As I get older, it becomes more important to use my days well. I wish I had this mentality when I was in my early twenties. Life would have gone in a completely different direction, I’m sure. But that’s OK. I’m here a few (alright, about 20) years later knowing that I need to make each day count and looking for ways to ensure I do.
We’ve talked about affirmations you can use to have a great year, but what does a great day look like? How can you make each day count so that at the end of the year you say, “I don’t regret a thing?”
Brian Johnson’s class on Masterpiece Days can help. It’s so good. His site, Optimize.me, used to be a paid membership site, but it has recently become free, and Brian Johnson offers so much on that site that you would be downright silly not to create your own account. But, if you choose not to, that’s OK, you can still benefit from this class because I’ll share what I learned from it.
Make Each Day Count With These 11 Tips
1. Focus On Today
You can put things off until tomorrow, but which ‘tomorrow’ will they actually get done?
I still have things that I haven’t done despite saying I would do them tomorrow. How about you?
Brian Johnson says that what you did this day defines your life. If someone could record what you are doing, people could look back and get an idea of who you are by looking at what you do today.
So, imagine that someone is standing over you and recording what you do. What do you want them to record? Make sure you show them what you want them to see.
2. What Do You Want To Do Today?
What would your perfect day look like? What habits or tasks would you focus on today to help you reach your goals and make you feel good about yourself? Do those things.
3. Know Your ‘One Thing’ To Make Each Day Count
What is your life vision? What are you working towards? That one thing is your Northern Star, according to Jon Butcher in Lifebook. Brian Johnson calls it a clear target.
Wake up knowing what you are working for and that guiding light will help you figure out what one thing you have to do today to pursue that.
In other words, what’s the one thing that’s most important to do today to help you reach your goal tomorrow?
4. Do Something That Helps You Make Progress
If you want to make each day count, make some progress towards a goal each day.
Brian Johnson says that it doesn’t need to be a huge step… it can be a tiny step towards something that is meaningful for you. If you do a ton of little, tiny things, you can eventually get big results.
Again, this is why it’s important to know what you are working towards, also known as your life vision, also known as a clear target.
And Brian Johnson says to make progress first thing. Don’t wait until later in the day to do it or it might not get done. Doing that thing that helps you make progress first thing will set you up for a better day.
5. Make Each Day Count By Eating, Moving, And Sleeping Smarter
These are the fundamentals that you need to focus on. These three things impact your mood and motivation, so they are important if you want to make each day count.
What can you do to move your body, eat better, sleep better today?
Note: Optimize has 101 classes for sleep, nutrition, and movement.
6. Take Some Time Off
Don’t push yourself all the hours of your day. Take some time to take a break and go for a walk, sleep, meditate or anything else that helps you relax and unwind.
Brian Johnson talks about working in waves, where you go hard for a while and then take a break for a while. It’s going to benefit you and everyone around you if you do.
7. What Keeps You From Doing What You Should?
What do you need to stop doing? Bring awareness to it and find a way to stop doing it. This is going to help you make each day count in a big way. When you can stop doing the crap that makes you feel bad or slows your life down, you will start doing the stuff that makes each day more productive, fun, and rewarding.
Brian Johnson says that you can use an if-then model to stop doing the crap you don’t want to do. “If I feel tempted to do this, then I will do that.” For example, if I feel tempted to (insert a bad habit) then I will do (something better than that bad habit).
8. Get More Control Over Your Day
You have the most control over your morning and evening. So, use those times to do what you want and need to do.
- What time do you want to go to bed?
- What time do you want to wake up?
- Turn off digital stimulation in the morning and evening so that you can focus on your routine and habits.
- Meditate, exercise, journal, and do other habits in the morning that you want to have in your life.
- Do your number one thing in the morning.
9. Do Deep Work In Time Blocks
In other words, don’t do something important and a few other things at the same time. For example, don’t play on your phone while you are doing something important.
You can get into deep work by:
- Saying no to anything but your deep work.
- Creating a deep work schedule (example: I will do deep work between 9-12 or 3-5)
- Doing deep work when the inspiration or need hits.
10. Figure Out Who’s Important To You And Dedicate Time To Them
Who is important to you? Dedicate time blocks to them.
Brian Johnson dedicates time in the morning and the evening to his family.
Jon And Missy Butcher from Lifebook dedicate time to each other each day. After work, they spend serious quality time together. They also carve out a date night each week and they have monthly and yearly rituals too where they dedicate time to each other.
11. Take Stock At The End Of The Day
How can you really make each day count? Make sure your next day is better than your last.
Brian Johnson says to test, measure, appreciate and iterate. This means to try something out, measure how well it did for you, appreciate what went well (practice gratitude), and then ask yourself how you can improve tomorrow. This will ensure you are constantly improving your days so that you can make each day count.