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The Best Productivity Apps for Your Shiny New iPad

The Best Productivity Apps for Your Shiny New iPad

    Last week we tried to help answer the question of if you should buy Apple’s latest creation in the iPad 2. Even though I am a tad bit skeptical of the iPad 2 being such a great upgrade from the first gen model, I can in no way say that it isn’t the best tablet on the market at this very moment, especially for the price. And with the long lines and sell outs of iPad 2 on Friday, it appears that many consumers think it’s the best too.

    We have also discussed several weeks ago how tablets can actually be decent productivity devices, even with their lack of fast input with a full, physical keyboard. I have been using my iPad 1 since its release and have to admit that it is my go to device for keeping my action lists, reviewing and adding to my calendar, and reviewing documents and documentation.

    So, with new iPad in hand, let’s find some of the best productivity apps for iPad and iPad 2 to get you started.

    Action Lists and GTD

      Toodledo

      Toodledo for iPad literally feels like an extension of the web app that many GTD fans have deemed as the center of their system. The sync is fast and the ways that you can manipulate your lists is top notch.

      Universal app: $2.99

       

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        Things

        Considered to be one of the best GTD apps by many Mac-heads, Things is a streamlined, easy to use actions and projects app for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac. It is on the pricey side, but many users say that it is totally worth it for the workflow.

        No universal app: $19.99

          Omnifocus

          Considered by this Mac-head to be the best GTD application in the Apple realm for iOS and Mac OS X. Omnifocus has got some David Allen backing and is definitely a premium app for iOS which you can tell by the pricing. One of the best functions that I have found is location aware contexts. On a side note, if you want full desktop sync on OS X, you are going to have to pay another $79.99.

          No universal app: $39.99

            Todo

            Todo is a beautiful list application that syncs with the Todo web app or with Toodledo online. Todo does a good job of using the iPad’s screen real estate by giving the user the feeling of using a paper planner. You can also change the look and feel of the theme of your planner which gives this app a nice touch.

            No universal app: $4.99

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              Pocket Informant HD

              Pocket Informant has been around for a while, with its start coming from Windows Mobile. PI has done a good job of allowing you to hash your action lists and calendars in any way that you like. PI also syncs with Toodledo or even with Outlook with the download of a desktop app.

              No universal app: $14.99

              Notes and Document Creation

                iWork Suite

                We couldn’t forget the iWork suite that Apple created for the launch of the iPad last year. I have to say that Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iPad show me what developers can actually do when developing for these tablet devices. If you have to create or edit documents that contain tables, formulas, etc. then the iWork suite is the best on iPad.

                No universal app: $9.99 each Pages, Numbers, and Keynote

                  Evernote

                  Evernote is the most ubiquitous digital note-taking tool. Period. I am not exactly sure how any of my projects would get done without this awesome tool.

                  Universal app: Free

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                    Simplenote

                    Simplenote is just that; a simple way to take notes. Simplenote allows you to take as many plain text notes as you want and then can sync them to the cloud via their web app. If you are one of those minimalist productivity types, then Simplenote is the way to take notes on your iPad.

                    Universal app: Free

                      Catch Notes

                      Catch Notes (used to be 3Banana Notes) reminds one of Simplenote with some added features like tagging and “hash-linking” your notes together. I used Catch Notes a lot back on Android, but decided to consolidate everything into Evernote to simplify.

                      Universal app: Free

                        Documents To Go

                        If you don’t want to give all of your money to Apple by buying their iWork suite but still need a way to edit Office documents, then your next best bet will be Documents To Go. Docs To Go has been around for a while now and has created a decent productivity suite on iOS at a decent price.

                        Universal App: Documents to Go $9.99 | Documents To Go Premium (includes Dropbox sync, Google Docs sync, email attachments, etc.) $14.99

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                        Miscellaneous

                          Stock Calendar and Contacts

                          I have yet to find better contact and calendar management than the stock apps provided by Apple. Also, they are deeply integrated into iOS. This means that other apps will use them to add items to your calendar or use contact information. Apple has done a great job of using the size of the iPad’s screen to give you more information and better navigation while browsing.

                          Free, comes with your iPad!

                            Dropbox

                            I and many others consider Dropbox to completely change the way that you store your files, especially if you work cross-platform. Dropbox for iPad takes advantage of the screen and also gives you previews of your documents, photos, and media. You can open your documents in whatever app you have installed that supports that type of media.

                            Universal app: Free

                              Mindnode

                              If you are like me, then you think in mindmaps. If that is the case then the best mindmapping software for iOS for the price is Mindnode. There is something visceral about creating mindmaps on a large touchscreen device; it feels much more natural than point and clicking with a mouse, often resulting in more dynamic and free-flowing brainstorm sessions.

                              Universal app: $5.99

                                Goodreader

                                This is the first app that I purchased for my iPad to read and review documents and PDFs and can’t say that I have spent a better five bucks in my life. Goodreader syncs with just about any cloud-based document service you can think of (Dropbox, Sugarsync, Box.net, Google Docs, etc).

                                No universal app: $4.99

                                More by this author

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                                1Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You 2The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Skyrockets Your Success 3How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster 4How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide) 524 Best Habit Tracking Apps (2018 Updated)

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                                Last Updated on August 20, 2018

                                Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You

                                Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You

                                We all have habits. Big or small, healthy or unhealthy, our habits combine to form routines that play out every day for us. Most of this is done without us even having to think. That’s why even though we understand the importance of having good habits, sometimes it’s tough to stick to a healthy daily routine.

                                Today, you’ll learn more about why setting a routine can be a challenge. By understanding the root causes for your behaviors, you’ll learn how to make changes and stick with them. You’ll also discover some positive daily routines that can lead you to a healthier and happier life.

                                Finding and adopting the right daily routine will re-energize you and help you regain wasted time. Your mind and body will thank you for the decreased anxiety and extra care you’ve given it. Here’s to a healthier, calmer, and higher-achieving you.

                                How a daily routine saves you tons of time

                                Your daily routine consists of all of your habits. These actions structure your day and make the difference between operating at peak efficiency and struggling to make it through a poorly-planned day.

                                You can have energizing, time-saving routines, or you can adopt draining, inefficient routines. The choice is up to you. Don’t feel bad if you know that some unhealthy habits have crept into your day. The important thing is to recognize them so that you can make a change.

                                An excellent daily routine sets you up for success. If you make just one change that saves you 10 minutes per day, you can regain 60 hours of your precious time back each year.[1]

                                Having a daily routine not only makes you more efficient, it also eliminates your need to waste time deciding what to do next.[2] It’ll help you build good habits and break bad ones.[3] It seems counter-intuitive, but adding some structure to your life can set you free.

                                Best daily routines for a healthy, calm and higher-achieving life

                                It takes time to become the best version of yourself but I’ll help you to make it easier by getting you a few healthy daily routine examples to follow directly:

                                • Daily routine for good health and more energy
                                • Daily routine for an organized life
                                • Daily routine for more productive work
                                • Daily routine for a stronger relationship

                                Pick one routine to stick to first

                                , and then gradually combine one more routine to fit into your life each week. In less than 2 months, you will be living a healthy and successful lifestyle in autopilot.

                                Daily routine for good health and more energy

                                  Morning routine

                                  1. Start your day with a glass of lemon water

                                  Simply add the juice of half a lemon to your glass and drink it to enjoy a refreshing start to the day.

                                  Lemon juice reduces your body’s acidity levels, which in turn protects you against inflammatory diseases such as fungal infections and osteoporosis.[4]

                                  2. Exercise

                                  Working out early in the morning improves your energy levels, improves your circulation, and encourages good lymphatic function. Just 20 minutes every day can make a difference! Mix up cardio and weights throughout the week for all-over toning and general health.

                                  Getting on the scale each morning is also an effective way to monitor your weight. Don’t go weeks without weighing yourself, because this allows you to remain in denial about any weight gain![5]

                                  3. Eat a good breakfast

                                  Fuel yourself with a healthy mix of protein, slow-release carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Sensible options include yogurt with nuts and berries, a vegetable omelette, and low-sugar granola bars with a piece of fruit.

                                  4. Stay hydrated and snack smart

                                  Did you know that becoming even slightly dehydrated can lead to lowered mood and decreased concentration? Keep water or other low-sugar drinks on hand to sip throughout the day.[6]

                                  When it comes to snacking, pick foods that will give you a slow release of energy. Pairing a protein with a complex carbohydrate is a smart choice. For example, try half an apple spread with peanut butter. Check out for more healthy snack ideas here.

                                  Afternoon routine

                                  5. Get a healthy lunch

                                  Even the busiest of us can grab a healthy lunch. You just need to think ahead!

                                  For lunch ideas you can make in advance and take with you to work, check out this post: Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work

                                  Avoid too much fat at lunch time, as it promotes afternoon lethargy, which isn’t going to help you get through a busy day![7] If you are watching your weight, track everything you eat using an app like MyFitnessPal.

                                  6. Take some mid-afternoon exercise

                                  Most of us have a mid-afternoon “slump” somewhere between 2 p.m and 4 p.m, but you can keep yourself going through the day by choosing a healthy lunch and taking some moderate exercise in the afternoon. This doesn’t have to strenuous. Just a 10-minute walk and a few stretches at your desk can work wonders. Check out this list of 29 exercises you can do at (or near) your desk.

                                  Evening routine

                                  7. Dinner

                                  With a plethora of meal planning apps out there, getting a quick but healthy dinner on the table has never been easier! Use an app like Mealime to help you organize your grocery list so that you always have the right ingredients to hand. Be realistic – choose something that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort to throw together, otherwise you may resort to takeout.

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                                  Green vegetables are always a great choice, as they are packed with antioxidants and have an alkalinizing effect. Choose plant-based proteins such as tofu or seitan or, if you prefer animal protein, pick fish and lamb rather than beef or chicken to minimize acidity levels in the body.[8]

                                  Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, because it will prevent you sleeping soundly at night.

                                  8. Take time to relax

                                  It’s normal to feel stressed from time to time, but high stress levels leave you vulnerable to a number of health conditions and problems including depression and elevated blood pressure.

                                  Find a healthy activity that relaxes you, then set aside some time every day to do it! This could be journaling, reading an inspiring book, spending time with a pet, meditating, or simply taking a few minutes to remind yourself of everything that is going well in your life.

                                  9. Take vitamin C supplement before going to sleep

                                  Take half a teaspoon of buffered vitamin C powder in a glass of water before turning in for the night.

                                  This is a quick, effective means of reducing the acidity in your body. It will also ensure that you go to bed well-hydrated, which will help you wake up with a clear head.

                                  10. Go to sleep at a reasonable hour.

                                  It sounds obvious, but if you want to feel your best then you must get enough sleep. Most experts recommend that we get between 6-10 hours of sleep per night.[9] Some of us can get by on six hours, but be honest with yourself – if you feel better having had more sleep, bear it in mind when setting your alarm clock.

                                  Turn off your phone and computer at least an hour before bed, and avoid vigorous exercise in the late evening. These measures will help you wind down when it’s time for sleep.

                                  Daily routine for an organized life

                                    Before work rituals

                                    1. Make your bed in the morning

                                    Start the day off right by making your bed. It’s a quick chore that will put you in a productive, organized frame of mind.[10]

                                    2. Have your workout equipment and clothing ready the night before

                                    If you like to work out, the morning is the best time to do it! It will leave you feeling full of energy and will give you a sense of accomplishment before you leave the house. Whether you like to go for a walk, take a gym class or do yoga in your bedroom, make sure that you have all the equipment and clothing you need laid out and ready the night before.

                                    3. Spray down and wipe the largest surfaces in the bathroom

                                    After your morning shower, spray down and wipe the largest surfaces in your bathroom. It’s much easier and more fun to do mini-cleans throughout the week than wait until the weekend![11]

                                    4. Put everything back where you found it after breakfast

                                    When you’ve made your breakfast, put everything back exactly where you found it – this makes everything easier the morning after. If you notice that you are running low on a grocery item, add it to a list you can take with you next time you pass the grocery store.

                                    5. Run through a list of your essential items before you leave the house

                                    Before you leave the house, run through a list of your essential items such as your wallet, employee badge, water bottle, and so on. Keep a list of these items near your front door so that you can quickly check your purse or bag before heading out the door. Don’t try to de-clutter or re-organize a room before work, as this will just add to your stress levels!

                                    When you arrive at work

                                    6. Prioritize your tasks

                                    Make a list of tasks and decide whether they are important, urgent, both, or neither. Start with important and urgent tasks, move onto the important and non-urgent tasks, then tackle the unimportant but urgent jobs. Writing a task list gives you a sense of control.

                                    7. Prioritize your emails

                                    Before you start your day, spend 10 minutes prioritizing your e-mails. We all receive so many messages each day that we can’t hope to reply to them all! Get into the habit of deciding which ones need your urgent attention, which are important, which are both, and which are neither.

                                    Check your e-mails every couple of hours rather than every few minutes, because frequent interruptions will impair your concentration and productivity.

                                    During your coffee break

                                    8. Keep your finances on track

                                    Take a couple of minutes to keep your finances on track. Check your bank balance, and make sure that you’re sticking to your budget! You can also use apps to help you manage your money, including Mint.

                                    9. Think about what you are going to have for dinner

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                                    Do you need to pick anything up from the grocery store on the way home? Do you need to look up a recipe? This only takes a few minutes, but a bit of planning can save a lot of time later. Why not use a meal planning app such as Mealime?

                                    At lunchtime

                                    10. Make personal calls or send personal emails (when necessary)

                                    This is the perfect opportunity to make any personal calls or send personal e-mails. For example, you could schedule that dental appointment you’ve been putting off, or finally reply to that e-mail from your aunt. These little chores can seem overwhelming when you get home from work and just want to relax, so do them at lunch.

                                    11. Clear your desk before you leave your desk

                                    Take five minutes to clear your work desk before you leave for your break. It will help you feel more organized when you return.

                                    Afternoon routine

                                    12. Quickly review your to-do list

                                    If you aren’t making as much progress as you hoped, it’s time to rewrite it!

                                    13. Carry out mundane and easy tasks

                                    If possible, carry out mundane and easy tasks such as replying to simple e-mails a couple of hours after lunch, when your energy will naturally hit a slump. In general, as the day goes on, we lose the capacity to make lots of high-level decisions.

                                    Try to schedule your more complex tasks for the morning. On the other hand, important and urgent tasks must always take priority.

                                    14. Neat your desk before you leave the office

                                    Spend the last 10 minutes of your workday neatening your desk and your computer desktop. This will help you stay organized the following morning.

                                    Evening routine

                                    15. Put everything you’ve worn on that day the same place you took from

                                    Always put your coat, purse, and other possessions away in the same place the moment you get in the door. Otherwise, they might go missing!

                                    16. Do the dishes immediately after dinner

                                    Otherwise, you might be tempted to sit down in front of the TV and get distracted.[12]

                                    17. After dinner, spend 10 minutes doing a quick de-clutter.

                                    Set a timer, choose an area of your home, and get busy! It’s an easy way to see quick results, and will make you feel more in control of your possessions.

                                    Bedtime routine

                                    18. Lay out your clothes and accessories for the next day

                                    This ensures that you don’t have to think about what to wear the next morning.[13] You can even lay out your breakfast dishes![14]

                                    19. Do a “brain dump” of all your ideas and tasks for tomorrow.

                                    This is helpful if you tend to lie awake worrying about what you need to do the next day. Once you have written them down, you can go to sleep knowing that you can refer to the list when you wake up.

                                    Daily routine for more productive work

                                      Before work rituals

                                      1. Plan for the upcoming work the night before

                                      Some of the most effective and productive people get started on their daily routine the night before.

                                      Think of this as the planning stage, at this time you might find it useful to plot out your day in blocks of time, with a specific activity planned for each. This is commonly known as the time blocking method.

                                      Using this method ensures that you don’t end up multitasking which can have a negative impact on your productivity. As the president, Barack Obama often got ready for his day the night before by reviewing what he needed to accomplish.[15]

                                      2. Wake up at a time that works for you (and sticks to it every day)

                                      This may sound counter intuitive, it is often imagined that the most productive people are those that can wake up at dawn, and continue into the evening. But the 9-5 work day might not necessarily suit everyone.[16]

                                      I’m not suggesting that people work less, but someone who works from 10-6 works for just as long as someone who works 9-5, and that extra hour in bed may mean that they’re more fresh and ready to work.

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                                      Often you might not have a choice in what time you get up, after all, if you are expected at work at 09:00, you can’t be in bed at that time, but if you have any flexibility at all, consider what works best for you.

                                      3. Eat a good breakfast 

                                      As also mentioned in the Daily Routine for Good Health, once you have woken up, it is very important to eat well. You need something that will give you a good boost of energy, all the while keeping you full. A good idea is oatmeal with a smoothie or a healthy fruit juice.

                                      Check out 30 Healthy And Tasty Recipes For Breakfast That You Can Make The Night Before for more healthy breakfast choices that are easy-to-make and will keep you energetic.

                                      Back to work rituals

                                      4. Ensure a clean workspace which is distractions free

                                      A few years ago a study at Princeton University concluded that if in your field of vision, there are many forms of visual stimuli, your brain will spread its focus and attention to each piece.[17] In another word, if your desk is cluttered, your ability to focus on the task at hand.

                                      Simply clearing your desk of distractions therefore, can have a great impact on your focus, and with it, your productivity.

                                      5. Don’t check emails first

                                      Mornings are a great time to do productive work that requires focus, creativity, and strategy. Clearing out the inbox gives you a false sense of achievement, and wastes the opportunity to engage your brain in more proactive tasks. Though you may have read a lot of emails, you have nothing important done.

                                      Unless your job revolves around emails checking and replying only, never make checking emails your first thing to do when you’re back to work. Instead, focus on your goals and do what really matters.

                                      6. Tackle the worst thing first

                                      Start your working day by tackling the most difficult or most pressing task first, the task that will most likely encourage you to procrastinate. This is the philosophy put forward by Brian Tracy in his book Eat That Frog.

                                      The benefit of this is simple. Even if you accomplish little else that day, you can be happy with the knowledge that you did something important. Also, by doing the most difficult thing first, everything else will be easier.

                                      7. Take a quick nap or meditate

                                      When setting up a routine, it can be easy to forget the most important activity – resting. Humans simply aren’t built for working all day, every day without a break. If you don’t consider this in your routine, there is a danger that you will lose energy and enthusiasm all together and burn out, thereby killing your productivity altogether. This can be mitigated by making sure to making sure you get some rest.

                                      One way to do this is by picking a reasonable time to stop working, another is to take a quick nap, others recommend meditation. It all depends on your preference.

                                      8. Say no to unreasonable requests

                                      This can be the hardest things on this list, but it can be one of the most effective. Adding extra tasks and jobs to your day can immediately throw your routine off balance, and it will negatively impact you day’s productivity.

                                      As such, declining and saying no to extra tasks (that are unreasonably urgent or are unimportant) can be the key to staying productive. After all, doing one thing really well is more important than doing several things badly.

                                      Sometimes you may be forced to say yes and accept new tasks, but this won’t always be the case. Feel free to say no some times.

                                      9. Finish up and off on time

                                      By remaining focused on specific tasks, you won’t feel overwhelmed and overworked as you’re totally in control. And because you have things all planned out, you saved tons of energy from making unnecessary decisions.

                                      As you should have tackled all the hardest things by now, the rest of the day should be far easier too.

                                      Daily routine for a stronger relationship

                                        Morning routine

                                        1. Kiss each other goodbye

                                        How often do you rush out of the door with a quick peck on the cheek and a ‘see you later!’ Maybe you’ve got to the stage where you don’t even do that anymore. It’s important to really take the time to say goodbye.

                                        Create 3-5 minutes in your morning routine to just be with your partner and properly say goodbye. Kiss each other meaningfully and take in the moment. It’s important not to get in such a rush that these small gestures don’t get overlooked.

                                        During daytime

                                        2. Create little daily rituals when you’re together and apart

                                        Creating small actions that are meaningful to both of you can build a sense of connection and these can carry on throughout your day when you’re apart.

                                        Find a certain song you sing to each other when you bring a cup of coffee. Leave a message on the fogged up mirror for your partner to discover or leave little notes in the car or biscuit tin. Text a joke of the day on your lunch breaks.

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                                        These types of rituals bring a sense of positive expectation and bonding – something only the two of you share together. Without these, relationships can become stale.

                                        Evening routine

                                        3. Kiss each other hello

                                        Again, these moments can get looked over once the initial spark of a relationship has died down. We often walk in the door exhausted, maybe even irritable, and we don’t take the time to connect.

                                        Spend a good amount of time saying hello to each other. Kiss, cuddle, ask how each other is or don’t say anything at all and take in the embrace. Physical touch in silence is equally powerful.

                                        It’s very easy to neglect this simple routine where it becomes a habit to not do it anymore.

                                        4. Schedule regular date nights

                                        This is particularly important when you have kids. When your lives are controlled by children and extra responsibilities, your relationship can get overlooked. This is when things can breakdown and intimacy gets lost no matter how much you love each other.

                                        Schedule regular date nights where you can be free from responsibilities and really connect with each other. Use this time to check in with how each other is feeling, and most importantly, have fun. Keep reconnecting with the reasons you fell in love in the first place.

                                        5. Create a bonding bedtime routine

                                        When the doors are closed and you’ve finally fallen into bed, it’s easy to want to fall asleep but bedtime is a wonderful time to get connected with your partner not only in a physical way but in an emotional way too.

                                        Try to go to bed at the same time and use it as your couple time. Pillow talk is a great time to bond. While you’re in a relaxed state, talk about your days at work, any concerns or even future plans. Communication and talking things out is the best habit you can have as a couple. Just make sure you take the time to really listen to each other with respect and an open mind – always ending the night on a positive note.

                                        Regular relationship habits

                                        6. Say thank you to each other

                                        Whether it’s in the morning, evening or a text in the day, remember to express gratitude to your partner.

                                        Feeling thankful is a powerful way to create love in a relationship because it benefits both of you. Really feel gratitude for something they’ve done – even if it was something small two months ago. It’s impossible to feel gratitude and negative feelings at the same time so this can really strengthen your love for each other.

                                        7. Use your partner’s love language

                                        A lot of bad communication and feelings of neglect are down to not understanding each others love language. There are 5 key ways people express love and two people could have two completely different languages leading to misunderstandings.

                                        Find out each others’ love language and try to use it to show your love throughout the morning, day or evening. Your partner may express love through physical touch whereas you express your love through words or gifts. One isn’t better than the other but finding out which one is important to each of you and acting accordingly will help your relationship to flourish.

                                        How to stick to your routine like glue

                                        When you do something and no immediate harm comes to you, your brain assumes that it’s safe to continue doing the activity. Overcoming a habit that feels comfortable to you requires impressive amounts of willpower.

                                        Reaching for a snack or scrolling through social media can sabotage healthy plans by flooding your brain with dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. That dopamine release causes you to want to continue the action whether or not it’s good for you.

                                        There may be quite a few things that ought to change in your life. Changing too many habits at once can be difficult and discouraging.[18]

                                        On top of all that, we only have so much mental bandwidth to devote to making decisions. When decision fatigue sets in, we’re likely to revert to whatever is easiest, even if we know it’s unhealthy.[19]

                                        Biting off more than you can chew is a surefire way to fail. Instead, pick one routine, and work on that. Or better, pick one habit and stick to that first.

                                        Try this guide if you aren’t sure how to build habits that stick:

                                        6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick

                                        Before long, you can completely reconfigure your day. Slow and steady wins the race.

                                        Change your routine and improve your life

                                        You can’t change your entire life overnight, but you can gradually change your lifestyle and routines.

                                        Upgrading your daily routine is a commitment. By starting small and being realistic, you can develop healthy rituals and efficient routines that help you get the most out of life.

                                        Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

                                        Reference

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