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6 Top Ways to Improve Your Daily Routine

6 Top Ways to Improve Your Daily Routine

Are you always in a hurry yet never manage to complete your work before deadline? Are you consumed by jealousy for people who have a much greater workload but manage to do their job in half the time? You’ve probably tried to improve your daily routine, but with no results. Nobody has more than 24 hours in a day, but some people seem to always get much more done than others. How do they do it?

The answer certainly isn’t some supernatural ability: it is simply effective use of time. Just use your willpower and our tips to make the most of your everyday life. You’ll find that you’ll be able to improve your daily routine right away.

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1. Optimize your work

The best rest is change of work. Break up your workday into interchanging periods of 45 and 15 minutes, and switch between tasks. Try to make sure the tasks are completely different from one another. Looks like a waste of time? Try it out and see how your output changes.

2. Set up a schedule

In order to minimize time loss on transitions from one activity to another you should make sure you always know when and for how long you are going to do each task. If you always start doing something at exactly the same time every day it will soon become an ingrained habit, saving you precious minutes otherwise spent on deciding what to do next.

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3. Minimizing time wasted on routines

There are millions of tips on how to reduce time spent on mundane activities like cooking and home cleaning, but one thing works surprisingly well: set the amount of time you are willing to spend on them each week and each day and never exceed it. You will be surprised how resourceful you become in the face of a self-imposed deadline.

4. Include exercise in your daily schedule

More and more people today understand that physical exercise is good for them. What a lot of people don’t get is that in order to reap any benefits from exercise, it needs to be systematic, regular and, preferably, daily.

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If you really want to improve the quality of your life you should have at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. It will not only make you feel better, but also increase your clarity of mind, quality of sleep, and general productivity.

5. Maintaining your productivity throughout the day

Establish and define your workspace. This is especially important if you work at home, but even if you spend your day in a cubicle it will pay off. Make sure that the place where you work is exactly this—the place where you work. It shouldn’t be associated with any other activities, like chatting or watching TV.

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In addition, make sure your workspace is healthy. It should get plenty of light and air and your chair and desk should be comfortable. Again, if you work at home it may be a good idea to do a mold testing. The presence of harmful molds may severely affect the quality of air, which in turn will affect your productivity and may have long-term health consequences.

6. Use tools that will help you concentrate

In the Internet age distractions are perhaps an even greater enemy of productivity than at any previous historical period. But in order to fight them you may be able to use the very place they come from. The Web is rife with online tools that help you concentrate on the task at hand. Some block distracting sites while you work, others help you track how much time you waste, others isolate you from social networks.

Only you can define how productive your life is going to be. Figure out how to really improve your daily routine and you may accomplish twice as much as you used to, in half the time. Hopefully these tips will help you make the first step.

Featured photo credit: Deadlines/Flee via flickr.com

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Melissa Burns

Melissa is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. She writes about communication, entrepreneurship and success on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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