10 Simple Steps to Make the Most of Every Day

“Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things.” - Booker T. Washington

Our lives are a large collection of single days one right after the other. The sun rises, the sun sets, and it rises again. And in the end, the lives we chose to live will be determined by how we choose to spend each day.

Unfortunately, for most of my life, I embraced little intentionality in my days. I survived each new day, but made little effort to make the most of it. Instead, they simply just came and went… and many were wasted.

But over the past few years, my views have changed. I have begun to view each day as an important gift. I have sought to embrace each one individually and discover the potential that it holds. After all, some may get more days than others, but each of us have been given this one. And we ought to be making the most of it.

Here are 10 simple steps I have personally found helpful to make the most of every day:

1. Rise early. It was this article about becoming an early riser that motivated me to make this significant change in my sleeping habits. And I’ve never looked back. Early mornings are quiet, peaceful, productive, energizing… and my favorite part of the day.

 2. Eat right. The food we put into our bodies becomes the fuel on which it runs. We are wise to make sure it is the right kind of fuel at every meal. Just be sure to include some protein in your breakfast, your mind will be sharper and clearer because of it.

3. Exercise. According to recent studies, people who exercise regularly report to be happier, calmer, and better equipped to handle whatever the day decides to throw at them. Interestingly enough, the study seemed to indicate these benefits were experienced on a day-to-day basis, which means you can begin to experience them today by choosing to exercise just 20 minutes.

4. Accomplish one big task. We all have projects, work, and requirements for our time – things that we need to accomplish. Likely, your to-do list is longer than you can accomplish in one day. But to make the most of this day, choose one big thing on your list and do it first. If you finish, move on to the next.

5. Do one thing that you love. Apart from the day-to-day requirements of living life, you have dreams, goals, and hopes. You have hobbies that you love and activities that breathe life into who you are. Embrace these life-giving opportunities. And do one thing every day that you love.

6. Rest effectively. Rest is as essential to our bodies as food and water and air. Our bodies need to be refreshed on a daily basis and a weekly basis. Don’t neglect to schedule rest. And don’t feel guilty about it when you do.

7. Be present with others. Put away distractions. Engage in conversation. Ask questions. Give time for answers. And look people in the eye when you do. Their eyes reveal far more than their words.

8. Give to someone else. Your fullest joy in life will not be found living it selfishly for yourself. Rather, the periods of greatest joy and fulfillment are found in the moments and motivations when we are choosing to give to others. Invest your life in someone else everyday. Mentor a child. Help a co-worker. Fund a local charity. Or just make that phone call to a friend who needs to hear from you.

9 Nurture your soul. Our lives are more than flesh and blood. They are also mind and heart and soul. Find time each day to feed your soul by embracing gratitude, laughter, hope, and faith.

10. Reset. Tomorrow is another day with great potential and opportunity. You’ll want to begin it with a clear slate and a fresh start. Take 10 minutes each evening to clear the clutter and refresh your home for the next day. Tomorrow’s self will thank you for it.

Today is among the greatest gifts we have ever been given. Let’s use it wisely and refuse to waste a single one.

Image: LowJumpingFrog

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. says

    I think the biggest challenge in this day is item 7: Be present with others. I have found it very hard to put down the smart phone and give my full attention to those I am around. I think it is an addiction that we don’t realize. I have made a conscious effort on my recent journey to living a more simple life to put it away and give 100% of my attention to those I am with.

    Lastly, did you find yourself like I do? Living for the weekends? I think it’s a shame because there are so many days between weekends that we end up missing. Thanks for the post! :-) ~Brian

    • Debbie says

      Brian, It is a huge addiction which I believe is recognized. It will eventually have a 12 step program just like AA. You realizing the issue is the first step to solving it.
      Namaste

  2. Tyler says

    I do sometimes forget to eat healthy in the morning to start my day off right. It makes a huge difference on how I feel throughout the day when I do or don’t. Eating protein is very key and I make sure to remember to do that.

    Secondly, rising early in the morning is what I’ve been working on these past couple of weeks and it hasn’t been that easy. The reason why I say that is because I tend to go to bed quite late and getting only like 5-6 hours of sleep is really hard for me to greet the day. It is a working progress but so is mostly everything in life.

    Thank you for the other ideas you posted and I’ll be sure to include those in my days ahead of me!

    ~ Tyler

    • Mia says

      Today I felt really sluggish and tired and I went through the whole day doing.. well nothing! All I did was watch screens. Tomorrow I’ve decided I will do everything I intend to do and I will never have a minute boredom.
      Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, Today is a Gift, Thats why it’s called the Present

  3. says

    This is a great article, with lots of helpful advice. I would only advise one addendum to step four, “Accomplish one big task”. Before moving on to the next task, take some time to acknowledge your achievement. Not as an opportunity to inflate the ego, but I think too often we rip through tasks, and then (and often as a distraction from other important areas of our lives) we ask, what’s next? next? How about now? I think it is very healthy to just pause, acknowledge the accomplishment, smile, breathe, take a small break, THEN gather up our resolve to tackle the next task.

    Thanks for this great post, I very much enjoyed reading it, and will be implementing your advice in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Now! :) Have a great day!

  4. says

    Lucky for me, many of those items can be combined! But one thing I think is important (and can probably tie into 7&8) is to be sure to smile! People walk around looking so dour (and with their faces pointed to the device in their hands) — but you can make a difference if you smile and look people in the eye that you pass. For example, one day at the supermarket, a guy took the space I wanted because he pulled all of the way through from the other side. I found another spot a few spaces away. When I got out of my car, he looked at me and smiled and said “I’m sorry that I didn’t see you when I pulled through — I wouldn’t have taken your space.” His smile and acknowledgement really changed my attitude. I just smiled back and told him I found a fine spot too.

    IMO, the world is too grumpy! I try to make it a point to look at people and be pleasant.

    • says

      I wish there was a “like” button for comments. Great point Alex! I notice the same thing when I walk around. I like to say hello to people I don’t know but it is like nobody wants to talk to anyone these days. Your point about looking people in the eye reminds me of TIm Farris and his task of “Eye Gazing”. If I recall it correctly he talks about looking into peoples eyes as you walk by. If they catch you just keep looking and smile. It helps build confidence and most people will quickly look away…but you also notice every so often, some people will actually smile back.

    • Suki says

      I agree with you Alex the world IS too grumpy, I make it my mission to smile randomly at people in order to create some kind of smile chain. I do look slightly mad but it really is lovely when people just acknowledge one another somehow.
      I also definitely agree with early rising, not only is it lovely to have peaceful time before the world starts moving around me, I find that I am more prepared for work when I have had time to awaken fully and prepare my mind for the day ahead.

  5. says

    Thanks for this reminder. It really comes down to simple things which are very do-able. It helps to have them laid out so simply. Even focusing oon a few would make a big difference!

  6. Karen says

    I’ve been getting up at 4:55 a.m. weekdays for over 11 years due to my work schedule; not sure if that qualifies for your definition of an early riser. Even after 11 years, this wake-up time does not work well for me. My body really wants to sleep 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. I have trouble being sleepy early enough to mesh well with the 4:55 a.m. wake-up time, so I usually don’t get enough sleep and feel sleep-deprived.

  7. says

    That was a really inspiring article! I have one question for you though: how do you let go of stress? I mean it might sound like a silly question, but sometimes I feel stressed out, and I don’t know why: it’s like an underlying type of stress, like you need to do something and you forget what it is. When that happens, I usually can’t do much (can’t focus on a book or a movie) so I sit on the couch and wait. I guess it’s somewhat like meditating, although I have never seriously given it a try.
    If that happens, what do you recommend fellow minimalists should do?

    • Vanessa says

      If you are capable, walk. Exercise is the most rewarding gift you can give yourself each day…only 30 minutes of walking can help your body and kick off a wonderful spiritual awareness. Start a “Thank-you” book and write each day one thing you are thankful for…the moon, the stars, your family…this keeps you focused on the positives. Then figure out what is causing that stress…if it’s something you can control, get rid of it!

      • says

        Hi and thanks for the advice. Although going for a walk might sometimes be impractical, focusing on what I am grateful for really makes a difference!

        • says

          Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through
          some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

          Nonetheless, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be bookmarking
          and checking back often!

    • Anne Stockwell says

      Do you have children? I have the same issue (maybe not quite so bad), and I think it is mostly just an incurable part of motherhood! I guess the issue is how you manage it. I keep trying to manage it by managing my (adult) children, and that doesn’t work worth beans.

  8. says

    It’s funny because the early riser thing always gets me. I am naturally a morning person – i love mornings, its my time to meditate, drink my green smoothie, and relax. Everyone always gets surprised by that – because it is really rare for a person to be a morning person. Most people get up grumpily and pour copious amounts of coffee in themselves, so they can stay awake. The offside is that I am done by 10pm. I am flat on my bed. I cannot stay awake longer than that. :)

    • Tammy says

      I’m a morning person too! I do drink coffee, but I drink it because I love it! I can drink it any time of day. I often get to bed late, and want to sleep in, but I’m always a much better person when I just get up early, even if I get less sleep.. I accomplish more,and am in a much better mood.
      I have a really hard time past 10 pm too! Unfortunately, there are times that I can’t help it, as I babysit my grandchildren and their parents work late, and then sometimes visit. I feel rude to just go to bed when they’re here, but lately, I’ve been telling them I have to. No matter how late we’re up, we still get up around 6, and I need my sleep. :)

      • Rick says

        From a neurologist who is a brain expert, he says our brain is wired to sleep starting at 10pm. The most important time to be asleep is between 10pm and 2am. This is known as deep sleep. The body needs this deep sleep to function. This has been this way since caveman times when everyone went to sleep as soon as it was dark. Only recently in human history, maybe since Edison inventing the light bulb have we stayed up late at night. I am trying to get my deep sleep now but its hard with others in my house.

  9. says

    I love this. They’re all so achievable for me but I need to consciously remember to do them. Chalk pens on the bathroom mirror should do it! Thank you for such a timely (for me) reminder that it really doesn’t take much to make the most of our time. :)

  10. Shadmax says

    I work 10-hour overnights and #6 is especially difficult as I cannot seem to sleep well (more than a couple of hours) during the day. But eating right (timing) and exercise can be a challenge too. Any tips n tricks for those of us leading a “turned around” life?

  11. says

    Wonderful advice. I especially like #7 Be Present With Others. Sadly, when I worked at a preschool I saw all too often that some moms walked in and out with their cell phones going, hardly noticing the children they had in tow. Hopefully they stopped doing that. Time with our loved ones is precious. We need to cherish the moments we have. ♥

  12. says

    Wonderful article. I try to follow “guidelines” like this every day of my life. My to do list is forever long but by placing the larger things as a first priority, day by day, it breaks them down to something more manageable. Just as important is giving time to let your mind, body and soul relax and recoup. Thanks for the tips! Love em!

  13. Robert Newbery says

    What wonderful sound advice…I love everything about this page. All information is so worthwhile and enlightening. Best page on Facebook as far as I am concerned…look forward to all the articles.

  14. dfriesen says

    I want to thank you so much for all your positive, thought provoking posts. Everything shared just touches me and give me hope and direction to just keep on working towards finding a life that is fulfilling, challenging and rewarding. The one person I loved the most who was my everything has passed away and I’m struggling to find a life with value and meaning and hope and this site has been my lifeline. Thank you

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