page title icon 13 Personal Development Strategies to Break Up and Optimize Your Workday

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Have you ever had a workday that just drags on? Or do you get to the end of it, and you’re completely drained? You can’t expect your personal development or personal growth to excel on days like that, right? What if there was a way for you to have more energy, more efficiency, and for you to feel happier throughout the day?

The way I handle my workday is to break it up and find ways to optimize the day in the process. When I do this, I am usually more productive and have a better and more positive mindset. 

Adding in these little habits or actions may not seem like a big deal. But…cumulatively is where the magic happens! Being able to achieve personal growth is a tough thing to quantify. But getting into that cycle of goal setting, self-improvement, learning, and adapting is how you can truly see personal development grow over time.

Here are 13 personal development strategies and hacks you can use to break up and optimize your workday. 

1. Know what your #1 priority is for the day.


As part of my morning routine, I think about what projects I’m working on and decide what my top priority is for the day. Sometimes, it is personal growth, but most of the time, it is work-related. The top priority is the thing I feel the greatest sense of urgency to complete and what I know I’ll feel good about accomplishing by the end of the day. 

2. Journal and do a brain dump in the morning. 

I like to start off the workday by journaling what’s on my mind. When you do this, don’t limit yourself and don’t hold anything in. Let it flow: things going on in your personal life, things you’re happy about, things you’re not happy about, affirmations, etc. This is so important for long-term self-improvement and personal growth by being able to keep track of how your personal development journey changes day by day.

3. Drink water. 

First thing in the morning, down a bottle of water to help you avoid dehydration. It’ll help you feel refreshed. And rinse and repeat throughout the day…taking a 5-minute break to drink water, and sit in silence is very recharging.

4. Alternate between sitting down and standing up. 

Throughout the day, alternate between standing and sitting…sitting all day is the new smoking, detrimental to your personal growth. To make this more convenient, I have a standing desk. But, if you don’t have a standing desk, you could move to a countertop to work. 

5. Take a five-minute break to exercise. 

This is a good way to increase productivity and feel more energetic. I like to do pushups, burpees, jumping jacks, or anything that will get my heart racing. Obviously, you’ll have to choose something that works within the confines of your office or workspace, but continuous learning can still occur just from being active and trying something new! 

6. Spend five minutes in meditation. 

Meditation is a great way to calm yourself and to refocus. I like to use the InsightTimer app for my meditation. There are some great free 5-6 minute guided meditations on the app that I use…here they are:

Or you can look for other options on YouTube. What’s important here is clearing your mind and just mentally resetting. This will help you manage stress effectively, increase self-awareness, and help you feel energized for the rest of the day.

7. Make it a habit to be present in the moment. 

When you’re in your workflow, it’s easy to get lost in your own thoughts. Try making it a habit to be present in your day. Spend a minute thinking about what you’re grateful for or just sitting in silence. Yes, deep work is important, but you’ll really benefit from learning how to be present in the moment and appreciate what’s around you. A personal development growth mindset is thinking of the future, yes. What can I do tonight, tomorrow, later to help me get to where I want to be? But if you don’t enjoy the present, here and now, life will fly right by you.

8. Get away from the screen. 

If you have a computer job it’s not healthy to spend hours and hours in front of the screen. Get up and walk around, take a break, go get a glass of water, chat with someone in the office…or do whatever you can to take a break from the screen. Learn new skills, play card games at your desk, explore parts of the building or city you haven’t before, and just get a break from the screen.

9. Reach out to someone. 

As part of my morning routine, I ask myself who I want to reach out to during the day. It could be a business contact, friend, family member, or anyone who is on my mind. The idea behind this is to invest in relationships with other people. Don’t get so focused on your task list that you forget to spend time with people. 

I like to send an email or text to the person on my mind. If you like to do hand-written cards, even better! Personally, I chose the digital route because it is something I know I can sustain. 

10. Have a nutritious lunch. 

I encourage you to do an experiment at lunch. One day, have a nutritious, hearty salad that fills you up. The next day, eat a heavier meal such as a big pasta dish. Note how your afternoon goes following both meals. You will likely have more difficulty being productive after the pasta.  

11. Celebrate your wins with your team. 

Whether it is big wins or small wins, recognize the good things that happen throughout the day. You can recognize your team members for anything cool they do or the extra effort they make. It’s a great way to help them feel appreciated and for your team to feel united. To know what to celebrate, however, you’ll have to keep yourself present on what’s going on with your team. 

For example…

I recently recognized one of my team members for doing a good job in their role. Instead of just saying, “Good job,” I mentioned the specific reasons why I felt that way. I could tell they really appreciated it. So get as specific as you can when mentioning wins or recognizing your team for what they are doing.

12. Take a reading break.

I like to take a 10-minute reading break and educate myself on something new during the day. This can be an industry news article or a book (self-help, business, etc.). Whatever you read, put away distractions and focus on your self-education and continuous learning. 

13. Spend 2-3 hours on deep work. 

Deep Work was made popular by Cal Newport, the author of the book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. The basic idea is that you set yourself up to focus on your priorities for the day without distractions. 

To do this, you’ll need to turn off your notifications, close your email, and put away your phone. You shouldn’t be spending this time multitasking. Instead, you will focus solely on the project at hand and eliminate the things that would normally distract you. This is not the time for new skills, harness, and focus on that specific priority you’re working on.

Thanks for Reading!

I know these personal development strategies will help you break up your day and feel more productive and energized…so which ones will you inject into your workday right away? Simply reading this blog post is a great start to building your awareness, but action is required for the next level. You’ve got this!

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