9 Ways to Kick-start and Maximize Your Day

We all have down days. Barring a catastrophic, demoralizing, mid-day event, a “down day” often starts with a “down” morning.  Ever hit bed planning on having a knockout day as soon as you wake up? Only to find yourself sliding out of ruffled sheets and succumbing to your “master” the snooze button? It’s time to maximize your day.

Most days we have the greatest intentions to be productive and master the day. To make the absolute most of it. But how often do we really feel like we’ve accomplished that? Probably only the day before you are leaving on holiday…and even then, you probably still didn’t get everything done you felt you needed to.

If you want to wake up and dive into your day with guaranteed vigor, try this:

Eat

Immediately. If you’re not eating as you jump into your day you’re not only neglecting to kick-start your metabolism, your blood-sugar level is low. Meaning: YOUR BRAIN WILL NOT FUNCTION AS FAST AS IT SHOULD. Eat something.

But don’t stuff yourself with just anything. Eggs. Spinach. Ezekiel bread. A non-sugary cereal. Or if your mornings are too brief, slam some protein powder and eat a healthy carb with peanut butter as you jump into your day. Eating right may be biggest key to be able to maximize your day.

Caffeine

Drink some coffee. Or if you hate the taste of bitter dirt water then try swallowing a caffeine pill. Just don’t get addicted to that junk.

MiO makes a liquid water energy enhancer that’s available for 4 bucks at your grocery store. I don’t want to take the time to make coffee in the morning, so I squirt a little bit of this into my water when I take a multi-vitamin to start the day.

Map out your day-the night before

Yes, please cut your day down into blocks of time. It might help to even get as specific as to what you’re doing every 15 minutes if you’re crazy enough about maximizing your time.

Even more important than filling up your calendar with appointments, projects, and to-do’s, is to actually spend time THINKING through your day before it comes at you head-on. Imagine all the little bits and pieces you must knock out. As you are planning through your day you’ll set in place a mental map in preparation for tomorrow. This will also help you to quantify how much time each project and appointment truly needs.

Have you ever scheduled your day to a “T” yet couldn’t find the internal testicular fortitude to actually smash through everything you committed to yourself that you would do? I mean, how many times have I-at the end of my day- looked back with utter sadness at how I actually only did 50% of what I wholeheartedly intended to.

When I directed a call center I frequently found myself gravitating towards simpler tasks. Doing some email. Thinking through the easier projects rather than the more abstract ones. I found it exceedingly difficult to do from 1pm-2pm what I committed to myself I would do.

I realized that I could blast through the more comprehensive tasks if I had spent a little time thinking through them the night before or morning of.

If you want to maximize your day, map it out. Not just appointments, but think through the meetings, projects, to-do’s, and must-get-dones before you even start your day. When reality hits and you’re actually needing to plow through it, you’ll have already built a mental framework for how to knock it out of the park.

Bite-sized benchmarks

Whatever you are planning to do, make it as small as possible. What makes up big successes? Not big tasks; small ones. As you are succeeding at piece-by-individual-piece you can feel a win each time accumulating into one major victory.

Prioritize

What’s most important? Do I know exactly what I want to accomplish today? Try to do your most important and/or complex tasks during your most effective hours during the day. Are you sharpest at 10:30AM? 3PM? If possible, the tasks that take the greatest amount of willpower and focus should be done during your personal peak times.

At 8AM I know I’m useless. I can’t barely listen to someone. I DO NOT schedule a meeting in the office at 8AM. Otherwise that poor soul will feel as if I hate every word pouring out of their mouth.

Read more about life’s greatest priorities in Todd’s 30 Years and 30 Life Lessons.

Approach your day as if it’s your last

…day before you take holiday.

When you’re about to enjoy some vacation, the final day before departure you may have found Herculean endurance. You absolutely did as much as you possibly could do before you had to leave town. Office work. Cleaning. Paying bills. Every little thing you needed to get done you pounded through.

Maximize Your Day!

There’s a sticky note in there that reads, “Stay Focused!”

Now if we can pull that off the day before we’re about to chill out, can we possibly do it on an average day? Yes. Sure, you may not have the urgent alarms sounding that drive you to get all things done. But what if you prompted that alarm in you inherently? Decide to drive into your day with the same fervor, vigor and energy as you would as if it’s your last..day before holiday.

Say “adios” to distractions

Cluttered desk. Too many decorations. Eliminate them. Burn them. Clear room for your arms. Everyone that has seen an office I work in will tell you I’m more than slightly disheveled. BUT I absolutely have room to work. The stuff on my desk doesn’t obstruct or distract me.

Transition Time

Don’t book your day wall-to-wall. Give yourself some transition time to move from one big chunk to the next. Need two focused hours of writing? Make sure you give yourself some time to move into it. If you walk out of a stress-filled discussion with a colleague immediately before your next scheduled appointment, it might take you 30 minutes to really get rolling on your next assignment.

Single-Minded Focus

It can be hard to start the day right and be purposefully proactive. Know exactly what you absolutely must get done that day. If you do accomplish anything, accomplish that.

About Todd Mayfield

He's a lover, not a fighter. But he's also a fighter, so don't get any ideas.

He works for a series of private schools to advance innovative education to combat ballooning classroom sizes and challenge the status quo of the current public and private education format.

Comments

  1. Great Article, Todd! I’m currently reading through “The Accidental Creative” by Todd Henry and he talks a lot about routine and process, similar to what you have here. It’s amazing what scheduling a little bit of thinking/focus time can do to your level of productivity. Great stuff!

  2. Todd Mayfield says

    Thanks for the feedback Josh! Henry’s book sounds like a must read for me. I agree that “think time” is a must. If I haven’t thought through what I’m about to head into I have no map for where to go. I think we should write something on just that very subject…!

  3. Todd, this is just what I needed & I’ve been wanting & trying to do fo r a long time. I’m encouraged & can’t wait to start maximizing my time. Thanks bro.

  4. Great tips Todd. Eating is a tough one for me in the morning but it makes a lot of sense why you need to do that. A lot of times I don’t eat something till about 9;30. On the other hand I usually drink a cup or two of coffee each day and it does wonders for me in the morning.

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