We’ve all been in situations where we’ve said to ourselves “I should have done this sooner” or “I wish I didn’t procrastinate”. The task(s) that we “wish we did sooner” may have seemed unimportant in those moments of procrastination, but we all know that they turned out to be critical in the end when we needed them done! Whether it be studying for an exam, eating healthier, applying for a job, or even doing the laundry, I’m telling you that it’s the little changes that matter the most.
A lot of people are afraid of change and what it might do to them, but small day to day changes are what establish habits and structure in our lives. Once good habits are developed, positive change spills over into other parts of our lives, like our jobs and relationships. Owning a business with my Mom has made me think about efficiency in a new way and has helped me realize that if I’m not able to make little changes in my everyday life, then I can’t expect for big changes to happen.
I took some time a while back to think about all of the things that I needed to get done and about what daily activities made me feel the most satisfied. A lot of the changes I’ve made are mind & body related, but it makes sense because we all know that if you’re happy and healthy, almost everything else in life seems easier and less stressful. I’ve created an easy-to-follow guide on the little changes I’ve made in my life that I think everyone should take a crack at too!
1. USE AN AGENDA – Get organized, Be organized, Stay organized
Using a daily planner or an agenda is a must if you want to get, be, and stay organized. I have always been the organized type myself, but I do find that sometimes I forget things and lose track of what I need to do. I personally think that a physical paper and pen agenda is the best, but there are apps that you can use too! I say this because they are touchable and therefore they encourage you to get into the practice of writing down important things. I have tried online agendas but I find that because I’m on my phone so often I end up ignoring reminders or swiping them away! Here are the reasons why you should use an agenda:
- It reduces stress; replaces having to remember every task, meeting, or event yourself
- It creates self-discipline; you get into the habit of writing important things down, and simultaneously develop organizational skills
- It helps you get more done; it makes you aware of free time you might not normally be aware of and therefore presents time for you to get more things done in
- It helps with goal setting; get an agenda that has a note section and scribble away when you think of goals and ideas! These could be daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly goals and because you are constantly checking your agenda you’re constantly reminded of what you need to do
- *TIP* invest in a stylish agenda like the ones below so that you actually enjoy writing in it. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about a chic Kate Spade agenda!
2. MAKE LISTS
I’ve always been a list-maker, and whether or not that’s you, a list can always help to keep you on top of the tasks you want to complete! I like to make lists whenever I know I’m going to have free time, this might be in the morning on the weekend or when I get home from work in the evening. When I make a list I like to challenge myself, or in other words, make it almost unreasonable for the amount of time that I have to complete it. It might not work for everyone, and some people may be overwhelmed by a long list of tasks, but I find that it prevents me from being able to sit down and scroll through social media without feeling guilty. Efficiency is key!
3. WRITE DOWN THE THINGS YOU’VE BEEN PUTTING OFF
Here’s a weird example; I like to clean all of my white shoes, especially sneakers. Is it something that I enjoy doing? Not exactly. But it’s one of those tasks that I tend to put off until the minute that I need to wear them and they’re speckled with dirt. Kind of like I mentioned at the beginning of this post! What helps me to take action and do the things that I put off is writing them down. I recently bought a pretty glass whiteboard from Ikea and I’m constantly writing down the tasks that I don’t really enjoy doing but need to be done. Having them right infront of my face everyday forces me to get ‘em done! (it’s just a bonus that the board is super cute;)
4. SLEEP EARLIER
I don’t know about you, but I cherish my sleep. Unlike those childhood days when I wanted to stay up all night, I can barely stay awake past 12am now (how lame right?!). As a student with 2 jobs I know that it’s super important for me to get the proper amount of sleep every night so that I’m not exhausted or grumpy the next day. I try to get 8 or more hours of sleep every night, and most of the time that means going to bed at 10pm. It’s very tempting to go on my phone before bed, but I know that it usually results in me staying up for an hour or so longer. Here are the benefits that I find I get from sleeping early:
- Better sleep; the earlier that I sleep, the better I sleep and the less I wake up during the night.
- More productive mornings; the earlier that I sleep, the earlier that I wake up. Now it does take a couple of days for this to actually happen (in my opinion) because your body has to adapt to a new schedule, but once it does, you’ll be up early with higher energy levels and ready to take on the day!
- More energy; it’s kind of self-explanatory, the earlier you sleep the more energy you have during the day because you’re getting more hours (that is, if you have to wake up at a certain time)
- Less caffeine intake; I’m not a coffee lover, but I have used it as a crutch a couple of times in the past when my sleeping habits weren’t so great. Going to sleep earlier prevents me from reaching for the java in the AM.
5. REFRESH YOURSELF IN THE MORNING
By refresh I mean.. wash your face, have a shower, get a workout in, drink some water, or have a cup of green tea! Anything that makes you feel awake, do it! I’ve made it a habit to wash my face and do my morning facial routine as soon as I wake up everyday, and I always feel a little more energized when I do. When you feel good, you do well (in almost every situation).
6. BALANCE YOUR DIET
I’m not talking complete dieting or cutting out an entire category of food though! I’m a believer of treating yourself when you deserve it, but I also make sure that I balance and monitor how much I’m eating of certain foods. I personally don’t like to drink a lot of milk or eat a lot of bread, so I switch out toast in the morning for granola and yogourt or coconut almond milk. It’s not that I think they’re unhealthy though, they just make me feel bloated rather than energetic (how I want to feel after I eat). By keeping an eye on the foods that I eat and reducing how much I eat foods that make me feel guilty, I feel more energetic and happy! It also improves my workouts!
7. EXERCISE MORE OFTEN
Not everyone enjoys working out, but I guarantee that once you do, you will feel happier and healthier instantaneously! I’ve upped my weekly workouts to 5-6 days a week because I know that it makes me feel better and makes me more productive in other areas of my life. Exercising doesn’t have to be a full on sweat-sesh in the gym though. A jog around the block or a quick at-home ab workout work just as well! Getting in the habit of exercising develops self-discipline and can motivate you to be more productive. So turn on whatever music gives you a buzz and get to work!
You’re only one workout away from a good mood!
Do you have little things that you do during the day that move you closer to your goals and make you feel happier, healthier, and more efficient?