4 Ways To Master The Art Of Streamlining Life
Learn how to simplify your daily routine for a more stress-free you.
Are your mornings crazed, afternoons jam-packed and evenings less-than-restful? Always feel behind the eight-ball, running from one task to the next? We hear you! Here are some slightly more practical ways we all can learn to streamline our days—and all the pesky to-dos on the list—for less stress.
Work out in the morning.
Sure, fitness at any time of day is better than no fitness at all, but many experts say that when it comes to banishing stress and setting a great foundation for your day, the morning is the ideal time to get your heart rate up. Not only will you feel better about scratching fitness off your to-do list early in the day, but exercise also boosts energizing endorphins, which can help power you through hectic mornings. Morning workouts may also help you sleep better. While the jury’s still out on whether late-evening exercise causes sleep disturbances or not, sleep experts generally warn against working out right before bedtime, which may interfere with the temperature regulation your body needs for sleep.
Don’t answer emails first thing in the morning.
When you wake up, do you run to your computer or smartphone to check messages? That’s a no-no, says Susan Fletcher, PhD, a psychologist in Plano, Texas. Dr. Fletcher says that the most successful (and least stressed) people have learned to take charge of email—and not let it summon them at all hours of the day. That’s important, she says, because starting your day with email can often tie up your time, making you less productive and putting you behind on other important tasks. Instead, try this trick: “Designate time midday to check and respond to emails,” she says. If you need more time for email, limit yourself to an hourly check-in, and give yourself only about five minutes to do it. Then turn off the chime on your computer or phone so that the email doesn’t “call out to you”—beckoning you to waste more time.
Let your phone help you get organized.
Could the secret to being more organized and less stressed be…your cell phone? “One of the best ways to deal with stress is as simple as providing yourself with an organization plan for your day, your week, your month,” says Patricia Farrell, PhD, a psychologist and the author of How to Be Your Own Therapist. If a daily planner isn’t working for you, consider a phone app. reQall, a new app for iPhone, Droid and BlackBerry phones, lets you organize your to-do lists, projects and other daily worries into actionable tasks. Best part? It’s free!
Start your day the night before.
The key to a less stressful day is starting it hours before your alarm clock goes off, says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. She suggests running through a before-bed checklist, paying special attention to the things that will help ease your stress the following day, like choosing your outfit (and your kids’), getting bags packed and lunches made. “You could do all this in the morning, but doing it the night before helps make the next day start more smoothly,” she says.