10 Simple Hacks to Have a Better Day at Work
Having a great career, achieving your goals, and living a rich life—it all comes down to winning the day. And winning the day requires making the right decisions, moment by moment.
Here are ten simple hacks to help you win the day, every day.
1. Plan Your Day the Night Before
Planning is essential—no mystery there. But most of us make the mistake of planning in the morning.
I calendar my entire day the night before based on my main weekly, monthly, and quarterly objectives. This way my brain can work on those problems while I sleep, and I’ll wake up knowing exactly what to do that day.
2. Exercise First Thing in the Morning
For me, exercise isn’t about long term physical health or weight loss goals. I work out daily because it helps me feel great in the moment.
Exercise has been proven to improve your mood, heighten focus, and give your body a metabolic boost.
If you think you don’t have time, remember, you don’t always need a punishing hour-long workout. Check out the 7 Minute Workout app, which challenges you with a sequence of 12-14 exercises back to back.
3. Pomodoro Method
Named for the tomato-shaped timer commonly found in grocery stores, the Pomodoro technique is all about taking large tasks and breaking them into manageable chunks, and then sprinting for 25 minutes of focused concentration.
A funny thing happens when you stack these sprints one after the other: you get a lot done.
While all you really need is a timer to get started, Chrome extensions like Simple Pomodoro make sticking to the practice even easier.
4. Batch Process Email
Nothing can derail your day quite like your inbox. When you check email first thing in the morning or sit in your inbox all day, you’re essentially handing over your time, intention, and emotional energy to someone else.
The solution? Batch process your emails.
Calendar 30 minute blocks the night before and process your email during these set times.
5. Turn Off Cell Phone Alerts
A UC Irvine study found that a typical office worker is interrupted every 11 minutes, yet it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task.
One way to limit these interruptions is to turn off invasive app notifications, which take your attention away from your important work to tell you about something not-so-important that happened on Facebook.
6. Fuel Your Body with Proper Nutrition
Nothing impacts your performance more than the food you put in your body.
This is especially true when it comes to cognition. Brain cells require twice as much nutrition as the rest of your body, so to run at peak performance, your brain needs sustainable energy. Avoid foods with processed sugars which lead to energy crashes and sluggishness.
Stick to foods rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates to help you maintain maximum focus and performance.
7. Get Up From Your Desk
Sitting is killing America—in fact, it’s been deemed the new smoking.
If that weren’t enough, sitting all day can zap your energy and cause you to lose focus.
To break up all that sitting, do twenty quick pushups, take walking meetings, or use a standing desk or communal standing table. The point is, get out of your chair and on your feet throughout the day to avoid becoming a desk potato.
8. Affirm Your Intentions
It’s easy to get mired in our daily routines and forget the bigger picture.
That’s why affirmations are so important—they help align our actions with our larger aspirations.
I’m a huge fan of The Five Minute Journal, which gives you the mindset you need by making affirmation and gratitude an automatic part of your day.
9. Eat the Frog First
Your energy and focus are at their peak in the morning, so “eat the frog first”—that is, perform your highest leverage activity while you’re fresh. Often this is the thing you’re dreading or the thing that requires the most energy and attention.
When you eat the frog first, you get the hardest task off your plate, and you can use the momentum of a big win early in the day to propel you through your remaining tasks.
10. Use the 3LP Technique to Work with Intention
3LP is something I learned from neuroscientist Dr. Robert Cooper to help me reach maximum engagement. Here’s a breakdown.
3 = three-second pause. Before you commit to any task, pause and ask, “Does this task deserve my attention? Is this the next most important thing I can do?” If not, move on, until you can say yes to both.
L = Love. Actively choosing love over fear ensures that your actions are coming from the right place.
P = Present. Dedicate yourself to the present moment and commit to completing the objective.
By pausing and reflecting in this manner, you’ll commit your energy only to the most important tasks and perform them in less time.
Sean Kelly is the CEO and co-founder of SnackNation, the snacking marketplace for Millennials. He has been named to Forbes 30 under 30 list and recognized as one of the magazine’s Most Promising CEOs Under 35. He also hosts The Awesome Office Show, an award-winning podcast that helps people-focused executives and HR pros become better leaders and create inspiring organizational cultures.