Brought to you by New York Times best-selling author and motivational speaker, Erik Qualman.
We all have endless to-do lists. Shopping lists, book lists, five-year career plans, lists of unread emails to respond to and tasks to complete… The list of lists goes on and on. All these activities can make us feel like we are being pulled in every direction. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. To excel and stay balanced, it can help to reel things in and focus on the now.
Many people live by the mantra “carpe diem,” seize the day. The complete phrase is “carpe diem quam minimum credula postero,” which roughly translates to, “seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.” Yes, you have big plans for the future, but you only have control over the decisions you make on a daily basis. This means you need a daily game plan. Treat each day as its own and you’ll treat yourself to a sense of mindfulness, growth, and accomplishment. Or, more simply put, how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. As such, if we have dreams or a vision for our lives, why wouldn’t we have a daily game plan?
The first thing to do is to be mindful of how you are currently spending your time (i.e., your life) throughout days and nights.
1) Rest Up for the Big Game
A good night’s rest is essential for winning the day. How you sleep tonight will help determine how you perform tomorrow. Quantity and quality of sleep influence productivity, creativity, memory, stamina (i), and most importantly, mental health (ii). Develop a consistent routine to get the right quantity of sleep, which you can read more about here. For quality sleep, invest in a great bed like the Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed, which adjusts to your body and sleeping patterns. Having a bed that works for you and a routine that keeps you in check will bring health to your body, mind, and soul.
2) Stretch Out During the Pre-Game
Some people start thinking about their to-do lists as soon as they wake up and immediately feel overwhelmed. A better way to start your day is to meditate and reset. Then, come up with your game plan.
Meditation will help you feel fully present and aware of your surroundings and thoughts. It puts space between yourself and your conditioned responses, which helps control emotions. You can sit in a chair, lie down in bed, or sit on your bed with legs crossed in front of you (criss-cross-applesauce).
I spend the first ten minutes of my day performing this “pre-gaming” ritual. My favorite position is right after I wake up; lying in bed on my back with my hands rested at my sides. It’s very similar to the savasana (corpse) yoga pose.
Now that there is less stress or brain chatter, get your mind into the right framework. Think about two things you are grateful for and two things you want to output today. Your outputs should be intentional and not simply “answering all my emails.” Focus on generating outputs, not merely throughput. Take ownership of tasks that move the needle towards your bigger goals. You can also create a “not to-do list.” Start writing down aspirations you don’t need to get done right now, but put them as a list on your fridge for monthly moonshot goals. I prefer to call this a “not-yet list.” It helps keep your “to-do list” shorter without losing sight of a great idea. Eventually items from the not yet list move to the to-do-list.
3) Keep Your Eye on the Ball
Throughout the day, take several breaks—physically move—and ask yourself, “is this the most important thing that I should be doing right now?” You came up with a game plan for a reason; don’t just go on auto-pilot when it comes time to execute the plan. Stay focused on the outputs you committed to earlier that morning. Each output you complete brings you closer to your end goals.
Follow these three steps to better tackle your day and manage your outcomes. Get enough sleep, set daily goals, and stick to the game plan. Seize the day!
This post was sponsored by Sleep Number. All thoughts are my own.