You don't have to be into resolutions and goals to ride the wave of this new year energy. Whether you've set new intentions or not, there's no denying that you have a wide-open canvas to begin creating with. How about using 2016 to create practices that allow you to focus your energy and make the best use of your time?
Everyone is looking for a way to fit more hours in their day. While that's not a goal that you have any chance of accomplishing this year, there are things that you can do to make it seem like you're a person who can bend time. However, that requires clearing out all of the distractions.
Harder said than done when your phone is sitting with 15 notifications on the home screen from the instant your alarm goes off. You are pinged, called, texted, liked, messaged, mentioned and buzzed a countless amount of times in a day. It can be suffocating. And in all of those pulls on your energy, something gets lost: your ability to push your priorities forward.
So, in an effort to be more mindful of your time and energy, here are three new practices that have the power to transform your day:
The a.m. hours set the tone for your entire day. So why not treat them with care? Running out the door with your train ticket still sitting by the sink, forgetting to eat, and spilling coffee on your pressed shirt doesn't exactly scream success. A morning routine marked with your own personal ritual could be the key to changing your whole day. Take it from Latham Thomas, best-selling author, founder of Mama Glow and all-around lifestyle maven. “Your morning is a new beginning,” she says. “It's synonymous with a fresh start. Even if you feel like you didn't succeed yesterday, today is a new day, a clean slate. And remember it's your time, design your morning routine to serve you. Set yourself up emotionally, spiritually, and mentally to be able to meet what the day has to offer." Latham suggests envisioning how you want to feel and creating your morning ritual from there. Maybe that's drinking your coffee with the kids, away from the TV, or perhaps it's taking five minutes to meditate before you hop in the shower. Create space in your morning for a routine that sets your day up.
The much touted multi-tasker may not be the most effective tactic for getting everything done. If you've got more tabs open than you know what to do with and a to-do list that never shortens, working on a single task at a time may be a practice you need. One way of single tasking is the Pomodoro Technique, which requires intent focus on a single task for 25 minutes at a time, with a five-minute break, usually done with a timer. Zainab Ebrahimi, front-end developer for the young professional's network Levo, has used this technique for the past three years. “I was mind-blown by how it changed the way I viewed work and my time at work. I'm now able to more accurately set expectations for my work without the burnout, pressure and worry,“ she says. Even if it's not this exact technique, try working on one thing for a set amount of time and becoming aware of how much all your random clicking around prevents you from progress.
How many times have you sat down to begin your work for the day only to get lost in your inbox? Suddenly, it's 1 p.m., and you haven't gotten anything of real value done. And you're not sure where to start anymore. By creating daily priorities, you can change all of that. Each morning, before you open up your computer, write down the top three to five things that must get done that day. Then, tackle one or two of them before you dive into your email or onto your office chat. By getting clear with the few things that must get done, rather than a computer-sheet-long list of things that could get done, you begin your day with focus and end it with gratification that what really needed to be taken care of, was.
The practices you create that have great impact on your life don't have to be huge. Rather, they're consistent and mindful. What better way to begin the year?
Maxie McCoy is a writer and speaker with a message: how to find and follow your inspiration for an extraordinary life. Maxie delivers inspiring writings, actionable video, and customized sessions on maxiemccoy.com. She also develops curriculum and offline experiences for the Millennial career website, Levo.