Let’s face it, most of us have those days where we wonder how to get everything done. You face an overwhelming to-do list that can be exhausting just to think about! I know what it’s like, which is why I’ve come up with a way to make my days so much easier. It’s called a mental stamina budget, and it really helps.
It's pretty simple. Every morning, before I do anything, I look at what needs to be done and prepare for it mentally. I find this helps keep me from getting overwhelmed when I get stuck in. By being ready for my day, I am able to budget my stamina and build in that important downtime. This helps keep me energized and able to tackle my to-dos (like work) and my want-to-dos (like relaxing with a book). Here’s how you can do it, too.
Wake up earlier to plan for your day
Begin by getting out of bed as soon as you wake up to avoid wasting time, or even worse, falling back asleep. You want to avoid that groggy feeling you get from sleeping for another hour or constantly hitting the snooze button. Once you’re up, make a list of the important tasks that need to be tackled that day. You don’t have to make a list if you don’t want to, but just be sure you have your day mapped out. If you break your day into sections, things will seem much more manageable.
Plan for Breaks
For optimal mental energy, it’s important to schedule in some downtime. It’s so easy to get busy and want to blow off relaxation, but taking time out is good for you. It allows you to revive your energy and keeps you from burning out. So make plans in the morning to meet a friend at a coffee shop, watch a favorite TV show or settle down with that book. If you have something to look forward to, it will make the rest of your day run much more smoothly. It’s also a good idea to get a dose of sunshine every day, which is a great way to revive energy levels. Take a midmorning or afternoon walk outdoors if you can to reap the benefits of the sun and get a dose of vitamin D.
Work it Out
Exercise is a great way to energize your body and your mind. However, too many of us put it off and end up scrapping that all-important sweat session. That’s why it’s important to plan for it. Pencil it into your schedule just like you would a work or doctor’s appointment. Whether you enjoy swimming in your pool, going for a bike ride or doing strength-training, be sure you have no excuses to skip your workout. Pack your gym bag the night before, organize your playlist if you plan to go for a jog in the evening and make sure you stick with it. Your body and your mind will thank you.
Food for Thought
It’s important to plan out your meals the night before, as well. This is helpful on many levels: it saves time, money and your health. You know how easy it can be to grab something unhealthy from a fast-food place or vending machine if you’re not prepared. Pack a lunch, stash a healthy snack, like a granola bar, in your purse and plan what you’ll make for dinner. That way you won’t have any excuses for eating unhealthy. Also, make sure you buy only healthy items when at the grocery store. It’s so much easier to avoid temptation if it’s not even there in the first place!
Unwind Before Bed
Make sure you allow yourself to relax and wind down before bed in order to get optimal sleep. Take a warm bath or shower, avoid food at least two hours before bedtime and relax with a book or magazine. Avoid playing on your smartphone or watching TV at this time, as these activities can be too stimulating and keep you up. Aim to get to sleep at the same time each night and get the right amount of sleep for you in order to feel rested and energized to tackle your day. As you can see, it takes planning and foresight to stick with a mental-stamina budget, but it’s well worth the effort. You’ll find that you have more energy to get things done, and that will make your life so much easier.