Did you know you can time your way to success? From starting a diet to grocery shopping — there’s an optimal day for everything. Here, study-proven ways to use the calendar to get things done faster and make your life easier.
To make habits stick: Start Monday
Thinking of starting a diet? Mark Monday on your calendar. “Our mind ‘resets’ before the start of any new time period, like the beginning of the week,” says Paula Sullivan, author of Finally Worry Free.
“When we’re refreshed, change feels easier.” And whether you want to take up a new exercise regimen or carve out more mindfulness time, boost your success by aiming for first thing in the morning. Why? Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone linked with memory formation, are higher when you first wake up, making it easier for your brain to hardwire new habits.
Also smart: In one study, when given a choice, folks picked the first day of spring (March 20) four times as often as other dates to start working toward a goal — the date signals a new start and is linked with greater success.
To speed shopping: Go Wednesday
Sunday is the most popular day to shop, so aim for the middle of the week, ideally Wednesday. And the best time of day? Hit the sweet spot of around 10 am — early enough to avoid crowds but late enough to give clerks enough time to restock. You can also save time by mapping out your route: Just create a shopping list that goes aisle-by-aisle.
This strategic step lets you avoid backtracking through the store — making your grocery run as much as 20 percent more efficient.
Also smart: Meat and seafood prices are reduced — sometimes by as much as 30 percent — once a day, either in the morning or evening. Ask your store manager when the markdown is done to help you time your trip.
To maximize appointments: Pick Friday
When you need to schedule a doctor’s appointment, skip Monday and ask for Friday instead. According to a survey, more folks are forced to postpone doctor’s appointments at the beginning of the week than at the end, because doctors are often seeing patients who had emergencies over the weekend. According to the study, you’ll also have the shortest wait time on Thursdays and Fridays, and doctors tend to spend more time with patients on these days, particularly in the morning.
Also smart: Schedule dental appointments at 3 pm. Local anesthetics like lidocaine last nearly three times longer in the afternoon, which means less pain if you need work done.
- A challenging task: When it comes to taking care of a difficult task, the earlier the better, says Neen James, author of Attention Pays. We tend to be more focused and organized in the morning, she explains. “Getting your toughest to-do done first sets the tone for your entire day, making you more productive.”
- A tough conversation: According to a recent study, the best time to schedule virtual meetings or sign in on Zoom is 3 PM. That’s late enough that you can prepare for the conversation, without lunch and other appointments getting in the way, yet early enough in the day that you’ll still be sharp and focused.
- Drifting off to sleep: Journaling has many benefits, including lowering stress hormones and improving focus. Supercharge those perks by opening up your diary at night. Simply jotting down three things you’re grateful for before bed, no matter how small, helps you fall asleep faster and accomplish more the next day.