14 Life Hacks Busy Professionals Use To Optimize Their Time
Everyone has useful little tricks that make them more efficient—think keyboard shortcuts for your everyday life. These “life hacks” can help us work smarter and cope with the stressful demands of our careers.
Amidst a hectic work schedule, I am a believer in taking frequent walking breaks. This helps me not only stretch my legs and get a little exercise, but it also allows me to reboot my brain and look at my work with fresh eyes. Taking frequent, short loops around the office space also allows me to make and maintain connections with co-workers, often leading to meaningful collaborations.
Jonathan H. Westover, Ph.D , Utah Valley University & Human Capital Innovations, LLC
The neuroscience on the ROI of mindfulness is undeniable. Mindfulness can help manage stress, enhance focus and cultivate well being. I do a daily morning mindfulness practice and that fuels me for sustainable performance. I also encourage all busy executives to do the same.
Shefali Raina , Alpha Lane Partners
At the same time every day, I open a spreadsheet that contains 10 key accountability questions. I spend five minutes answering, honestly, these 10 questions. From the results, I am able to be grateful, shift my mindset as needed and focus on any activity that will support my continuous learning, development and transformation—thus keeping me accountable and free from distortion and stress.
Lori Harris , Harris Whitesell Consulting
To help me with the stressful demands of my busy life, I take a few minutes to breathe deeply and center myself before getting out of bed or sitting. Being conscious of my breathing (by sound and feel) helps me to show up as my best self. I use a personal mantra (mind tool) and repeat throughout the day when I’m feeling challenged or stressed.
Gwendolyn Miller-Jones , Synergy Unlimited LLC
My to-do list is always growing, as is the case for so many of us. I recommend picking three things on your list every day to tackle. This will help you experience small wins and realize you are actually making progress, even if it doesn’t feel like it!
Brooke Schultz , Brooke Schultz LLC
My daily hack is quiet time. Sometimes it’s slowing down and reflecting, watching an inspirational TedTalk or taking a walk. Most recently, due to high-stress situations, I’ve been working on a jigsaw puzzle. It’s amazing how calm and focused I feel after being totally engrossed in fitting pieces of a picture together—after which I can fit pieces of the big picture of my life together.
Frances McIntosh , Intentional Coaching LLC
Meditating 20 minutes a day allows us to quiet our minds and become intuitively aligned. This means we can let go of our ego that tries to control the outcome and, instead, become mindful of important matters. Not only does meditation help us in the short run with stress, but it can also change our brain by shrinking the amygdala: the emotional center that puts us into a fight or flight reaction.
Susan K. Wehrley , BIZremedies
As a mom of two young kids who runs her own business, I have a long list. However, I am able to stay focused and happy every day thanks to my morning ritual of gratitude, intention setting and my meditation “combo.” After waking up, I’d spend 15 minutes taking deep breaths, “sink” into the three things I am happy about in the previous day and set a maximum of three intentions for the new day..
Amy Nguyen , Happiness Infinity LLC
When I find myself feeling stressed or worried, I grab my notebook and do a visioning exercise. What does my ideal future look like? What work am I doing? How is my family? I take time to write out my vision and then I pretend it’s my current reality. I feel how I would feel if all the details were true. This creates feelings of gratitude and joy, and lessens stress and worry. It works every time!
Cheryl Czach , Cheryl Czach Coaching and Consulting, LLC
For years, my daily hack has been scheduling my day around my gym routine. I get the exercise endorphin rush first thing in the morning, which gets me energized to tackle my workday. I need to feel physically “awake” to be at the best place to handle the demands of the day. My friends used to laugh at my “obsession.” Anything is better than nothing. Find something that works for you!
Susan Sadler , Sadler Communications LLC
My morning ritual consists of one hour of personal time set aside to pray, exercise and read. The first 20-minute chunk is devoted to my daily devotionals and praying. The second 20-minute chunk is a YouTube exercise and the third 20-minute chunk is spent reading. As a book nerd, and with a number of unread books lying around, I have had to carve out a special time to read a few pages a day.
Daisy Wright , The Wright Career Solution
In the race to get things done, we can overlook the very things that make us happy and successful. By taking the time to frame a “daily question,” one that serves as a reminder of what really matters to us, we keep that priority alive. For example, I ask “Have I reached out to someone important to me today and made a connection?” It helps to choose a time of day to ask, such as afternoon coffee.
Karyn Gallant , Gallant Consulting Group
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good enough! In our perpetual state of busyness, freeing yourself from the need to be perfect, to always achieve and do more, allows you to focus on what you are doing right, rather than what needs improvement. It also allows you to be good enough in one, several or all areas of your life. It’s amazing how good enough creates time and space! Give it a try.
Palena Neale, Ph.D , unabridged
I design each day to make sure I have a healthy balance of work—independent and collaborative—as well as play, reflection and time for nourishment. Treating my calendar as a program to curate, I endeavor to eliminate any activity—meetings, calls and dreaded “catch-ups”—that are not essential. This produces days I can’t wait to experience, as they are beautifully drafted with intention.
Joanne Heyman , Heyman Partners