So much to do and not enough time to do it? If this describes you, or you just want to get more done in less time, you’ve landed in the right spot. Realize that I could write an entire post about any one of the following by themselves, but wanted to get together for you a quickie list of tangible takeaways that you can do *right now.*
So, what are we waiting for? Head down, grind mode, ready and GO! Here are my top tips, in no particular order, to get sh*t done (GSD) for real this time (i.e. actually doing, not just talking about doing):
- Set, then enforce your boundaries. In other words, block your time then guard it. If you don’t know your boundaries, how is anyone else supposed to? It is your responsibility to establish them (e.g. at home, at work, in your social circle(s)), then hold yourself and others to them. We teach people how to treat us.
- Eliminate distractions. If you’re serious about getting sh*t done, you must create an environment conducive to it. Put social media away (unless, of course, this is your work), turn your phone to airplane mode, turn off the TV, clear a workspace and choose a time when interruptions are least likely. Add a plant, photo (or two) and/or a vision board; also as much natural light as you can. If you’re like me and do best with some background noise, head out to a local coffee shop, breakfast nook or lunch spot to get in the zone. Perk? You don’t have to relo come meal time. Or, Pandora ‘Classical for Studying.’ Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
- Divided attention is not focused attention. Focus on the one task at hand and nothing, but that before moving onto the next thing. Focus is finite. Remember you can do everything, but not everything all at once.
- Identify your priorities and how you spend your time. Take out a sheet or paper and write down your top 3 priorities in one column and your top 3 time sucks (aka things that consume most of your time) in the other. If these lists align, and you’re achieving that which you desire, change nothing. If not, it might be time to take a step back, reassess and adjust accordingly.
- An honest ‘no’ is better than a dishonest ‘yes.’ When you say ‘yes,’ mean it. Because when you say ‘yes’ and don’t mean it, you end up resenting everyone and everything in your path. *hint: I tried so you wouldn’t have to* Own your ‘no’s’ with confidence and conviction. You can’t please everyone so why waste your time and energy trying?
- Identify your most productive hours, then block your time accordingly. Put the most important (i.e. highest priority) tasks or those with the greatest activation energy (energy input required) in this window. I keep an old-school planner and color-coding helps me hugely! Don’t forget to block your “me” time (because nucleus, first). 😉
- Offload a commitment that is make you absolutely miserable to create more time for more of what you love. If it’s not making you happy, making you money or helping grow you, byyyyyye.
- Create daily and weekly to-do’s. The never-ending to-do list. Have you had one? While I live by my lists, I used to *let them* consume me and any unfinished to-do’s come day’s end never left me feeling good about myself or all that I did accomplish – even if it was just a single box left unchecked loool?! Making the shift from a single list to both daily and weekly to-do’s has become, for me, a productive workaround. My daily to-do is typically comprised of high priority tasks (i.e. must-do’s) whereas the weekly version is essentially a running list of things I’d like to see finished by week’s end.
- Be done when you say you’re going to be done. Whether you bring work home, check your email (and texts) compulsively or are a student hitting the books at night, err night, establish a cut off time to shut it down and be done. Most things in life can wait and the rest will be there waiting for you in the morning (coffee, optional, but highly recommended).
- Offset periods of focused work with rest. Practice working smarter, not longer and don’t forget that more is not always better; better is better. Time, energy and focus are finite. If you know you’ve got a long day of work ahead, schedule mini-breaks as you would a meeting with your boss. Get up, stretch, walk around, exercise and/or change your environment when you can (bonus points if you take it outside #vitaminD). If you need a reminder, set a recurring alert on your phone or calendar. I like a 50/10 split – work for 50 focused minutes uninterrupted, then break for 10 minutes. Taking time to relax and recharge is not selfish. In fact, the more time you can take, the better. Because the more time you can take to work on you, the more available you are to give to other people when they need you.
*Bottom line: Get focused, eliminate distractions and watch your productivity skyrocket.
Your best tips to GSD? Have a request for an upcoming post? Let me know on my Facebook page!