How many times have you enjoyed a day where your mind was sharp and focused, every task seemed effortless and you soared through the day accomplishing much more than you thought possible–only to have the very next day come crashing in like a train wreck? What happened? Why such a different experience–just hours apart?

What I’ve come to notice, by observing my daily routines, is there is one vital ingredient that is key to having that highly focused, successful day. And it’s not about having more hours in your day. It’s all about energy.

What we all need in our day is not necessarily more hours to get more work done. We need the energy to quickly and efficiently get our work completed.

Without proper energy, we drag through the day, barely able to function. We certainly are not going to look ahead at how to be efficient with our time, find shortcuts in how to finish our chores quickly, or work ahead for the next day…we feel lucky to even stay focused long enough to complete one thing at a time.

But how do we get more energy in our life?

Okay – we ALL already know the answer. We’ve been educated–nay preached to–that the proper diet and exercise will give us that vitality we crave.

“But how do we cram even one more item into our existing hectic schedule?” you ask. And well you should. I struggle with this very issue on a daily basis. I have no magic wand to wave over you and make it all better.

But what I do have are some very simple…small little baby steps…take hardly any time…tips that just might help you find that extra boost of energy every day that your body and mind craves.  Here goes…

1. Stay Hydrated – We not only need water to keep our brains working at the optimum level, our organs need the water to flush out toxins (which can also make us feel sluggish). This sounds easy enough–make sure you drink plenty of water everyday. I don’t know about you, but this is my biggest struggle. So my trick is that I make it a real treat. I add a slice of fresh lemon to my glass of water, and a straw, so that I’m inclined to take sips often because I don’t even have to pick up the glass. Make it as easy as you can to get that water in your system.

2. Watch Your Caffeine Intake – There’s nothing wrong with having your caffeine. But do remember that it tends to dehydrate you. We already know we need the water, right? So control how much you consume for that reason. And of course it can cause that feeling of “crashing” after the energy boost, if you drink too much too quickly. Moderation is the key.

3. Add a Healthy Protein – so speaking about “crashing” after an energy boost…we all know what eating sweets and carbohydrates can do to us. So the next time you go to the vending machine or your kitchen cabinets for a snack, choose a handful of nuts instead of pretzels. Try to add a healthy protein to all your meals and snacks and you’ll find your energy level staying more stable.

4. Remember to Breathe! Getting adequate oxygen to our system keeps our minds sharp, our energy level up. Take time during your day to do a breathing exercise. Here’s a simple one: Exhale out slowly and deeply, until you feel that you are squeezing the last bit of air out of your lungs (use all your abdominal muscles)…then hold your breath as long as you can. Inhale from you belly all the way up to you upper chest. Then exhale again. Do this 10 times.

5.  Do 5 Minutes of Exercise – This is the most beneficial little habit I’ve added to my day–and it’s easy to implement. After two weeks you’ll do this without even thinking about it. Every half hour or so, and while still sitting at my desk, I take a moment to do some shoulder rolls and neck stretches. It not only loosens my muscles, it gets my blood circulating, clears my mind and gets me back into focus. And whenever you feel that “afternoon slump”, take a moment away from your desk. Do a quick little routine of jumping jacks and squats, along with some upper and lower body stretches. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day.

So if you find yourself feeling sluggish and dragging, stop and examine your day…what you’ve drank, eaten, or if you’ve missed some exercise. I encourage you to try implementing these little tips into you daily routine. I hope it helps you keep your energy level up there where you need it–so everyday is a success story for you!