Do you feel like you're always busy but never getting anything done? You're not alone. In today's fast-paced world, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. But it doesn't have to be that way. With a few simple changes, you can learn how to get more done in less time.
In this blog post, I'll share four proven strategies for getting more done. These strategies are based on the latest research in productivity and time management. So whether you're a student, a working professional, or a stay-at-home parent, these tips can help you get more done and live a more balanced life.
Get More Done
The other morning, I woke up early with the intention to eat breakfast and write a new blog post. I grabbed my little blue laptop and my cell phone then sat down at my desk. Before I opened Scrivener, the program I use to create all my rough drafts, I decided to break one of my cardinal rules and check email on my phone. (If you have read my book Intentional Mornings, you know I advise against this before you have taken action towards your most important personal goal.)
Before I knew it, an hour and a half had passed and I had yet to open my laptop, much less my writing program. Instead, I decided to quickly check my email on my phone.
The first email I opened led me to check my website analytics, which in turn led to a web of other issues, all of which seemed pertinent at the time but in essence not very important at all. In addition to having wasted my valuable writing time, I was now feeling stressed and not very motivated to sit in front of my computer any longer.
After taking a long break, and finally getting my shoulders to relax, I decided to evaluate what went wrong and how I could remedy the problem in the future. I came up with the following four ideas to stay on task in the future and get more done.
1. To Get More Done, Name Your Objective
To be productive in any endeavor you must always be clear on what your objective is. Start by asking yourself what you are setting out to accomplish. In my case, it was to write and publish a new blog that was at least seven hundred words long.
Naming your objective is the first place to start if you are having a meeting at work, having a date with your spouse, meeting with an important client, or sitting down to work on a project.
To discover your main objective, ask yourself, “When I am done with the following activity, what do I want to have accomplished?”
Perhaps the meeting’s objective is to find out where your employees are struggling at work. When you are on a date, maybe your main thing is to enjoy each other's company while catching up on what you did during the week.
Whatever it is will always be unique to the situation, but must be clear and obtainable. Without this clarity, it can become extremely easy for the important activity to get hijacked by the less important ones.
2. Eliminate Distractions
The reason I do all my writing on my little blue laptop is that I only use it for writing. If I am going to surf the internet, check Facebook, or email, I use my desktop or my smartphone. This simple act of separation allows me to get more done by eliminating distractions. In addition, it has also conditioned me to focus on my writing when I'm using it.
As I stated earlier, I broke my own rule when I checked my email before sitting down to write which led to an hour and a half of distraction. If you want to be successful, you must learn to focus and block out the little things that can pull you off course.
If you know that Facebook is your nemesis, then limit your access to it by putting it on only one device. Next, leave that device somewhere far away from you while you are working on your main objective.
Ask yourself, “What do I allow to keep me from achieving my objectives?” Then find a way to remove it from your presence when you are working.
One of the reasons I get up at 4 a.m. to write is because it limits my distractions. With everyone else still asleep, I find it is easier to focus on my task and in turn get more done in less time. If you want to know the benefits of creating an Intentional Morning Routine, read my blog 6 Steps to Creating an Intentional Morning Routine.
3. Put a Time Limit on What You are Doing
For me, nothing helps to reduce distractions and get more done like putting a time limit on what I am doing. If I know I only have an hour to write, then my mind perks up. I focus better and I just get more done. Without a time limit, my attention begins to wander and I find myself overthinking everything I am doing. As a result, I have very little to show for all my time working.
Before you begin, decide how much time you are going to devote to your task at hand. Even if you don’t finish in that time frame, the simple act of knowing there is a limit to how long you will spend on this task today will help you to focus and be more productive.
One easy way I've found to do this is by using an app called Be Focused Pro. It's a simple app that allows you to not only set an alarm for how long you want to focus but you can also set an alarm for how long you want to take a break.
4. Get More Done by Just Beginning
This one is simple but is also overlooked. Telling yourself, “I don’t know where to begin,” leads you to not knowing where to begin. And you end up wasting a lot of time trying to figure out what to do. Instead, just begin.
Often times when I start a project, whether it is writing a blog or just cleaning up the yard, I don’t know where to begin. Staring at the job at hand usually leads to just more staring. But by opening my computer and writing down whatever comes to me, I begin to get ideas I can work with. I can always go back and edit, but with nothing being written editing is impossible.
Waiting for inspiration to hit you might leave you waiting for a very long time. So instead of hoping to be inspired, just begin. Remember the words of Goethe, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
There you have it. Four strategies for getting more done that require you to completely change your life. Name your objective, eliminate distractions, set a timer, and then just begin and before you know it you'll be accomplishing more than you ever imagined.
So GET ER' DONE!
Have you ever experienced a time when you just began and were amazed by your results?
If you're still feeling stuck, then check out my podcast, "3 Steps to Getting Unstuck and Start Living Intentionally." or "How to Take Immediate Control of Your Life."
If you want to go deeper into how becoming a morning person and creating an Intentional Morning Routine can help you achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible, check out my book Intentional Mornings - How To Make Your Dreams A Reality One Morning At A Time.