A recent report from the World Health Organization indicated that the average life expectancy in the United States is 79 years old. The average ages in most developed nations is around 80 years, with women in Japan at the highest with an average age of 86 years.
If we say your adult life starts at 18, then you have about 68 years as an adult. (86 – 18 = 68), meaning you have about 24,820 days to conquer all your dreams.
Knowing this should push us all to make the most of each day – here are some of the best strategies I’ve found to maximize those 25k days;
1. Know your motivation cycles
Most people are better at doing certain tasks at certain times. For example, my creative motivation is highest in the morning, so that’s when I write, brainstorm, and develop strategies each day. I tend to have the most social motivation in the afternoons, so I typically use that time for interviews, phone calls, and emails. Late afternoon and evenings are usually reserved for more monotonous tasks, such as organizing, databasing, and cleaning – this may simple be due to the lack of general motivation.
What type of motivation do you have during different times of the day? What tasks are best suited for those times?
2. Prepare for every day
I’ve found that spending a few minutes each night to organize your to–do list for the next day is crucial for maximized efficiency. It’s often so simple that we neglect to do it altogether, but it’s importance cannot be overstated. When I have my tasks in a structured order, I can seamlessly flow from one to the next without getting distracted or having to get re-motivated. I’ve found that it only takes 10 minutes each night to saves hours the next day.
3. Take smart phone breaks
Try this now….put your smartphone somewhere out of sight, and tell yourself you wont look at it for the next hour. This will eliminate the urge to check text messages, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This simple strategy eliminates the likelihood of slipping into half–work where you waste time trying to divide your attention among meaningless tasks.
4. Get moving
Your mind always needs oxygen to work properly. Your lungs need to be able to expand and contract to fill your body with oxygen. That sounds simple enough, but here’s the problem: most people sit hunched over a screen all day (myself included). In a hunched over position, your chest is collapsed and your diaphragm is pressing against the bottom of your lungs, which hinders your ability to breathe easily and deeply. Sit up straight or stand up and you’ll find that you can breathe easier and more fully. As a result, your brain will get more oxygen and you’ll be able to maintain focus and concentration.
I also try to stand up and walk around the office at least once an hour. If you really want to conquer the world, you might want to think about getting the Desk Station Treadmill to maintain a constantly high level of oxygen and blood flow.
5. Don’t open email until noon.
I’ve heard about this trick for years, but wasn’t able to do it for years. When I finally did, I realized that nobody was emailing me true emergencies (a death in the family, etc.), and a few hours of delay in my replies didn’t affect anything.
Use your morning motivation to advance your dreams, rather than getting bogged down in the issues and problems of others.
What other strategies do you use to increase and maintain your motivation?