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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 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, 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.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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