We all have the same 24 hours in the day, yet some people utilize them better than others.
Those who wake up earlier and say ‘no’ more often have been shown to be more productive and efficient.
Studies have shown that the average person spends three to four hours a day on their cellphones when that time could be spent exercising or planning out the day in advance.
While the hustle and bustle of work and everyday life can make the time feel like it goes by too fast, listening to music and working on one project at a time can optimize the hours you have.
Training specialists Seana Forbes and Bejamin Bulach from Freeletics revealed to Daily Mail Online their tips to effectively use your next 24 hours.
Some of the happiest and most successful people in the world are morning people. Experts suggest waking up earlier to optimize your time each day
1. Disconnect once in a while
Studies show that the average person spends eight-and-a-half hours on electronic devices every day, three to four of which are on their cellphones.
Unplugging and utilizing those hours by going for a run, writing, reading, learning, cooking or meeting a friend would allow you to experience more during that time.
Fitness experts suggest to track how much time you spend on your electronic devices each day and set a limit.
Methods to cut back include minimizing the amount of TV you watch, not checking your email inbox while out of the office and deleting gaming apps from your phone.
Aside from wasting your time, constant exposure to electronics leads to poor sleep which makes you feel groggy and unproductive the next day.
2. Take a break, go for a walk
Hours are spent at work staring at computer screens and after too much time, the brain becomes less responsive.
Forbes and Bulach suggest taking a break every so often.
‘A walk really does solve everything and the connection between your mind and feet is stronger than you think,’ they said.
When you go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen to the muscles and other organs – including the brain.
Because walking doesn’t require much brain power itself, our minds are free to wander, which can lead to innovative ideas and insights.
Next time you’re lacking creativity or can’t seem to finish a task, get up, grab your coat and hit the pavement.
3. Listen to music
There is a reason why listening to music is considered doping. Many studies have shown that music can enhance the performance of all sports.
It is an additional stimulus to the brain which results in distraction and lower RPE (rates of perceived exertion).
‘Not only does music make us feel better by improving our mood, but it also synchronizes movements,’ the trainers said.
The brain and muscles become more connected as music synchronizes them – making the way we move more fluid.
If music is likely to speed you up and make you more productive, they suggest making various playlists for life’s activities.
Boring chores such as ironing, cleaning the car or doing the weekly grocery shopping can be sped up and made more enjoyable with the right playlist.
Listening to music has been found increase performance in sports, improve mood and synchronize movement. The right playlist can turn boring tasks into enjoyable ones
4. Work on one thing until you’ve finished it
Working on 10 different things at once without getting anything finished is called procrastination.
Forbes and Bulach said: ‘Procrastination practically means wasting time.’
They suggest sticking to one project until it is finished by making a list of the things you need to do each morning.
Number the list from one to 10 based on how tough and time-consuming the tasks are.
Then they suggest to start with the toughest and most time-consuming task on your list and work your way down from there, finishing each one before starting the next.
‘It might take longer, it might require more concentration, but it’s better than ending your day and having nothing to show for it,’ they said.
5. Wake up earlier
Some of the most successful and happiest people in the world are morning people.
If you want to achieve more in your day, it’s simple: wake up earlier.
Wake up with enough time to plan your day and prepare for it. Forbes and Bulach suggest waking up two to three hours before your working day starts.
‘When you wake up later, you spend the rest of your day unprepared and trying to catch up,’ they added.
They also said you can spend this extra time in the morning exercising so you don’t have to do it later.
The morning is when willpower is at its strongest, therefore if you’re someone who struggles sticking to a training routine, those few extra hours could be exactly what you’ve been missing.
Though it’s easier said than done, getting into a routine takes time and getting used to.
‘Start now, become a morning person by next month,’ they said.
Fitness specialists suggest exercising, saying ‘no’ more often and working on one task at a time to make the most of your 24 hours
6. Take a cold shower
If you train in the morning you’ll know the feeling after a hot shower – relaxed and ready to go back to bed.
If you have a long day ahead of you, that is exactly what you do not want.
BENEFITS OF A COLD SHOWER
A cold shower every day could be the secret to a slimmer waist, smoother skin, shinier hair and overall well-being.
A study from Amsterdam showed that a blast of cold water in the morning was linked to fewer sick days and higher energy levels.
Two-thirds of the 3,000 participants even chose to stick with their chilly regimen once the experiment was over.
A freezing blast of water in the morning will do more than wake you up – it’ll boost your brain, too, according to sports psychologist Melinda Nicci.
‘When an icy shower hits your skin, the natural reaction is to breathe much more heavily and deeply,’ she said.
‘This increases oxygen intake and speeds up circulation. Blood travels to your limbs and organs faster — and brain function gets a boost.’
Cold showers are increasingly becoming the productivity hack of choice for those who want to add more time to their day.
A few minutes under cold water in the morning could improve your mood, make you feel energized and help you focus.
Cold water has also been shown to boost the immune system and improve circulation.
Though it isn’t the most comfortable method, it could wake you up enough to prepare you to take control of the day.
7. Learn to say ‘no’
It may be obvious, but you do not always have to say yes.
Avoid taking on too many tasks and spreading yourself too thin across chores that steal the focus away from your important goals or the things that matter to you.
‘Saying no is not a sign of weakness. It’s a method of prioritization,’ according to experts.
Not agreeing to everything you are asked to do allows you the flexibility to say yes when the right opportunity arises.
You will then have the time and attention to put toward the tasks you are passionate about, leading to quality results.
Make exercise part of your morning routine.
Exercise gets your brain working and leaves you feeling more ambitious to take on a new challenge that day by releasing feel-good chemicals.
A good workout can help your attention span and your mood by producing the chemical serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep and mood.
Endorphins are also chemicals produced in the brain during exercise that reduce stress and trigger a positive feeling, similar to morphine
The more you exercise the more endorphins and serotonin you release!
9. Use your Sunday evening wisely
It is time to change your lazy Sunday into a productive one.
‘Rather than seeing Sunday as the end of one week, see it as a head start on the next one,’ the trainers said.
This year, stop looking for extra time and start making it
They suggest that around 5pm to reserve some time to plan your upcoming days and think about what you want to achieve and what obstacles are you likely to face.
If you want to exercise, write to your training buddies and schedule your workout sessions.
Think about your meal plan for the week and start preparing the ingredients in advance.
The more you get yourself ready on Sunday night, the less time you spend doing this every day which means you have more time to do the things you enjoy and to work on your goals.
‘After the planning is done you can relax – and you are already ready for Monday, so there is nothing to worry about,’ they said.
10. Don’t make excuses
To be successful, there are ‘no excuses.’
This is the most important thing to tell yourself. It’s never ‘too late’, ‘too cold’, ‘too dark’ or ‘too early’.
‘Time isn’t something that some of us have more or less of – it’s something we all have the power to make,’ said the trainers.
When you say you don’t have time, then it becomes true.
This year, stop looking for extra time and start making it.