Annus Mirabilis: 24 Ways to Make 2024 Your Miracle Year

written by Dan Silvestre
Personal Development

annus mirabilis

In 1905, Albert Einstein published four papers in a scientific journal. These became major contributions to the foundation of modern physics.

Because he published these papers in a single year, 1905 became his annus mirabilis.

2024 is here.

Will it be your Annus Mirabilis?

Here are 24 actionable ideas to help you crush the year ahead. I’ve divided them into work, health, money, and personal.

Start by picking one from each category to get started this week. Get used to it for a month before moving on to the next one.

Repeat this for the year. Do that and 2024 will be your best year ever.

Your Annus Mirabilis awaits.

Annus Mirabilis: Work Actions

annus mirabilis work actions

#1 Start your day doing deep work

Go into your calendar and schedule a one-hour block each morning for deep work​. Protect this timeslot at all costs.

Work on your most important task of the day during this one hour. One hour might not seem like a lot of time, but it compounds over time.

#2 Block your time

​Time blocking​ associates tasks with time. This helps you decide when a task will get done, and how long it’s going to take. It also reduces context switching​, helping you stay focused.

Use your morning for intensive and creative work as this is your biological prime time​. Save shallow work as well as meetings and other obligations for after lunch.

#3 Use a prioritization framework

It doesn’t matter if you use the Eisenhower Matrix, the $10K framework, of the ABCDE method. Get used to prioritizing your tasks​. You can do it during your weekly planning​. This ensures you’re always working on your highest-leveraging tasks.

​Delegate​ unimportant tasks that are draining your time and zapping your motivation.

#4 Set email “windows” during the day

To stop email overload​, have a specific time to process email.

Email “windows” are chunks of time to batch process​ email. I process my email after I complete my biggest task of the day, after lunch, and before ending my workday.

Decide your email “windows” and schedule them into your calendar. Aim to get to inbox zero​ every single day.

#5 Single-task

Multitasking doesn’t work. Do one thing at a time​.

Focus is not splitting your attention into 5 different things. Focus on spending your full attention on one thing. Work on that one thing until it’s completed. And then move on to the next one.

This advice can also be applied to tasks, projects, and obligations.

#6 Get used to saying “no”

You never have enough time because you keep saying “yes” to everything. Protect your time. Say “no” more often.

To say “no” politely, say you have a rule. “I have a rule that I don’t accept sponsorships.” “I have a rule that I don’t speak for free anymore.”

People respect rules. They accept that it’s not you rejecting the offer, request, or opportunity. But the rule allows you no choice.

Whenever you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else.

Saying “no” is the ultimate productivity hack.

#7 Take more breaks

We don’t take enough breaks during our days.

The simplest way to make sure you’re taking enough breaks is using the ​Pomodoro Technique​. Work for 25 minutes of focus and then take a five-minute break. Repeat the cycle 4 times and then take a longer 15-20 minute break.

You can also change the default allocated time for other things. For example: change meetings from one hour to 50 minutes, or from 30 minutes to 25. This allows you a quick break before moving on to the next thing.

Annus Mirabilis: Health Actions

annus mirabilis health actions

#8 Prioritize sleep

Put an alarm on your phone by default an hour before bedtime to remind you to begin your pre-bed ritual. Leave your laptop and mobile phone in another room and physically unplug the TV.

Leave a book at your bedside table within arm’s reach. Make sleep an easier option than playing on your phone.

#9 Eat healthier

Remove from the house food that isn’t on your diet or you know is unhealthy. To always make smarter decisions​, stop buying them at the supermarket altogether.

Buy items from the outer edges of the grocery store. Healthy, wholesome foods are on the perimeter. Junk and processed foods tend to live in the aisles.

Trick your brain into eating less per meal by using smaller plates and bowls.

Plan your meals so you always know what to eat each day. Use Sundays to cook for the entire week and freeze excess food.

#10 Drink more water

Have a bottle next to your bed so you get in the habit of drinking water immediately after waking up. Keep a water bottle at your desk throughout the day and fill with it cold water to energize your brain.

Only have water at home. Ban everything else, especially juice and soda. Always order water when eating out, instead of soda. Bonus points: it’s cheaper.

Drink a glass of water before meals. It will also make you less hungry.

#11 Do a digital detox

Do a ​digital detox​ to develop a healthier relationship with tech. Give your brain a rest by taking some analog time.

Go through your apps and delete everything that you don’t use. Also, remove infinity-scrolling websites — such as social media or news apps. Disable all notifications but phone calls and text messages.

Carry your phone in a different pocket and instead put your wallet there. You’ll become aware of how many times you reach for your phone out of habit and muscle memory. Take those extra seconds to question if you need to use your phone right now. When you get used to the new pocket, change it again.

#12 Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes

Physical exercise is a must. Everyday. Forget rest days.

Lay out your workout clothes the night before and put them next to your bed. The moment you wake up, you’ll have everything ready to go.

Find a fitness program that you love. All movement is good movement.

Exercise boosts your energy levels. It also improves your mood, controls your weight, and promotes better sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every single day.

Whenever possible, exercise outside. Spending time out of the house lifts your spirits, as well as providing many health benefits.

#13 Move your body throughout the day

Go for a 15-minute walk every morning. Just you, no tech devices.

Always park your car a healthy distance from your destination. For example: at the far end of the parking lot or the opposite end of the block.

Take the stairs when you have a choice. You’ll work more steps into your day without having to work in the time needed for a traditional workout.

Stand up during meetings at work.

Annus Mirabilis: Personal Actions

annus mirabilis personal actions

#14 Read more books

Mark Twain said, “If you don’t read, you’re not any better than people who can’t read”.

Books are one of the best ways to be constantly learning. Someone else has already solved your problems. They are not new. People have been dealing with some form of them for thousands of years. Read books, they’ll give you answers.

To develop a ​reading habit​, always be reading. Be in the middle of a book at all times. Better still, carry one with you at all times–a physical one.

Download audible and always have one audiobook going while you’re driving or on a walk. Download the Kindle app and always have one book going at a time.

Instead of watching TV to fall asleep, read. Bonus: You’ll fall asleep faster since you’re not staring at a screen.

#15 Cook more at home

Foster a healthier relationship with food. For me, cooking at home is a great activity to wind down from the day.

You can try a new recipe and surprise your significant other. Or prepare one of your specials.

If you want to save time during the week, batch cook a week’s worth of meals on your weekend. This will save you time both in cooking and cleaning.

Plus, you’ll always have something healthy in your fridge.

#16 Host a healthy dinner party

This year, take your social gatherings to the next level. Host a healthy dinner party and enjoy quality time with friends and family.

Sounds like a lot of work? Keep the menu simple or encourage guests to bring their favorite dish, pot-luck style.

If you want to take it one step further, try hosting second-degree dinners​ to meet new cool people.

The truth is most people want to be involved in social activities but no one wants to organize them. Take the lead and organize it.

#17 Learn a new skill

Do you have a hobby or skill that you’ve always wanted to learn? Pottery, yoga, data analysis, a new language? Well, this is the year.

Search for courses or classes you can attend where you live. It will be 2 for 1: you’ll be learning something and meeting new people.

#18 Plan a surprise date night for your partner

What do you think would be a great date night for your partner? Trying a new restaurant, playing games, or a night out?

Start by making a list. Pick the 1 or 2 activities you’re most confident about and start there.

#19 Give yourself a DIY project

Anything you can do with your hands. Maybe it’s a gift for someone. Or a home upgrade you’ve been meaning to do.

DIY projects engage your creativity in a new and different way.

#20 Explore your city or town like a tourist

Imagine you’re taking a holiday weekend in your city or town. What would you do?

You can take a free walking tour. Or a historic tour of a specific place. What about museums? Art galleries? What can you visit?

If you’re into food, search “your city’s best restaurants” and try something new.

If you live in a big city, you can even divide your exploring days by neighborhoods.

Annus Mirabilis: Money Actions

annus mirabilis money actions

#21 Pay yourself first

Create a recurring transfer to a savings account each time you get paid. What remains becomes your monthly budget.

When you get promoted, keep your monthly expenses at the same level as before. Default all the extra income to savings. This is one of the smartest decisions you can make in money.

Match bad habits with savings. For every dollar that you spend on something you want to consume less of, match it with a deposit into savings. Micro-transactions feel less painful.

Place a piggy bank at your entrance. When you get home, put all your coins in it.

Don’t underestimate the power of piggy banks: small change adds up fast.

I saved more than $2000 in less than a year in Australia. And now, even living frugally, I get around $500-$600 every 3 months. Deposit your piggy bank into a savings account

#22 Track your expenses

For the last 10 years, I’ve written down all my expenses on a spreadsheet. I review receipts and purchases at the end of the month.

Being aware at all times of the level of your spending influences the decisions you make in the future.

#23 Outsource lower-paid work

Break down what an hour of your time is worth. It’s simple: divide how much you make a year by how many hours you realistically work. That’s your hourly rate.

Don’t do anything you can pay someone to do for you more cheaply. This will make your life much better.

One of the simplest ways you can make things easier on yourself is by getting someone to help.

#24 Wait at least 48 hours before buying stuff

Be a ‘long yes’ when it comes to buying stuff.

Once you put something in your shopping cart, walk away from the computer and come back 48 hours later. If you still want it, buy it. Most of the time, you’ll realize you don’t need it. Invest that money instead and watch it compound.

Think about how many hours it took you to earn that amount. Give yourself a week to ponder and ask yourself if the buy is removing a negative from your life.

Go for quality, not quantity. A nice pair of shoes can last years. A cheap pair will break easily and cost you more in the long run.

Creating Your Annus Mirabilis

That’s it, friends. 24 ways to make 2024 your Annus Mirabilis.

What are you most excited to try?

I’m rooting for you this year.

Here’s to a fantastic 2024!

Thanks for reading!

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