It's possible to get more done in less time. Do you believe that? There are some myths surrounding time management, but I'm going to share with you some of the proven tricks I've learned (and am learning) so you can cross more off your to-do list and stay sane at the same time.
Time Management and Productivity Myths
- Multitask- we like to think we can get more things done if we do multiple things at once, but it's been proven that we can't actually do that-- our brains just switch rapidly between tasks, dividing our attention, making it take longer for us to get the tasks done than if we'd done them separately
- Do the most immediate thing, the thing staring us in the face-- when we don't want to decide where to begin or don't want to waste time deciding, we'll just do the first thing that comes to mind, which sometimes means we do the less important things first just because we saw them first (like washing the two bowls in the kitchen sink instead of tackling our work project due the next day)
Proven Tricks to Get More Done in Less Time
- Focus on one thing at a time-- instead of multitasking & forcing your brain to divide its energy between two things, do just one at a time. remind yourself that it will actually take less time. give yourself grace if you struggle with only doing one thing at a time. I know I did! I still find myself trying to write while watching TV or read while listening to music, which seems silly when I write it out. Logically, I know those are conflicting activities, but I do them anyway. When I really think about it, and when I'm really pressed for time, I'll turn off the TV and the music and just get to work. and you know what? I get my writing done faster! and it's better quality, too.
- Write things down-- when you're busy doing task A & you think of something else, write it down & then get back to work on task A. it will ensure that you remember your other idea later, but that your attention is only divided for the briefest moment before your laser-focus resumes.
- Prioritize your list-- consider your top three things-- just three. that's all you're allowed at first. pick those. do those. then when those are done, you get another three. it ensures that you don't get overwhelmed by a to-do list that's twenty items long. and the momentum you gain from crossing off your entire list will keep you going!
- Delegate-- think of ways that other people (or automated systems) can help you get the work done faster-- are there things you can delegate to others? or things you can put on autopilot (email, pre-scheduling things, batching your tasks)
- Restrict the amount of time you give yourself for a task-- your work will grow to fit the amount of time you give it, so if you only have an hour, commit to getting your work done in an hour & you will! if you give yourself all day, your work will take all day.
Making it Real
Are there things you can delegate to others? Would it be helpful for you to get a physical planner or notebook to jot down things you think of so you don't forget? Do you need to put your priorities on a Post-It note where you can see it so that you remember what's most important and can let go of the rest?
Do you have any tips or tricks for getting more done in less time? Did any of these strike a chord with you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!