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Yet Another Getting Things Done Article (with 11 Useful How to Tips)

Yet Another Getting Things Done Article (with 11 Useful How to Tips)


    If you are a regular reader of Lifehack, I bet there have been times when you have had this reaction:

    “Oh no not another Getting Things Done article.”

    But I also bet you read them anyhow.

    Why is that? Maybe it is because our lives revolve around getting things done. From the moment you wake in the morning to the time you close your eyes at night, you spend the day fulfilling responsibilities, completing tasks and working towards goals both big and small.

    For some this revolves around home life, cooking, cleaning and looking after children. For others it’s buying and sell stock or painting magnificent paintings. Regardless of the type of work you do, it is usually go…go…go!

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    There is a body of people out there that believe we should toss productivity out and live life more in the flow. Some believe that we cannot control life’s outcomes and we shouldn’t even begin to try. Although there is some merit in not trying to control and over engineer a life that could be fluid and carefree, but at Lifehack we believe in productivity. We believe in its merits and its potential. We believe that there are ways and means of managing your daily and weekly workload that will help you to get “it” done more quickly, reducing your stress and allowing you to do what it is you do when you are not in work mode.

    Learning

    When we read an article it is usually to gain more knowledge about the subject area — to see if there is anything we can learn that will enhance and improve our lives. So if you find you are reading article after article on getting things done, I will pose to you the following question: How much of what you have learned have you implemented?

    Be honest now — do you have a successful workflow system set up? If your answer is “yes” then you are excused to go back and get some stuff done. If your answer is “no”…well, then you are also excused to go implement some of the stuff you have learned to date and start getting things done.

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    Doing

    There appears to be a huge gap between knowing and doing. How much longer will you wait to get started? How many countless books do you read before you heed their lessons? Are you subconsciously hoping that the changes will happen in your life without your input?

    I urge you again to stop reading and start doing. Because productivity systems are nothing without action. Ideas without action amount to nothing.

    So if you are still hanging around and haven’t gone to take action, here are a few suggestions to get you started and create a little bit of momentum.

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    1. Revisit your goals for inspiration to act (if you don’t have any, create some today!).
    2. Commit to doing 10 minutes of something a day, create new positive and productive habits to help you on your way.
    3. Block process emails, a maximum of three times a day.
    4. Start the day with your worst task first (“eat your frog”); the rest of the day will be sweeter.
    5. Get up an hour earlier and exercise; this will give you more energy.
    6. Declutter your environment. A clean desk allows you to focus more easily.
    7. Be clear about what you want to achieve every day.
    8. Always leave time in your schedule for contingency; this way you won’t be disappointed if things don’t go to plan.
    9. Eliminate distractions, close email programs, switch off email notifications. In fact, switch off the phone when you are trying to get important work done.
    10. Implement the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) and identify your 20% that adds value to what you are trying to achieve.
    11. Smile and be optimistic about life. Optimistic people are healthier, happier and more productive.

    It is time to stop learning and start doing. Ask yourself what one thing could you do this week to get you closer to your personal success. What one thing have you been procrastinating on that will have a major impact when complete? It’s time to take action, my friends.

    It’s time to finally get things done!

    (Photo credit: Handwritten Motivational Note via Shutterstock)

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    More by this author

    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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