How to make the most of your day

Looking after yourself and planning ahead can help you to feel fulfilled and content

Written by spunout


Are you struggling to get everything done each day? Or going to bed feeling unfulfilled or even stressed? These tips to make the most of your day might help you reclaim your day and prepare you to embrace the challenges that you face.

How to have a productive day

There are lots of ways you can try and introduce more productivity into your day – remember that changes don’t necessarily happen overnight and you may need to give yourself time and try different things until you find what works for you.

Plan ahead

Before you go to bed get everything ready for the next day. Prepare your breakfast, get your bag ready, leave out your clothes and make your lunch. It may seem like a pain in the evening but you’ll thank yourself for it in the morning.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is key to making the most of your day. Sleep deprivation is becoming more of an issue in Ireland. A general guideline is that young people need about nine to 13 hours of sleep each night, with adults over 18 needing about seven to nine hours. This is just a guideline. Listen to your body and see what suits you.

If you regularly struggle with getting to sleep you might have insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder and can be caused by a number of things including stress or stimulants, such as caffeine.

If working irregular hours is affecting your sleep our article Getting enough sleep when working irregular hours might help.

Get up on time

Give yourself enough time to wake up and have some breakfast. You won’t be able to make the most of your day if you are half asleep at the beginning.

For some tips on waking up happy have a look at this video on 5 ways to wake up feeling happy.

Have a good breakfast

A good breakfast should set you up to make the most of your day. If you don’t want to eat cereal or toast every day plan ahead and prepare something in advance. If you like a light breakfast try these breakfast bars. Or if you prefer a bigger breakfast try these pancakes or breakfast muffins. Making something the night before and reheating it in the morning, if it’s safe to do so, can make things a bit easier.

Here are some more breakfast recipes from our opinion pieces.

Do something that makes you happy before you leave the house

Try to start your day on a positive note. Find something that you can fit into your morning routine that makes you happy. It might be doing a yoga session, dancing to your favourite song to get your heart rate up, spending time with your pet or even listening to your favourite morning radio programme.

Make the most of your commute

If you have a long commute it doesn’t have to be wasted time. If you use public transport plan some things you can do while you travel. Bring a book or magazine, find a podcast you enjoy or get up to date on the morning news.

Have a look at this opinion piece 5 things to do for a happier commute for more ideas.

Set daily goals

If you have a lot of things going on, it can be overwhelming. Take the time to sit down and divide up the work you have into manageable daily tasks. Your workload will seem a lot less daunting and you will get a sense of achievement every day when you complete each task.

If you aren’t sure how to set goals our article on setting goals might help.

Eat well

Eating a healthy diet will give you more energy to really make the most of each day. Having a good breakfast is a great start and you can continue this with healthy snacks and a good lunch. Prepare food in advance if you don’t have time to do so each day.

Make time for friends and family

Maintaining relationships can be difficult if you are busy but spending time with loved ones might make you feel more fulfilled and content at the end of your day. Talking about what’s going on with your life can offer a release, as well as a different view on things. Listening to their news might offer them the same opportunity.

Pay attention to how you’re feeling and accept that

Making the most of your day doesn’t mean you need to achieve loads each day. You might have certain things planned but if you aren’t feeling up to it, don’t push yourself too hard. Listen to your body and mind every day and accept how you are feeling. If you’re feeling down or anxious, you might not get as much done as you would have otherwise – and that’s okay. Accepting this and organising your day around how you’re feeling can be both important and helpful.

If you are worried about feeling down or anxious and think you might be experiencing depression, anxiety or another mental health illness have a look at our mental health section.

Learn to practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a technique to train you to be more aware of the present moment and the world around you. It might make you appreciate your day more. Mindfulness is thought to:

  • Improve your concentration levels
  • Help you to focus
  • Improve your memory
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Help deal with depression
  • Give you a better understanding of your own emotions

Look online or in the library for tips on mindfulness, if you have a smartphone, there are a number of apps you can use, like Headspace or Insight Timer, or find out if there is a mindfulness class in your area.

For some tips on mindfulness have a look at the opinion piece 5 ways to practice mindfulness.

Unwind and reflect on your day

At the end of each day try to take some time before you go to bed to think about your day. Process your experiences and then allow yourself some time to unwind. You might sleep better and be better able to make the most of tomorrow.

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