How to Make the Most of Your 24-hour Day
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. But how do we make the most of them?
In simple terms, prioritizing and planning can help you efficiently manage your day and make the most of that limited resource – time.
Often, it can be overwhelming to think about the many things we need to get done in our day.
It is important, however, to remember the significance of a work-life balance. Just as we think through how to spend our energy, it is equally valuable to think about and plan things that replenish our energy and nourish our well-being.
How to Prioritize Your Day
There always seems to be more things to do in a day than time will allow. To help prioritize your daily activities, start by categorizing them by importance. Ask yourself:
- What tasks are “must do?”
- What are the things I “would like to get done?”
- What can I do to maintain my health and well-being?
When possible, the initial contemplation and planning for a day should actually begin the night before as your day winds down and you are getting ready for sleep. Visualizing the completion of our tasks is also helpful.
Write it Down!
Although we can try to memorize all the things we have planned for the day, this is not optimal for most people. We may overwhelm ourselves and forget the most important goals of the day!
Instead, try writing down a to-do list of your tasks and goals. This helps by providing a visual roadmap of the day.
There are many ways to keep track of your to-to lists. Make it fun by buying a colorful notebook or day-planner and color-code your entries. If your phone is your go-to organizer, use a notepad app to record your thoughts. Or scribble down items on a door-hung chalkboard or post-it note.
Once you determine your “must do” list, place these tasks into your planner according to the times they need to get done. Examples include work meetings, classes to attend, medical appointments and children’s activities.
Next, create your “would like to get done” list. Determine if there are any open spots in the day where the activity would fit. If there are no open spots, plan ahead and see how the task may fit into another day.
Some days are just busier than others. Knowing that you will eventually get to these tasks will help to alleviate any worry about completing them.
Make Time for Yourself
Finally, remember to mark time for self-care. This can be anything from ensuring you get sufficient sleep each night to making a healthy meal. Other examples include spending time with loved ones, engaging in physical activity, or pursuing a favorite hobby or pastime.
We often forget these things, but they are equally important because they nourish our bodies and help us reset our minds.
Self-care activities need to be prioritized and consciously included in any 24-hour plan!
Prioritizing for Students
If you are a student or thinking about adding school to your life, Rio Salado College’s Counseling department has several resources to help you with time management, goal setting and personal growth.
- Creating College Success (CPD115) is a one-credit class that helps new students develop effective academic strategies (including time-management). Learn more.
- Videos on important topics like study skills and time management tips and study skills, stress management and test-taking. Learn more.
- Counseling faculty are available to help Rio Salado students with setting personal, educational and career goals and overcoming obstacles that interfere with student success. Services are free and available in-person or online (by appointment) as several Rio Salado locations.
Ultimately, when you make the time to think through, prioritize and memorialize your daily tasks, and properly balance them with activities that nurture your inner well-being, you are more likely to feel that you have made the most of the 24 hours in your day.
By Mitra Mehraban, Rio Salado Counseling Faculty, and Sarita Hemmady, Rio Salado Counseling Adjunct Faculty
Read more: Get a student's perspective on how to make the most of 24 hours. Jacqueline Elliott, a Rio Salado College Addictions and Substance Disorders student, shares her tips. Click the link below.