“If I created the reality of being swamped and overwhelmed … I can create a completely different reality. I’m not a victim of my circumstances.”
- Leo Babauta of Zen Habits writes about what to do when you’re drowning in tasks.
Exercise Smarter (Not Longer)
Believe it or not, you don’t need to spend hours at the gym every day to get fit. There are ways to exercise smarter. One of the best? HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Short workouts where you alternate between intense bursts of activity and complete rest.
One study states that as little as three HIIT sessions per week, involving less than 10 minutes of intense exercise each, is enough “to improve aerobic capacity, skeletal muscle oxidative capacity, exercise tolerance and markers of disease risk after only a few weeks”. HIIT also burns more calories, lowers blood pressure, and so much more.
The best part? It’s so quick to do you can do it at home. No fancy gym memberships needed. You can do sprints around the block. Or jump squats in your living room.
And if this all sounds a bit too… intense? Just know that there are so many ways to make HIIT work for you.
Don’t want to jump around because you have bad knees (or downstairs neighbors)? Try a low impact HIIT routine that gets your heart rate up without any jumping (search YouTube for plenty of ideas). You can even do HIIT in the swimming pool or on a stationary bike.
Why not give it a shot tomorrow? After all, you only need ten minutes!
Review & Reflect (Daily)
Your days are packed. Life moves quickly. It’s no wonder there’s little time to stop and reflect.
But here’s the thing: if you make reflection a part of your daily routine, you’ll notice big gains. In productivity, in wellbeing, in life in general. Because reflecting is what allows us to learn from our experiences and build a better future.
Research supports this. Take one study which found that reflecting on the work we do improves our performance in the long term. "When we stop, reflect, and think about learning, we feel a greater sense of self-efficacy," say the researchers. "We're more motivated and we perform better afterward."
You only need to take a few moments at the end of your day to think about what went right, what could have been better, and how you can improve. Try it tomorrow using the End of Day Review section in your Panda Planner. You might not notice the difference after just one day – but make it a habit and the small, incremental improvements will add up to remarkable changes.
Todd Henry, Author
As the bestselling author of several books including The Accidental Creative, Todd Henry knows that quality input makes for quality output. Check out his morning routine:
- Has coffee and a healthy breakfast of oats, nuts and berries.
- Sits down with a book and spends an hour reading, as well as taking notes and writing observations.
- Spend 15-20 minutes in silence - “meditating or considering what I just read and how it applies to my life and work”.
Why it works
- Eating a balanced meal that includes protein (shown to be beneficial at breakfast) and healthy fats is a good way to kickstart the day.
- Reading is great, but note-taking while reading is even better! Studies show that taking notes helps us comprehend, consolidate and retain the information we read (there’s a great roundup of the research here).
- Reflecting on the reading consolidates the information even further and helps build connections between ideas, while the benefits of meditation include improved focus and attention.
You can do the same for interesting articles and blog posts. You’ll have a much better chance of remembering what you learn!