When it comes to different ways to have a productive day, there are some great tips for the day out there to make sure you’re able to achieve your goals.
If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, it can be hard to pull yourself out of it and get back on track to setting yourself up for success.
But as plenty of people have proven, by consistently applying some of these tips for a good day, you’ll start to build the foundations for being able to reach your objectives.
Now, around here, we’re primarily focused on helping you to achieve your financial goals, whether that’s starting that side hustle, destroying that debt or building your way towards financial freedom.
And all of these can definitely help you with that! But these day-to-day tips can also easily help you to bring other areas of your life under control.
After all, it’s no coincidence that Thomas Corley, who spent five years studying the daily habits of 177 self-made millionaires, found in his book Change Your Habits, Change Your Life that most of them had “daily habits [that] dictate how successful or unsuccessful you will be in life” – many of which are set out below.
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Tips for your day to be successful
1. Get up early (or at least at a consistent time)
If books like The 5am Club are to be believed, getting up at the crack of dawn (or earlier!) is the key to solving all your problems.
And to be honest, as someone who gets up at 5:45am to go to the gym several days per week (and still gets up early on non-gym days to work on my side hustle before work), I can definitely recommend trying it out. For me, the best part is knowing that I’ve already achieved something before most people’s alarms have even gone off.
But it’s also true that not everyone is built for crazy early wake up calls like these. So if joining the 5am club isn’t for you, at least aim to set your own alarm for a time that gives you a chance to start the day well – and do it consistently every day so as to get into a routine.
That is, if you only just leave enough time to gulp down some coffee, have a quick shower and run out the door to work or school, you’re already starting the day in a panic. Instead, giving yourself the opportunity to set the foundations for a productive day by not being in a complete rush the moment you get up.
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2. Eat breakfast
It may sound basic but there’s a reason that the experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
You’ve been asleep for hours and your body needs fuel to achieve all those great things you have in mind. So when it comes to what you should be doing everyday, give your body what it needs and start the day right, even if it’s as simple as some muesli or yogurt.
And I’m supposed to say here that you should also aim to cut out caffeine – but, to be honest, I’d be a complete hypocrite if I recommended that. If you can do it though, more power to you!
3. Begin your day by taking stock
Whether you’re going to work today, heading to school, looking after the kids or a combination of any of the above, starting your day with a quick stocktake is a game changer.
You don’t have to write these down or anything, although that can definitely help. It’s fine though to simply keep this as a quick mental process of what’s on your to-do list.
What’s great about this is that it will:
- Help you clarify what you need to do
- Roughly prioritize each of them
- Figure out if you probably don’t have time for all of them so you can determine what can be pushed to another day
- Make a busy day seem more manageable
- Give you a boost you may need as you start to mentally tick each item off
It’s those last two that I find to be the biggest benefits of doing this. When you know you have a ton to do, looking at a mountain of pending items can be completely overwhelming.
But by breaking your to-do list down into smaller, more manageable pieces, you’ll be much better placed to actually start chipping away at them all.
And I don’t know about you, but ticking things off a list is one of my favorite things to do (I’m really fun at parties).
As mentioned, you don’t need to actually make a list – although I’m a big fan of this. You don’t even need anything fancy, as a free app like Google Keep app is more than enough.
You may also be interested in: How to Get Rich From Nothing: The One Strategy That’s Proven to Work
4. Do the hardest things first
Once you know what you have to do in a day, it can be tempting to go through the easy or fun things first.
But one of the best tips for the day for me has been making sure you tackle the hardest things first. In particular, I find this a really good tip to make your work day successful.
Not only are you more awake when the day first starts, but it means you won’t have to spend your entire day dreading that task.
Instead, take a deep breath and throw yourself into it. The sooner you start, the sooner it’s done and you’ll be able to focus on the things you actually want to do.
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5. Batch your time
Allocating specific chunks of time throughout your day to certain tasks is one of the best ways to get the most out of your day.
It can be tempting to keep working at something until it’s finished. But before you know it, you’ll often run out of time for everything on your to-do list – which can be especially problematic if you left something for your own benefit until later in the day, as we’ll mention below.
It also often means that you’ll become less productive the longer you work on something without a break or a set deadline. Remember: being productive doesn’t always mean being busy.
Instead, try something like the Pomodoro technique. It’s a hugely popular time management system that basically has you working for 25 minutes then taking a short break.
Not only does it aim to keep you more focused, but it also gives you the chance to review any work you’ve done and what needs to be done.
An alternative technique is to actually schedule blocks of time into your calendar. You could, say, allocate half an hour to answering emails, one hour to working on that client pitch and another half hour reviewing that presentation that’s due next week.
But by making sure you stop one task and start the next one whenever the calendar tells you to, you’ll quickly find yourself becoming far more productive.
6. Schedule time for physical activity
Assigning some time for physical activity is one of those day-to-day tips that you always see. But that’s because it works.
For so long, I definitely didn’t take this advice. I was so focused on building my side hustle up that I thought every spare minute I had should be spent on that.
But when I started to take a break for even half an hour to go for a walk outside, I was amazed at the impact on my mental state. Not only did this give me a chance to move a bit, but it also provided the time to reflect on any issues I was having or even switch off altogether.
It’s no exaggeration to say that I actually noticed the difference in my productivity once I got back in front of my computer.
You don’t have to go to the gym or even for an actual run. But just getting away from a screen or any life frustrations you’re facing and moving a bit will do wonders for both your physical and mental health.
7. Set a block of time aside for your own goals
I mentioned earlier how scheduling your time can really help with your productivity, but one thing to add to this to make the most of your day is to make sure you’re allowing time for reaching your own objectives.
It’s obviously unrealistic to think you can spend every minute of the day working towards your goals. But on the other hand, leaving no time at all for this can be incredibly demotivating and make them seem impossible to achieve.
Instead, making sure there’s at least some time free for you to contribute towards these will go a long way to helping you to make everyday worth it. For example, in the case of any financial goals you may have:
- Looking to save more money? Set aside time once a week to do a meal plan and allocate several hours on the weekend to meal prep, so you’re not tempted to get take out during the week.
- Trying to stick to a budget? Allocate an hour of quiet time once a week to give you the chance to go through your expenses and see how well you’re controlling your spending – or where they may be room for improvement.
- Building up a side hustle? Give yourself an hour or so a day (perhaps before the rest of the house wakes up or after they go to bed) to work on it.
- Wanting to get your partner on board with your new money mindset? Schedule a financial date night one evening a week to go through your finances, discuss where you both want your finances to be in the coming years and prepare a personal financial plan together. After all, money really does buy happiness, including for couples!
8. Prepare for the next day
When looking for how to do more in a day, it’s actually often the foundation you’ve set the previous day which will have the biggest impact.
That is, learning how to prepare for the day the night before can be a great way to ensure you start each day on the right foot.
This could be as simple as setting out your exercise clothes the night before, so you simply have to grab them and put them on when you’re still waking up.
It could also involve tidying up your workspace so that when you get there the next day, everything is neatly set up for you to achieve your goals without any unnecessary clutter – much your day, really.
Having your lunch ready to go could mean that you can just grab it as you’re heading to work or school, saving you from having to buy it at that overpriced cafe again.
But it can also be as simple as mentally preparing for the next day – which can be just as important as all the physical preparations you do.
9. Get enough rest
One of the most successful tips for the day you see everywhere is to get enough rest. It’s one of those things we know we should do and yet most of us don’t.
But it is genuinely one of the most important things you can do to have a successful day. Without enough rest, your brain struggles to function properly, your body doesn’t have what it needs to be as productive as you want it to and, soon, your mental health can begin to suffer.
So when scheduling out your day, even if it’s only pretty loosely, make sure that schedule includes enough time to get ready for bed and actually sleep (not lie there and scroll through Instagram for the next two hours).
Eight hours of rest is good for your energy levels, good for your mental state, good for your emotions…it’s even good for your skin! And when we’re looking to achieve our goals in a world that’s already busy enough, surely this is the easiest win around?
10. Remember that it’s fine to not do everything
With all of these tips for how to make the most of your day, it can be tempting to interpret this as if not achieving things is a failure on your part.
But we should always keep in mind that it’s fine to not be able to do everything. Sure, you may really want to make your new side hustle a new success or are super committed to that new exercise regimen…but you also have kids and family and work and everything else demanding your attention.
This is why it’s fine to realize that you’re only one person and there are only 24 hours in the day. Not everything is possible every day – and that’s perfectly fine.
Just don’t let not achieving your goals become a habit, as this may suggest that you’ve got other issues getting in your way. On this point, the book Atomic Habits is a life changer, seriously.
What’s one thing that can instantly make your day better?
Making sure you get enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to instantly make your day better. Not only will it ensure you have enough energy to get through the day, but it’s a great reset for your mental and physical state to help you be as productive as possible.
In fact, there are all sorts of proven health benefits to sleeping enough, like you’ll get sick less, you’re more likely to stay at a healthy weight, it helps avoid issues such as diabetes and heart disease and more.
But on a more basic level, we’ve all had those days where you’re in an absolute funk due to having a bad night’s sleep. So if you can avoid that by getting enough rest, you’ll immediately be setting yourself up for a much better day than you would have had otherwise.
Final thoughts on the best tips for the day
Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve in your life right now, working out how to make the most of your day can really help to use those hours as efficiently as possible.
I’m definitely not the only one who’s gotten to the end of the day and wondered where all the hours have gone. Similarly, you may have all these great goals in mind but just never seem to have the chance to get to any of them.
Either way, this is why having some ideas to get the most out of your day and to make your day awesome can really help.
Not all of these tips for having a good day may be actionable every single day. Real life can get in the way, after all.
But whether you’re looking to make your work day successful, to achieve your financial (or other!) goals or are just looking for some things that can instantly make your day better, these tips for the day can definitely help.
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About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.