September has arrived and with it a reminder that summer is almost over for another year. For some people, this means a return to the everyday grind. The kids go back to school, our yearly vacations are over and the weekend trips to the beach are but a memory. Here’s how you can get into the optimal routine for the months ahead.
However, it’s also a great time of the year to reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far this year, and to set your sights on accomplishing whatever is left on your 2012 to-do list one day at a time.
With that in mind, here are our top five tips for creating the optimal daily routine.
- Wake up earlier. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” While many people have written this off as a myth, there is new evidence that it might actually be true. According to a study by Dr. Joerg Huber of Roehampton University, “Morning people tend to be healthier and happier as well as having lower body mass indexes.” However, in addition to waking up earlier, these people also go to bed earlier, getting a full night’s rest every day. If you are one of those people who sets the alarm early but then hits the snooze button several times before waking up, consider getting an alarm clock that forces you to get out of bed immediately (like this one: http://www.nandahome.com/).
- Eat a healthy breakfast. If you do, you’ll have more energy to create momentum in your day, enabling you to accomplish as much as possible before mid-afternoon when your energy levels naturally decrease. You’ll also give your metabolism a kick-start for the day, making you less likely to gain weight over time. Dietician Charlene Chen from the Vancouver General Hospital tells us, “There’s well-documented evidence showing that eating breakfast correlates with long-term weight loss and weight maintenance.”
- Take regular breaks throughout the day. Many people would tell you that the road to success is paved with hard work. While there is a lot of merit to this argument, it’s possible to take this advice too far. Trying to squeeze every ounce of effort from your workday is actually counterproductive. A recent study published in the scientific journal Cognition suggests that when focusing on a task for long periods of time, our productivity decreases steadily over time. In essence, you are getting less work done per minute by the end of the day than you are at the beginning of the day. However, by taking short breaks throughout the day, this decrease in productivity doesn’t occur. So when your mind starts to wander or you are feeling tired, it’s probably a good sign that your mind and body are ready for a break. For most people, this will happen every 90-120 minutes. The best breaks will involve some physical activity and fresh air, so get up and get outside!
- Get some exercise. Regular exercise provides so many health and productivity benefits. It’s scientifically proven that you’ll live longer, your brain will get bigger, you’ll be less likely to be depressed, and you’ll be less likely to have a stroke later in life. On top of all that, you will have a clearer mind to focus on your tasks throughout the day.
- Fill in the rest with what’s important to you. Now that you’ve developed some other great habits into your daily routine, fill in the rest of your time with things that are important to you. Maybe it’s spending quality time with your family after dinner. Or curling up on the couch with a great book. Or cooking your favourite meal. Whatever it is, make sure you take some time on a daily basis to do something that’s important to you.
So there you have it: five things you can do on a daily basis to create your optimal daily routine.
What are your best tips and advice for creating an optimal daily routine?