There just aren’t enough hours in a day.
How many times have you had this thought? If you’re anything like me, you’ve had it several hundred times in the past week! Okay, maybe not that much, but you’ve certainly thought of it. I bet you never considered seizing every single minute of your 24-day, have you? Honestly, until just recently, neither had I. Working from home and being a single mom can be challenging without proper self-management, staying organized, and excellent time management. The reason I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day is because I’m usually only focused on the typical 8 am – 8 pm type of day. As I drank my 7 p.m. cup of coffee at my desk–don’t judge me–feeling time just pass me by, I realized that if I really, really wanted to I could take advantage of every single minute in my day. Here’s how to make the most of all 24 hours in your day.
Wake up early.
I’ve learned that as long as you have coffee and good mood music, waking up early really isn’t as bad as it seems. I’m not a morning person at all, but I realized that if I wanted to take full advantage of all the hours in my day that I would have to wake up early. I won’t tell you what time to get up, but you should definitely be up and at ’em at least by 9 am.
Eat breakfast and prepare mentally.
In my mind, coffee is the most important meal of the day–but in all seriousness, you must eat breakfast! It’s really hard to seize the day without any energy. Give yourself anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for preparing yourself mentally to take full advantage of your day. Do yoga, pray, read a book–whatever centers you and prepares you to work your hardest, do it.
Write out your plan for the day.
I gave you a good resource for a free day planner before. Take an additional 30 minutes to write down everything you plan on doing today. If you’re not a visual person, then you may not understand why this is important, but for those of us that are visual people, this needs no explanation. When you write down the things you need to accomplish you remind yourself of what needs done which allows you to prioritize and stay on track. It also feels amazing to be able to cross things off your list when you complete them.
Tackle your most tedious tasks first.
This does two things for me; it allows me to get the hardest part of my day accomplished while I’m functioning at my fullest and it makes the time pass comfortably. Work diligently until it’s time for lunch. The most tedious task usually will have you working productively anywhere from 2-4 hours out of your 24.
Now that you’ve completed your hardest task, take a mental and physical break to get some lunch. Don’t just ‘take a break’ make sure you eat lunch. Again, it’s really hard to seize the day without any energy. Try not to focus on any tasks. It’s important to really take a break when you’re supposed to. This helps you focus a lot better when the time comes for you to get back to work. Take at least an hour for lunch if it’s possible.
Complete the smaller tasks.
You’ve eaten and now you’re refocused. Go ahead and knock out those smaller (not the smallest) tasks on your list. I break my tasks into three groups being the most tedious, smaller, and smallest tasks. During this work session try and complete all of your smaller tasks. It’s okay if you can’t get them all done, but try and get as many as you can done now. Give yourself about 2-4 hours for this.
Take a real break.
Leave your work space. Period. Take a real break by running an errand, calling a friend, surfing the web, watching T.V.–it doesn’t really matter as long as you take a serious break from everything. Depending on how tedious your tasks have been for the day, feel free to stretch this break out from 1 to 2 hours.
Do your last round of tasks.
You’re almost done! Here’s where you get the easy stuff done. Go ahead and knock those out. This shouldn’t really take a lot of time.
You should have just about everything (or just about everything) checked off of your daily duties list you made after breakfast! This should feel pretty awesome so don’t hesitate to pat yourself on the back. If you haven’t noticed, I think it is incredibly important to eat your meals! Take some time to sit and enjoy dinner. While you have dinner, this is also a good time to mildly prepare yourself to seize the day all over again tomorrow!
I shouldn’t have to say this, but a dedicated worker may sometimes forget how necessary it is to get an adequate amount of sleep. Ideally, I believe 6-8 hours is enough, but you should get at least 6 at the bare minimum. I don’t sleep with other distractions like the t.v. because my mind needs to be able to come to a complete halt so I can get rest. This is a personal choice, but if you’re not used to sleeping in solitude you should try it!
Participate in overnight productivity.
Here’s where seizing the entire day comes in. You might have thought that going to sleep was the last part of your day, but it doesn’t have to be! I usually take this time to put a meal in the slow cooker so it can cook while I eat. I’ll also moisturize my hair overnight or soak my laundry. Whatever ways you can find to be productive while you sleep… do them! You’ll love having been able to take advantage of that time.
You realize I have not really set up any specific time frames for you because as a single mother I totally understand that you have to work within the best time frame for you. Make a plan that works for you. If waking up at 6 a.m. is better for you than waking up at 9 a.m., do that. Whatever you do, don’t hesitate to seize the entire 24 hours given to you in one day! You’ll love the amount of productivity you’re able to take advantage of! Let’s get to work!