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24 Steps for the Most Productive 24-Hour Day

24 Steps for the Most Productive 24-Hour Day

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” is a saying that demonstrates the need for time to create great things. Mastering a skill, craft, or habit can take a long time – sometimes years.

John Heywood, who was an English playwright from hundreds of years ago, put a remarkable twist onto this famous saying: “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.” According to Heywood, Rome is just the result and the bricks are the system. The system is greater than the goal.

Whether you want to launch a successful business, get promoted to a management position within your company, or invent the next big social media network, in order to reach your goal, a brick by brick approach is going to have to be taken from the moment you get up until the second you fall asleep.

Envisioning the entire day ahead of you can be a daunting task. Whether you have deadlines to meet, a flight to catch or important meetings to attend, making sure you have a positive outlook for the day ahead is crucial for being able to tackle issues and accomplish goals.

Throughout the span of 24 hours, a great deal of work can be achieved for the most productive 24-hour day.

1. Wake Up Early

This might sound difficult to pull off, but doing so will provide you with more time to accomplish important tasks and activities.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is known for getting up early and sending out company emails at 4:30 in the morning. According to an article by CBS, emails sent from 6 am to 7 am are about three times more likely to be opened than emails sent at 4 pm. Many CEOs and top-level executives wake up in the early morning. What is holding you back?

With limited distractions in the morning, this time has the potential to be your most productive part of the day.

2. Visually See Your Goals

Jeff Gittomore, author of The Sales Bible, suggests that you put your goals in front of your face. Write your goals on Post-It Notes on your bathroom mirror and read them twice a day until they’re accomplished. Then post them on your bedroom mirror.

Visually seeing your goals each and every day will not allow for you to forget about what you are trying to accomplish.  Looking at your goals each day will make your 24-hours more productive.

3. Watch Motivational Videos 

Let’s face it; projects at work aren’t going to go perfectly 100% of the time. It can be hard to stay motivated if something doesn’t go your way. Each day before you open your first email, watch a motivational clip online to get your mindset in the right place.

Zig Ziglar is a master for motivating individuals, businessmen and businesswomen.

When you watch a short and positive video to start the day, your mind will start thinking optimistically, which will provide you with a positive outlook for the day

4. Leave Drama Behind

If you want to be able to concentrate properly at work, there cannot be drama and stress weighing over your head. If you got into an argument with your significant other the night before, make sure to make up before you start the workday.

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According to helpguide.com, emotional intelligence is built by reducing stress. The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence will help reduce your stress level. This will lead to a more productive day.

5. Eat a Healthy Breakfast

According to WebMD, adults need to eat breakfast each and every day in order to perform at their optimal levels. Eating a wholesome, nutritious morning meal will get your body feeling great.

By recharging your brain and body, you’ll be more efficient in just about everything you do.

6. Write Down Daily Goals

The author of The Sales Bible, Jeffery Gittimore, suggested looking at your long-term goals each and every day.

There is nothing better than accomplishing a task from your “to-do” list and being able to cross it off your checklist. Writing down daily goals will help you stay more organized and accomplish more.

7. Stay Hydrated

When you are putting in long work hours over the course of 24 hours, it is vital to hydrate your body so it can perform mentally and physically at its peak level.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

Make sure to drink 8 glasses of water per day and you will see your energy levels over the course of the day start to increase.

8. Check Fewer Emails

In the digital age that we live in, it is hard to unplug from our desktop and mobile devices. This can also result in an obsession with checking email.

When you are constantly checking and responding to emails, you will be less productive with other tasks that you are trying to accomplish.

According to a study out of the University of British Columbia, the average person checks email 15 times a day. Amazingly, the study suggests three times is the right amount to keep added stress away.

Start checking your inbox less frequently and start accomplishing more. You will feel like a completely new person with the added time you have by not obsessing over your inbox J

9. Do Something that Makes You Happy

If you enjoy reading your local newspaper on the weekends, start incorporating this into your daily routine. If you are waking up earlier each day, there will be more time to do activities that you actually enjoy doing.

Life is too short not to enjoy each and every day. Incorporating an activity that makes you happy should be a part of your 24-hour schedule.

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10. Workout

The combination of work and family in addition to errands can make 24-hours seem like a short time span. Even if you don’t have the time for a long workout, doing some type of physical activity will be extremely beneficial for your health.

According to US News & World Report, exercising increases your productivity and gets your endorphins going.

Do a quick set of 25 pushups and 25 sit-ups each and every morning or in the evening before you go to bed. This will get your heart rate going and provide you with more energy.

Your physical and mental health will improve if you incorporate some type of workout into your daily routine.

11. Less Meetings

Thomas Sowell, an American economist, said, “The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.”

An article from Forbes suggests scheduling meetings for half of the time you originally intended to. If the meeting is scheduled for a shorter time span, the agenda can likely still get covered in a quicker and more efficient manner.

12. Reduced Commute Time

I have a business acquaintance in New York that commutes into the city 90-minutes each way.

Luckily, I am able to walk to my office within 10-minutes based off of the great location of my apartment. By having a much less drastic commute time, I’m able to save 15-hours per week compared to the New York businessman.

Sometimes, your living situation can be hard to change. If you have the opportunity to make your commute shorter, this can greatly increase your effectiveness in the office and enhance your overall style of life outside of the workplace.

Imagine having an extra 3-hours per day for either the gym or to read your favorite magazine? By reducing your commute time, this daily schedule change can become a reality.

13. Do something that makes you uncomfortable

Science has proven that doing something that scares you will make you more productive.

Whether you decide to strike up a conversation in the elevator with a stranger or cold a CEO to try and land a meeting, you should make it a goal each day to do 3-things that make you uncomfortable. Each day

We are creators of habit and are known to get stuck in monotonous routines. Doing something that makes you uncomfortable each day will allow for you to stand out amongst the competition and accomplish goals you never thought could be achieved.

14. Don’t Hold Grudges

The Mayo Clinic states that letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace.

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Grudges typically pertain to events that have happened in the past. Make sure to focus on the present moment and the future and not waste your time on something that can’t be changed from the past.

Confucius said it best. “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”

15. Reach Out to Influencers

Let’s say that you have been reading a specific sports blogs over the past few years and continue to find inspiration from this columnist. You like the content so much that you have contemplated starting your own sports blog!

Find this blogger’s contact information and reach out to him or her! Tell the blogger how much inspiration his or her articles have given you. You will be pleasantly surprised by how often someone will appreciate the kind words and respond to you.

Whether the response is through a tweet or an email, hearing back from someone to whom you look up can provide you with a huge boost of motivation.

If you reach out to someone you admire each day, the influential people that you will end up meeting will amaze you this will drastically grow your network.

16. Write A Journal Entry Each Day

Psychcentral.com states, “There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being.”

You can learn a lot from going back in time and looking through all of your journal entries. You will be able to see the growth you have achieved and remember both the good and bad times in your business and personal endeavors.

You never know if the journal entry from today will lead to your next big business endeavor or great invention. Venting in the form of written communication is also a great stress reliever.

17. Face-to-Face Meeting

With our reliance on social media and smart phones, face-to-face interaction seems to be forgotten at times.

Make sure to schedule a face-to-face meeting during your day. Whether this is with your best friend for happy hour or your college professor, it is always a nice feeling when you can talk with someone in-person about what is happening in your life.

If you hold more face-to-face meetings each day, more important events will happen in your life.

18. Don’t Multi-Task

Focus on just one task at a time and do it with your full focus. This creates less stress and will allow for better results and less chaos.

Don’t be scared to turn down projects. There is nothing worse than doing multiple projects with a mediocre result. Instead, focus on one-task and hit a homerun with that project.

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19. Drink Coffee

Some people might not need caffeine in their life, which is a great feat in and of itself!

Having a cup or two of coffee before lunch can give your workday a nice jump-start with the added fuel. Just make sure not to drink too much, otherwise you can be a jittery mess.

Drinking coffee on a daily basis can give you a nice boost of energy to accomplish more over the span of 24-hours.

20. Plan Ahead

At the end of each day, plan ahead and make a “to do” list for all of the tasks you need to accomplish for the following day. Completing and checking off the items on your list will help motivate you to accomplish your project goals. This will also reduce stress when you plan ahead.

Alan Lakein states it best. “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

21. Read Often

If you are in the real estate field, reading up on news within the industry help you stay fresh and relevant when it comes to your line of work.

Reading can also help you come up with fresh ideas. After all, if you are reading information pertinent to your industry, there will be many ideas that you have while observing the information.

Even if you read just for pleasure, this will help stimulate your brain on a daily basis while helping you develop more ideas. Start reading each day and incorporating this into your routine!

22. Organized Calendar

Maintaining a calendar for meetings, deadlines and events is an absolute must.

When there are a million and a half things taking place in your day, it is hard to remember information pertaining to the future. An organized calendar will help you be productive for future events.

23. Go to Bed Early

If you are watching television until midnight, you should change your habits and start getting a good eight hours of rest per night. Experts generally recommend seven to nine hours a night for healthy adults.

If you really want to make the most out of your 24-hours, you should start getting a good nights rest so you will have the proper energy to tackle all of the tasks that lay ahead of you.

24. Smile

Researchers at the University of Kansas found that the act of smiling has a positive effect on our happiness and physical health, helping the heart recover more quickly after stressful events.

More people want to be around someone that smiles. If you are happy, you will be amazed with what you will be able to accomplish with an optimistic attitude. Start smiling more each day and enjoying everything that your life has to offer. This will help in many areas of your life.

Featured photo credit: BigStock Photo via bigstockphoto.com

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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