Advertising
Advertising

6 Ways To Get More Done With Your Time

6 Ways To Get More Done With Your Time

You just sat at your desk for 3 hours and you realized all you accomplished was starting the email you had to write, checked the weather and beat your best level on Flappy Bird. It happens to the best of us.  Sometimes it is hard to get focused and buckle down.

We say that we want to get more done, and then we just don’t have the time or energy, and we don’t know where to start. Here are some tips to help you move in the right direction.

Advertising

1. Spend more time working.

Hold the phone! You mean, I need to do more than my regular 40 hours each week?  Nope, that is not what I’m saying at

get more done

    all.  I’m saying schedule your work.  My productivity increases when I started setting specific times for specific tasks, instead of trying to multi-task.

    Advertising

    There is an amazing tool called the Pomodoro Timer.  It allows you to set the timer for up to 25 minutes, which helps you to stay focused on one task. After 25 minutes, take a quick break and set the timer (or your cell phone timer like me) for 25 minutes again and work on the next project.

    2. Delegate and/or eliminate your work.

    There are probably things that you need to do and there are things you can delegate or outsource.  I read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” and it broke down a couple things that really put it in perspective for me. I had to write out ALL of my tasks that I think needed to be done. Then I had to separate them into the things that were Urgent & Important, the ones that were Urgent & Not Important, the ones that were Important & Not Urgent and then the ones that were Not Important & Not Urgent.

    Advertising

    For the Not Important & Not Urgent, I was supposed to just let those tasks go.  For the Important & Not Urgent, I could delegate them out. I would suggest creating a process/system around it so when you have someone do it for you, they have the full instructions.  For the others, you can schedule times to get them done. Obviously, do the urgent and important tasks as fast as possible and then create a process or system for the next task, which could be something you delegate out down the road.

    3. Exercise your brain.

    When you do brain exercises, it helps you to be more productive, think faster, and it allows you to be more creative too!  Plus it makes you feel good knowing that you are increasing your brain power, right? Right!

    Advertising

    4.  Use technology to your advantage.

    Using technology can be a curse and a godsend all at the same time.  Something I have found helpful for me is turning off my internet or using one of the apps that blocks certain websites at certain times to help me get more done.  Also, I use my Google Calendar to plan all of my meetings or completion dates, which helps me to stay up on what needs to be done by when so that I’m not dropping balls.

    5.  Set goals and break them up in to milestones.

    This is important for me because I tend to be a bigger picture person.  I love looking at it as a whole, but then I get overwhelmed, and I don’t get things done like I should.  To solve this problem, I write down the main idea, and then break it up into smaller steps (or milestones) that will help me get to the final goal. When I break it down, I’m not as overwhelmed and I get more done faster.

    Advertising

    6.  Take time for yourself.

    This is kind of like scheduling time for work, but scheduling time for yourself.  When I go 2, 3 or 4 hours without taking a break, I don’t get more done. I start to slack off and my mind starts wandering and then my smart phone comes out, and I’m back to playing Flappy Bird and being unproductive.  But, if I know that after 1 or 2 hours of work, I have 15–20 minutes of “me” time, it helps remind me that I will be able to check my Facebook or do some “me” stuff for a little bit.

    What are some tips or tricks that have worked for you to be more productive and get more done?

    More by this author

    6 Ways To Get More Done With Your Time Attractive In Men 7 Qualities Women Find Attractive In Men

    Trending in Productivity

    1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

    Advertising

    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

    Advertising

    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

    Advertising

    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

    Advertising

    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Advertising

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

    Read Next