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8 Approaches Ultra-Productive People Use To Finish Their Tasks

8 Approaches Ultra-Productive People Use To Finish Their Tasks

Are you always racing against time? Do you always find yourself stuck with a lot of tasks and no way to manage them? Do you have a satisfied feeling at the end of the day or are you sulking over where the day went? Do you often wonder how others balance their time and get everything done?

You have landed at exactly the right place! Here, we will tell you how to be ultra-productive and make the most of your time – the most precious yet scare resource for every human being. Let’s not waste any time and get on with the approaches that you can actually start applying today. These are the tried and tested approaches used by ultra-productive people.

1. They know their priorities

All of us seem to have a LOT on our hands all the time and it is always very important. But trust me, if we look closely, we would find that not everything on our to-do list is equally important. Some of them are and some of them are not. Some can be delegated, some cannot be.

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Ultra-productive people know their priorities better than the rest of us. So, we need to follow their lead and prioritize tasks. Also, when we accomplish the most important things, we tend to get even more motivated to get on with the rest of things to be done.

2. They don’t defer tasks

Either they do it, delegate it or eliminate it, but they never defer it. Delaying a thing to be done later means that you will have to look at it twice, read it twice or comprehend it twice. That’s a big time-waster. Tackle the task at hand immediately, delegate it if you can or decide that it is not required.

3. They focus on one task at one time

Multi-tasking is old school, ultra-productive people focus instead! If you are trying to multi-task, you may think that you are saving time or getting a lot done in little time but usually that’s not true. Instead of this approach, it is much better to focus on one task and finish it by a decided timeline. This will not only help you in achieving better results but will actually save you time and energy.

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4. They don’t say “yes” to everything

Saying yes to everything is a sure way to end up not getting what you want. Productive people say no more than they say yes. This way, they have only those things to do that really matter to them or can really make a difference. If you say yes to everything, you won’t be able to get even half of them done and end up disappointing yourself as well as others.

Learning to say no is an important step that can boost your productivity. Over-commitment is a key to failure.

5. They set aside specific time for email and other ways of communication

Being connected all the time is a fallacy that has sneaked into all of our daily activities. Apparently, it doesn’t take specific time because we falsely believe that we are “just checking” our smart phones when waiting in a queue or so but this activity takes both our precious mental energy and time.

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Ultra-productive people check their emails and other messages only at specific times. This way, they can focus on the task at hand and can complete it more successfully.

6. They do the least inspiring thing first

Generally people try to delay doing the stuff that they find least interesting. That’s a wrong approach for productivity. Ultra-productive people tackle such things first. This way, they have a clearer mind to do rest of the activities and can actually look forward to them. Otherwise, a less interesting task to be done would keep nagging you even when you are involved in your favorite activities.

7. They plan their day

They plan effectively. Good planning is like getting almost half the task done! If you plan your day or week, you will be quite clear about what needs to be done, how much time it will consume and what are the expected results. Otherwise, you will keep doing things constantly and the results might be vague or undesired.

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8. They have a to-do list

Documenting things is one of the best ways to be absolutely clear about your thoughts. Ultra-productive people document their tasks. Sometimes, by following this practice, we can be surprised by the results ourselves. When we write down things, we put them in black and white. In our mind, things can be a jumbled mess but when you write them, you know exactly what needs to be done.

Featured photo credit: university student group/www.audio-luci-store.it via flickr.com

More by this author

Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

“Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

2. Write Down Your Goal

If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

3. Set a SMART Goal

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

     

    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    4. Take One Step at a Time

    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    6. Schedule Your Tasks

    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

    8. Check off Items as You Go

    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

    More on Goal Action Plans

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

    Reference

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