Optimizing your life. What does that even mean? For me, it means staying organized in order to make the most out of each day but also finding fulfillment in each and every day.
Each day we wake up and we are faced with tasks and a list of things to accomplish. We are also faced with lots of distractions that prevent us from getting to them. How do we minimize the distractions then in order to be productive? Beyond that, our days cannot just be about crossing things off the list. They also should also incorporate our relationships. Our relationships with friends and family and our relationship with ourselves.
So what does it take then to have an optimal day? While there might not be a clear cut answer, I do find making small improvements to the actions we take every day, greatly improves personal satisfaction and efficiency in every aspect of life.
How to Optimize Your Life
A Good Planner Is Key
One of the top priorities in having an effective day is staying organizing. A good planner is key. Planners are no longer just for keeping track of appointments. They help set and maintain goals and help with long term planning! I personally lean towards paper planners. This is the one I love and have used the past two years!
The way this planner is organized allows me to sit down at the beginning of each month and layout my personal, health, work and financial goals. From there, it is broken into a monthly and weekly grid with plenty of space for writing things down.
In addition to sitting down at the start of each month to layout goals, I sit down each Sunday morning with my planner and organize my week. From there, I prioritize. Kids activities always go on the calendar first. Then, concrete appointments such as the doctor or hairdresser. After that, my workouts. And then the rest with other tasks I want to complete. I also aim to prioritize at least one of my goals for the month into my weekly scheduling.
I have said it before but I cannot stress enough how much time it saves to meal plan, prep and grocery shop for the week on a Sunday. Once you learn how to prioritize this, you will realize how much more efficient your week becomes. By spending two to three hours on Sunday to prepare most of your meals for the week, you will save a good chunk of time each day wondering what to make, which avoids you from making multiple runs to the grocery store. Besides time, you don’t waste nearly as much food and are much more likely to eat healthy.
Minimize Your Closet
A change I made to my life last year that has made a profound effect on my daily life is minimizing my closet and working with a capsule wardrobe. Having a capsule wardrobe in place saves time and money, reduces impulse purchasing and lessens the worry about what to wear each day. And once you commit to a minimalist wardrobe, it helps you to apply the same philosophy to other areas of your life!
Make Working Out a Priority
Form the habit of giving your body the exercise you need for creating optimum health. My workouts are one of my top priorities each week. It took me a long time to get here. There was always something I felt I had to accomplish first during the day and I let my workouts get pushed to the side. Now, I start each week with a goal of how many workouts I want to get in and I schedule them. Once they are added to the calendar, everything else has to work around them.
Contrary to what it might sound like, this actually is meant to help you streamline your day, not add to it. What I mean is that I take an everyday or mundane task and balance it out with an enjoyable one. For instance, every day my dogs need to be walked. When my husband is home, we always do this together. It allows us to catch up with one another and discuss the kids schedule for the evening. When my husband is not with me, I use the time to catch up on calls.
With household work, I listen to a podcast or book on tape. When the kids are doing their homework at the kitchen table after school, I dinner prep just to be in the same room as them. In order to stay connected with friends regularly, I will schedule a workout or a yoga class with them during the week.
Structure Your Day Around Your Brain When Is At Its Peak
I am absolutely the most productive in the morning. I love being up before anyone else-as early as five most days- where I can enjoy the peace and quiet of the house with a hot cup of coffee. My brain is alert and I write most of my blog posts during this time. I also catch up on the news, answer and draft emails and get to lingering texts. Some people are the complete opposite and work best at night. Whatever the case might be, carve out the time in your day to get the most done when you are most alert!
Do One Thing For Yourself Each Day
It can be as simple as lighting a candle, reading a chapter in a book, journaling or drawing a bath at night or it can be along the lines of scheduling a massage or a lunch date with your girlfriends.
This is a new priority for me this year! I talked about it at length in this post here. In summary it means taking the time away from your regular routine to be free from distractions and instead being alone with your thoughts. It is the simplicity of unplugging.
Thanks for stopping by!