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24 Steps for the Most Productive 24-Hour Day

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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.

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Featured photo credit: BigStock Photo via bigstockphoto.com

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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