5 Tips to Conquering Your Day

1. Downsize the To-Dos
Oftentimes, to-do lists are simply too long. We try to cram too much into the day, and then feel discouraged when the list isn’t completely filled with check marks. Decide on just three to five major tasks for the day that you’re committed to finishing (make sure they’re truly must-dos as opposed to want-to-dos). Add a couple if you finish early.

2. Start With Morning Activity
Shake away the drowsiness with at least 30 minutes of physical activity as soon as the alarm goes off. It can be as simple or complex as you’re comfortable with, as long as it elevates your heartrate. Working out is not only good for your heart and thus long-term health, but also makes you feel immediately energized, increases focus and boosts productivity. .

3. Institute Work Boundaries
Establish times of day when work is a no-no. Breaks for meals are an example, when all email and voicemail goes unchecked and mobile devices are stored away. Consider firm time boundaries, such as no working before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. You can also try establishing no-work areas of your home, such as the bedroom, living room or kitchen table. .

4. Cook for the Week
Cooking dinner from scratch (and cleaning up) takes up a significant portion of the evenings. Try making enough for five major meals on the weekend and store it. Each evening after work, dinner is as simple as taking the stored food from the fridge and reheating. You’ll have homemade dinners, and a large part of the evening will be back under your control. .

5. Ask for Respect
When someone asks you for a favor or to take on another obligation, it’s OK to take a minute to think about if you have the time, or whether it’s even appropriate for you to be involved. You are allowed to gently say no, delegate tasks to others without feeling guilty, and put firm time limits on your day. Your colleagues will come to respect those boundaries as well.