible, don’t try to fight it. Give yourself a break or whatever kind of little boost you need, and more often than not you will come back feeling re-energized.
How you start your day can often have a big impact on your overall mood and productivity for the day. These five habits have definitely helped me to alter my mindset and make the most of my time, but everyone’s situation is going to be different. There are lots of options out there that can help boost your mood and get you to where you need to be. If something’s not working, change it! Try something new.
What helps you make the most of your day?