You’ve made the decision to have a productive day.
You’re pumped and ready to go – you’ve prepared your to-do list, you’ve brewed a fresh pot of coffee, and you’re excited to get things done.
But this very same thing happened yesterday.
You meant to get ahead in your work, but it seemed as if the more you pushed forward, the more resistance you received.
What’s going on here?
While we will always have twenty-four hours in a day, there are ways to make the most of those hours.
In this post, I offer nine quick tips to help you get more things done in a day.
If you look carefully, you’ll note many, if not all, of these tips require some sort of careful and thoughtful planning and allotment of one’s time and energy.
In many cases, getting ahead in your daily tasks is not about accomplishing more tasks, but about making wise choices that allow you the time and space to accomplish what you set out to do.
Ready to hear the tips? Let’s get started!
Cut down on your daily to-dos.
Mile-long to-do lists are highly overrated. Let’s not forget: the inherent nature of to-do lists is that there will always be tasks that need to be completed. Instead of a writing up a giant to-do list, opt for three to five tasks for the day. This way, you’ll not only get things done, but you won’t feel overwhelmed in the process. You’ll have another chance to tackle your remaining to-dos, tomorrow.
Stop over-exaggerating a task.
“It will take me forever to revise my resume!” “It’ll take a whole year to rebuild that fence.” “I’ll spend the entire afternoon washing the dog.” People tend to over-exaggerate tasks for emphasis or dramatic effect. That’s a lot of energy complaining that could be converted towards completing a task. The next time you find yourself repeating any of these types of phrases, stop, take a deep breath, and tell yourself to stop over-exaggerating the situation. It’s much more fruitful to take action, instead of procrastinating or complaining.
Searching for lost or misplaced items not only causes headache and frustration, but wastes precious minutes and vital energy. What areas in your home or office could do with a spot of organization? You might decide to declutter a corner of your living room, create labels for paper files, or organize your desk. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to find your tools and materials, and do your work.
Is there someone who can book your hotel and flight for your next business trip in the blink of an eye? Do you know of a person who could stuff those 200 letters into envelopes a couple of hours? It’s worth delegating specific work to someone who is more familiar, agile, or knowledgeable in a subject. Yes, it will take a moment for you to figure out what to delegate, but as you soon as you hand off those tasks, you’ll have freed up more time in your schedule for yourself.
Make sure your equipment or materials are up to date.
Using a word processing program that’s five versions behind can be a painful experience. Is your productivity being slowed down by ineffective and outdated tools, equipment, or materials? It’s worth taking a look at the computer programs, apps, machines, and tools in your possession. What needs a new system update, new version, or new attachment? Update or replace out-of-date items in your home or office and watch your productivity climb.
Brush up on or learn a new program or skill.
What could you get done if you learned how to properly use that spreadsheet software? How much faster could you write emails if you learned how to touch type? Strengthen your mind and skill set by learning how to type, operate the photocopier, or run a spreadsheet report. What’s more, when you learn how to properly operate equipment yourself, you are less reliant on others.
Say “no” to optional meetings.
Yes, there will be some meetings in life that you will need to attend. But then, there are other meetings that are completely optional. If you’re not required to attend a meeting, take advantage of the situation. Politely decline, and say you’ll be unable to attend. Remember, an invitation is an invitation, and not a decree that you must attend a certain function.
Have you heard of time-boxing? The process is simple: you schedule a certain amount of time into your calendar to compete a task. The next step is to sit down and actually complete what you said you’d complete within that stated period of time. Try time-boxing one or two of your tasks today. You may find it refreshing to have a deadline in which to complete your work.
Ask for assistance.
One person can do many things, but many people can do many things at once…and in a shorter period of time. If you’re crunched for time, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make use of assistants and/or available colleagues at work who wouldn’t mind helping you out, or ask a friend to lend a helping hand.
How about you? Which of these tips do you use to get more things done in a day? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!