Remember to “Spring Forward” on Sunday morning! Beginning at 2:00 AM local time, Daylight Saving Time (often referred to by its pluralized form of “Daylight Savings Time”) will begin. According to The History Channel, Daylight Saving was a measure taken to increase productivity during the hours of sunlight during the First World War.

If you ask me, there are other ways to increase productivity instead of making everyone lose an hour of sleep (how counterproductive!) Adapting your lifestyle to be more productive everyday can help you get important stuff done and allow you to enjoy the extra sunlight after March 8. Check out our tips below.

1. Carry a Planner With You

Remember that little book they made you purchase while you were in school and were required to carry with you from class-to-class? Your school was simple trying to teach you a useful life-long skill to keep yourself organized. A day planner has uses far beyond keeping track of your academic assignments. Use it to keep track of your finances, your family calendar, social events, and your business deadlines.

Planners don’t have to be little spiral notebooks in this day in age. Find a digital calendar or tool that works for you and syncs with a device that you carry everywhere with you.

2. Keep Your List of Priorities Handy

Individuals who’ve mastered time management know that tasks should be listed out and triaged according to importance. Keeping this list with you at all times will help keep those priorities at the top of your mind.

3. Eating is a Priority

If you’re like me and you’re Type A+ (or aspire to be), sometimes it’s easy to forget that refueling is a priority! Not only is the act of eating important to survival—what you eat can directly affect productivity. In the same way that eating a giant sub before your meeting at 1:00 can make you sleepy, wholesome, protein-rich or vitamin-rich foods can give you the energy you need to own that meeting! Try nuts or nut-based spreads, fruit, low-fat cheeses, greek yogurt, or spinach.

4. Follow a Structured Meeting Format

A mantra around the DIY Tax workplace is that “meetings without action items are just discussions.” Be respectful of your co-worker’s time by having meetings with a clear agenda that is sent out beforehand so attendees know what to expect. Stick to that agenda during the meeting. Ensure that tasks have clear owners and reasonable deadlines. Get status updates often. Make sure that key parties leave the meeting with action items and next steps.

5. Chip Away a Little At a Time

When you’re stuck in the forty-five minute gap between when little Jennifer’s dance practice ends and when you need to begin preparing dinner, it’s easy to look at your list and pick out one single—bottom of the priorities list—errand to do because it’s one thing that you can complete in that small time-frame. It may be scary to start something with a higher priority in that time frame because that one higher-priority item (such as graduate school assignments or grocery shopping) will take hours to complete. It’s ok to start something important and work at it for small periods of time. Any task that does not get done on the day you plan to get it done will need to be forwarded to the next day. If you forward a task, be sure to move it up in priority. Don’t forget to schedule in time where you can be flexible so that you can make time to do things that unexpectedly come up!

6. Gather All Your Materials First

Ever notice how the prep time on a recipe indicates “15 minutes” but it takes you 30 minutes to get halfway through it? You’ll find that most of that extra time is spent looking for ingredients, mixing tools, pots, or pans. Taking a minute of time before you start to get your ingredients, mixing bowls, and kitchen tools together can save you nearly ten minutes.

The same concept applies outside of the kitchen too. Try it when it comes to cleaning rooms in your home, completing an art project, filing your taxes, or completing a task at work.

7. Minimize Distractions

Have you ever seen the quote on the internet that says, “I should be studying, instead I’m on Facebook/Pinterest/Vine/Instagram”? If you ever found yourself in that situation, you understand how important it is to minimize distractions. If you need to concentrate on the task at hand, minimize all distractions (this can include the music streaming in the background if you find yourself singing instead of writing!), move to a different room, and resume your focus on the task.

Set your intention to make every hour a power hour. What will you accomplish with your productive lifestyle?

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