How to Change Your Daily Routine to Maximize Efficiency

We all get stuck in a rut sometimes. We let mail pile up, we miss deadlines, we forget our dogs' birthdays. It's time to change that permanently by creating a system and routine that works. All it takes is a little strategizing.

Start tonight

After all the dinner is eaten and all the dishes are put away, take a moment to clear your spaces. Clear the kitchen table of magazines, electronic devices and eye glasses. This is called down time and it is a beautiful thing. Before you sink into the couch, take a little stress away from tomorrow and make sure you are ready for the new day.

Rehearse tomorrow's schedule

I love using the Google Calendar app to store repeated events, such as exercising, practicing my cello, and teaching music lessons. I get automatic reminders about each event and I don't have to enter them in every week. With the updated app you can set goals for yourself, too! Google actually finds time in your busy schedule to work out, meditate, or learn a language. No more excuses! Plus, it's free.

Make a better to-do list

For shopping lists, I like to use good old post-its so that I'm not looking at my phone while walking through the aisles. For other notes to jot down, such as projects or assignments, I use my planner. Write things down neatly. It will make you want to get them done faster and seem less stressful. Stick lists to your phone or put them in your wallet so you won't forget them. Make all these notes tonight while things are calm. It will help you not forget anything important.

Designate your days

Need to deposit checks (or go to the post office) the old fashioned way? Designate one day per week (I choose Friday so I'm loaded up for the weekend) and accumulate checks in an envelope and keep in a safe spot. I have one folder designated to all important documents; this might be a good place to store them. Write yourself a weekly reminder in the Google Calendar app to remind you to deposit them. One trip, done. Money.

Tidy up

Before you go to bed, take this crucial step. Put any items on your desk in drawers. Put your overflowing laundry basket in the closet and close the door. Clear your floor of items you could trip over while sleepwalking. Waking up to a clean and relaxing environment will contribute to keeping you calm for the whole day. At 8pm, set your phone on "Do No Disturb" and "Night Shift" to eliminate blue light and distracting notifications. Get a real alarm clock. Don't look at your phone. Sweet dreams!

Wake up call

Before you get out of bed every morning, take a moment to breathe in the new air of the day and release old air out. Don't get up until you're ready. Before you take a shower and get dressed, accomplish those little annoying tasks: answer emails, exercise, feed your fish. Then you can really relax during your daily routine. Think about the things you are going to accomplish in the next 10 minutes: Brush teeth, get dressed, put on makeup, roll on a foam roller (highly recommended). Feel good when you've accomplished that!

You're off to the races

Since you've organized everything the night before and your bag is packed for the day and eagerly waiting by the door, take the morning to enjoy your coffee. This quiet time will help keep you calm and focused during the busy day. Before you head out the door, pack some delicious and healthy snacks to look forward to and bring plenty of water. Efficiency and success is all about planning and being proactive. Take the time to set yourself up for a great day; it's worth it. Your body and brain will thank you.

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