10 Daily Habits for a Productive Day

I had the Mondayest morning ever yesterday walking into my living room, being very confused as to why Jordan was standing in a huge pile of sand.  And then I saw the empty breadcrumb container a few feet away.  These toddlers are quick I tell ya!  They don’t miss an opportunity for mischief!  But today is a new day and I think y’all are going to like today’s post!  It’s Part 2 in collaboration with my favorite fitness brand, Zella at Nordstrom, and it’s all about how to kick butt and be productive every day!  I LOVE writing these kinds of posts and sharing things like this, so please let me know if it resonates with you! 
Part 1 shared what I eat in a day, and I wanted Part 2 to be about my exercise routine, then I realized, it’s not so important what exercise you do, just that you do something on a consistent basis.  The number 1 reason people say they don’t exercise is that they don’t have time!  I get it, but we have to make time and make it a priority if it’s important to us.  So, this post will give you my 10 habits for a productive day so you can live life less stressed and fit in those workouts!!

Get Your Life Together | 10 Daily Habits for a Productive Day

1. Plan Your Week In Advance on Sunday Night

It’s really all about routines and habits. Every week I sit down with my weekly planner and map out the whole week ahead so I can visually see it at a glance. First I schedule any appointments, kid things, then block my workday, and finally schedule in my workouts once I see where I have that time period.
Right now, my goal is three group classes and then one day of just cardio. The group classes I do are high intensity classes and incorporate strength training as well.  I like to do these classes at 6 AM to jump start my day and get the workouts over and done with right away so they are nagging at me all day. I’m home by 7:15 AM to help James finish getting ready for school and that’s about when Jordan is just waking up.
There’s a class on Saturday at 11AM that I like to go to, but it depends on my son’s sports schedule for that day.  If he has a game at that time, I have to work around that because I’m not going to miss his game.   Simply making an appointment in my calendar for working out helps keep me committed to it.
You might prefer working out at home to a video, orange theory, spin classes, running, or something like yoga or Pilates. To me, it really doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are getting your body moving several times a week for at least 30-45 minutes. It’s super important to include strength training though because that’s one of the best ways to stay strong and sculpt your body. Don’t worry about getting big muscles like a man, that would take extreme measures like lifting super heavy weight consistently and eating in insane amount of protein every day. For most of us, lifting weights will just help give you a more toned look.
Plan your Week on Sunday night

2. Plan Your Day the Night Before

This next one is new for me for about the past month, but it’s highly effective!  Every night before bed, I review what I got done that day and what I didn’t, and plan for the next day.  I do this for work things, but also quickly review the calendar for my son’s schedule to make sure he’s got everything he needs for school and the sports schedule to make sure there’s a clean uniform, etc.  If there’s a doctor appointment, for example, I make sure I have the insurance card handy.  Returns are all packed in the car.  You get the idea!

Looking at your day the night before and then preparing for it makes the next day run so much smoother!

Plan your Day

P.S. my 12 year-old girl game is strong, hence my love of stickers, pens and paper! Use whatever helps planning more fun for you! 

stickers

3. Wake Up Early or Earlier

If you find yourself struggling with not enough hours in the day, getting up at least 30 minutes earlier than normal will help keep that stress at bay.  Even if you just have “you time” or do a Miracle Morning, you’ll start your day so much more ahead of the game as opposed to struggling to keep up!
There’s no sugar coating that it sucks bad in the moment if you’re not used to waking up earlier, but if you keep at it, your bedtime will get earlier and you will adjust to the new routine.  I find that when I stay up late, I’m just vegging out and watching bad tv and it’s actually not all that relaxing.  I don’t feel better the next day than if I had just gotten in bed and read and went to sleep sooner!
Sometimes biting the bullet and deciding to wake up early to work out is the only viable exercise option since many of you work full time and who wants to workout after work?! Or if you have kids with extra curricular activities, after work is out anyway.  I know it’s hard to wake up at a time begins with a five, but once you are up and at ’em and have that workout over and done with you will feel amazing! Trust me! And once you get in the groove of waking up early, it won’t be so difficult.  I have some tips to help you wake up early here.
Over 40 skincare routine

Zella crop joggers

Top • Crop Joggers • Leopard Sandals

It’s kind of hard to tell in the photo, but this athletic tee is lightweight and breathable with the cutest criss crosses at the front.  Trust me, you will love these joggers!  They are perfect for running around in too and ultra comfortable with a wide waistband and pockets.  XXS is my perfect size in them.

4.  Listen to Your Smart Self

This one comes in handy all the time, but especially if you’ve committed to waking up early and then when morning comes, you’re selfish self starts sabotaging you, saying, “just hit snooze” or “how about tomorrow?”  #sneaky
Whenever those negative or self sabotaging thoughts get into your head, recognize it and remember what you’re smarter, “best self”, has planned for you. For example, when your alarm goes off at 5:30 and it’s time to work out and you inevitably hear that voice that says just go back to bed, remember that you’re smarter self wants you to get up, work out and be healthy and fit.  Don’t sit there as an eves-dropper to that mental conversation in your head. Take action immediately. You’ll have to get over how you feel in the moment in exchange for how you want to live your life. And just trust that after you have completed your goal, you will feel so proud of yourself and that is priceless!
Top Fit:  It runs a little large, I’m wearing XXS. I like a lightweight top to wear over my sports bra when it’s on the cool side out.  This one is comfortably thin with a cute cutout in the back. 
Shorts Fit:  It runs TTS, I’m wearing XXS, but should have gotten an XS.  These shorts are awesome for running and are lined with a tulip hem and comfortable, wide waistband.  They’re also reflective if you run outside when it’s getting dark or the sun is just coming out. 
Zella orange crop leggings
Leggings Fit:  It runs TTS, I’m wearing XS.  These are my go-to leggings with a high waist and calf mesh panel.  Nordstrom has been carrying these forever and I hope they never go out of stock!  I like the crop length because I tend to get too hot in long leggings unless it’s really cold out!  I couldn’t pass up this cheerful new color! 
Sneakers Fit: TTS, I just got these so I have only worn them a few times, but so far so good!  They are lightweight and ultra flexible, and designed to be worn with or without socks.
Zella altheisure outfit
Sports Bra Fit:  TTS with a good amount of support for low impact sports and has moisture wicking fabric.  I like this bra for when I’m doing inclines on the treadmill and it’s also great for yoga.  It’s actually called the Vinyasa Sports Bra.  You gotta see the strappy back! 

5.  Lay Out Your Clothes the Night Before

How many times have you stared into a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear?!  It happens to all of us! Look at the weather, then pick out your outfit, down to shoes and accessories!
Green scallop shorts and white ruffled tank w wedges
I do this for my early morning workouts too!  Even though it’s just a workout outfit, I still pull it out of my drawer and put it on the island in my closet so it’s all ready to go!
Workout outfit

6.  Plan Your Meals for the Week

This is critical not only for being healthy, but for saving time and not being frazzled each night when the inevitable question pops up, what’s for dinner??  It prevents you from having to stop and pick up something after work last minute and also from grabbing fast food!  I meal plan every Saturday morning.  The hardest part is just choosing the meals, but I made a recipe binder of our favorites and that’s helped a ton!

7. Wake Up to a Clean Kitchen

You might wonder how this will help you find more time to exercise but trust me it works! I have been doing this religiously without missing a night for the last few months and it’s been a total game changer.
If you wake up in the morning and there’s a sink full of dishes, you might be tempted to want to take care of that first thing instead of heading out to a work out. For me, waking up to a clean kitchen just sets my day off on the right foot! Every night after dinner I do three things: 1) put all the dishes in the dishwasher and run it if it’s full; 2) wipe down the sink and counters; 3) and vacuum the floors.
Doing these three things has also helped me keep the kitchen clean all day long and makes prepping dinner especially easy! I don’t have that wasted energy of “oh no, I have to clean the kitchen before I can even get started cooking.”  It’s dreamy seriously!
Clean Kitchen at Night

8. Use a Timer to Stay on Task

With all that we have to get done in a day, I find it helps me stay on task and get work done more quickly when I use a timer.  I have the Be Focused app on my computer and it’s set for 25 minutes, then a 5 minute break.  I will work uninterrupted in those 25 minute increments and if something pops into my mind, just jot it down on a note pad next to me, but I won’t stop working or do anything else until the timer goes off.  Then I do take a 5 minute break which is perfect for quickly switching gears to answer comments and respond to DMs and emails or make a quick call.
Having the timer also helps keep me going when I want to quit.  Or, when I need to head back to my office at night to finish something.  I say, “just give it 25 minutes” and that will give me the nudge to get it done.

9.  Go to Bed Early

We need our beauty sleep ladies!  Not just for aesthetics, but for sanity!  If you’re running on empty, you need to recharge with a good night’s sleep.  Especially if you’re waking up early.  I’m in bed by 9, asleep by 10, when I wake up at 5:20.
 Zella altheisure outfit
Criss Cross Top TTS • Leggings on sale • No Show Socks
You can see how much I love these leggings – I have them in several colors.  And I swear by these no show socks.  I wear them with all my athletic shoes, even my slip on sneakers! They stay put and keep their shape!

10.  Mediate and/or Pray

Our lives are often so busy and we’re pulled in so many directions that it’s truly amazing to stop and realize that there’s a helping hand out there for us, just waiting to be called upon.  When I start my day thinking, “I have so much to do today I don’t even know where to start” and that not smart voice wants to tell me, “you don’t have time to meditate or pray” is exactly when I know I need it the most.  We ALL have 10 minutes to sit down and be still.  You could try it now.  I bet you’ll end up with a better sense of calm and focus after.
Which of these habits will you start incorporating today?? Let me know in the comments! 

Get Your Life Together | 10 Daily Habits for a Productive Day

If you liked this post, you might also like How To Plan Your Entire Year in Advance.  It’s not too late! 😉

*Affiliate links used in collaboration with Zella
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48 Comments

  1. Jennie
    April 17, 2018 / 6:03 am

    These are all amazing tips! I do some of them already, but I’m definitely going to try setting a timer to work without interruption/distraction. I teach full time, have 3 busy kids, I’m in grad school and I live on a farm, so every minute of my time is valuable. It’s really all about me managing my time and not letting it control me. Thanks so much for the great info and inspiration!

  2. April 17, 2018 / 7:08 am

    I totally agree with number 1. Sunday night planning is so crucial for me. I plan meals, the days ill workout, what blog stuff ill get done, and even what nights ill wash my hair lol!

  3. April 17, 2018 / 7:37 am

    This was such a great post! I’m going to start planning my day out, using the 25 minutes of work trick and listening to my smart self 🙂 Waking up early is hard, but it’s true that you start to get in the routine of it!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:19 pm

      I live by that timer while I’m writing my blog posts! And it also lets me see how long it took me to do the post total!

  4. April 17, 2018 / 7:40 am

    Megan! I’m so glad you did this post, it’s super helpful! But, I just got this new book it’s called “The Five Minute Journal” and I literally thought of you (in the most non-weird way) b/c I think you’d love it. It’s this journal where you spend a few minutes each morning and evening doing some reflection, goal setting and gratitude. I’m not going to be spammy or anything with the link b/c I know you can find it, but you should look into it. I bought it at Paper Source but it’s online too. The same company also makes a productivity journal, but I haven’t seen/used that one.
    Have a great day!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:18 pm

      I love that kind of thing and LOVE that you thought of me!! Thank you!! 🙂

  5. Tina
    April 17, 2018 / 7:50 am

    I love this – real/tangible things we can do to have a better day. It’s very encouraging! Thanks!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:18 pm

      Thanks so much Tina!!

  6. Jessica
    April 17, 2018 / 8:02 am

    I love all of these tips, especially the one about listening to your “smart self” instead of your “selfish self.” I think that could be applied to so many different situations in our lives! Thanks for this post! I’m pinning this one for sure!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:18 pm

      That tip has been huge for me!!

  7. Stephanie T
    April 17, 2018 / 8:31 am

    I already do quite a few of the things that you listed, but there are others that I can incorporate. Also, which planner are you using in the pictures? From the looks of it, it would keep me more organized than my current planner! Thanks!

  8. Anne
    April 17, 2018 / 9:28 am

    I absolutely love this type of post!! I just bought the stickers last weekend and at first I thought I was being silly decorating my planner, but it has put a happy and positive tone to everything I have to do! Thank you for sharing these ideas! I love them all!!

  9. Amy
    April 17, 2018 / 9:42 am

    Great tips! Thank you! Where did you get that awesome planner and stickers??

  10. April 17, 2018 / 9:42 am

    All of these are true – and I am very much the 12-yr old girl with my planner and stickers as well. Just got my new one last night and was all giddy loading it with fun stickers. My husband thinks I’m ridic. I get up at 4am to workout and it is a B**** but I am much more successful in fitness (and in life) for it.

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:15 pm

      Yes!! I love my stickers- ever since I was a kid!! ha!

  11. Kelly
    April 17, 2018 / 10:02 am

    Love this post. So helpful, Megan! For the most part I lie out my clothes for the next day and last night I didn’t and boy was it a STRUGGLE this morning! I tried on 4 different tops. This weather that can’t decide if we are in winter or spring makes it even harder. I’m going to work to implement some of your other habits. They are all great!

  12. Jenny
    April 17, 2018 / 10:37 am

    Thanks for the inspiring post!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:14 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Jenny!!

  13. Dawn
    April 17, 2018 / 10:39 am

    Thank you so much for sharing! You are such an inspiration. Love those new Nike bright colored shoes. Dawn

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:14 pm

      Aren’t those fun?!

  14. Silvina
    April 17, 2018 / 11:43 am

    Hi Megan! can you recomend us gym videos to do them at home? I will appreciate it!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:14 pm

      I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard awesome things about the BBG workouts and you can use an app on your phone to do them!

  15. Lindsey VanPelt
    April 17, 2018 / 12:19 pm

    Megan, I couldn’t agree more with you on this post. I, like you, lead a crazy life, and unfortunately, if it isn’t written down, it flat doesn’t happen. My husband and I use Cozi, a scheduling app (and website, and it’s free!) for not only our personal appointments, but also for our business.
    Super helpful! I also write a daily list at night for the following day, and try to meal prep as much as possible on the weekends. This weekend, I am planning an epic freezer meal stock up!

    Thanks for your post, as always, and I’m going to check out that Be Focused app!

  16. Dana Longwell
    April 17, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    Cozi has changed our lives – LOVE it! We put our grocery, to do, etc. lists on there too. My three oldest sons can update it as well. If i’m running to the store, I’ll send out a quick text asking everyone to update cozi with what they need/want.

  17. Dana Longwell
    April 17, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    Very useful post, Megan – thank you! I need to start meal planning and I’ve been doing the clean kitchen thing you mentioned (most of the time) for a little while now and I agree it is so nice to wake up to.

  18. Mireille
    April 17, 2018 / 12:58 pm

    I have been having a hard time getting back into the habit of my home workout sort they might be so I think I will try waking up earlier to do them. All I need is 20 min before the kids are up 3 times a week. I usually walk briskly 3 to 5 days a week but I do need to time my post baby body and this would help!! Thanks for the reminde rs

  19. Aubrey
    April 17, 2018 / 1:27 pm

    I love this post!!! You are my productivity inspiration!! These are great tips and I especially loved what you said about remembering what your best smartest self has planned for you and listening to this self!
    Thank you!!💛✨

  20. Kersten
    April 17, 2018 / 1:33 pm

    I have combined #1, 6, and 8 into a weekly practice I call my “power hour.” Technically I have two hours. One for work on Friday afternoon where I review my schedule, write out my daily to do lists, clean up my desk and e-mail. One for home on Sunday morning where I review the family schedule, meal plan/grocery list, go through file folders that corral paper (bills to pay, school stuff for kids, etc.), and write weekly note to our nanny for anything that is outside of the normal schedule. Nothing feels better than starting Monday knowing exactly what needs to get done!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 17, 2018 / 3:17 pm

      I totally agree! It’s the best way to start the week!

  21. Kim
    April 17, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    Love the tips!! What planner do you use? So hard to find the perfect one.

  22. Patti
    April 17, 2018 / 7:18 pm

    Zella is my fav too!

  23. Stephanie
    April 17, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    Awesome idea to make a folder with all your fav recipes! Literally just implemented this tonight! Thanks for the inspiration.

  24. Michelle
    April 18, 2018 / 4:34 am

    Love this post!! Thank you for keeping it real and realizing some of us do have to get up early to fit it all in. I get up at 4:30 am to get my workouts in and it’s so worth it. My day is always better. I’m going to start incorporating the timer…what a great idea. As always…thank you for the awesome post😀

  25. Kellee
    April 18, 2018 / 6:01 am

    I absolutely love the plan your day the night before! I’m going to start doing this in my journal so it will get me motivated! And I use cute stickers in my planner too! 🙂

  26. April 18, 2018 / 9:24 am

    all great tips, thanks for sharing….I really understand you with pen, stickers and co. XD

  27. Patti
    April 18, 2018 / 10:12 am

    I love these posts :). All the tips are helpful – even ones I may have tried before are a fantastic reminder to get back on track. Thank you!

  28. Leeann
    April 18, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    What gym/place do you take those morning classes? I’ve been doing CrossFit here in Houston for about 2 years. But I’m getting burnt out and looking for a change of pace!

    • Megan
      Author
      April 18, 2018 / 9:51 pm

      Hi! I go to the Houstonian- it’s great for families because they have great childcare, a kids gym, and a pool!

  29. Anje
    April 19, 2018 / 11:00 am

    These ARE my favorite posts that you write. Thank you!

  30. Southern & Style
    April 29, 2018 / 11:25 am

    I would be really interested to know where you get your packs of stickers that you showed for your weekly planning! I love using stickers to jazz up my planner as well, but have a hard time finding “cute” ones in stores!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern and Style

    • Megan
      Author
      April 29, 2018 / 2:39 pm

      Hi! I’m all about the stickers!! I usually get mine at Michael’s! 🙂

  31. Aileen
    April 30, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed reading it and have started to incorporate some of them. I do my weekly planning on a Saturday morning now whilst my daughter has her swimming lesson. I have to sit beside the pool for 30 minutes so its a good time to do my planning. I have only just started so I need to give it a few weeks to get into the habit but already I can see the benefits! I think the idea of cleaning your kitchen every night was already in my head but seeing it written down has really made me focus on this and what a difference it makes to me coming down in the morning. Thanks for the tips 🙂

    • Megan
      Author
      May 1, 2018 / 7:51 am

      That is a great time to carve out those 30 minutes! That cleaning the kitchen has made the biggest difference in our house- it stays much cleaner throughout the whole day now. And I’m teaching my 8 year-old to put his dishes into the dishwasher instead of just the sink so the sink stays empty!

  32. April 30, 2018 / 9:45 pm

    Very informative article. I have just started maintaining a daily log of what happened at work that day and what I intend to do the next day and to be honest, within just 30 days of practicing it in itself has made a sea of difference in my productivity.

    • Megan
      Author
      May 1, 2018 / 7:48 am

      It’s a great plan! I love those productive days!!

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