Do you ever feel like your productivity level is slipping a bit? You thought you’d get four projects done today but you completed only two. You ask yourself where the time goes and you’ve noticed you’re feeling disappointed in yourself and how you perform at work or at home.
We’re all under increased pressure to get more done in less time, and we’re all being asked to take on more – either by co-workers and management, or we’re putting the pressure on ourselves to get more done because we’re pursuing multiple activities and goals.
I serve as an elected official – I am a Registrar of Voters – and I also have my business, The DivaStyle Coach – and sometimes I put pressure on myself to get everything done yesterday! Taking some time to consider how you can prioritize and increase your efficiency level is one way to stop playing catch-up and get more accomplished every single day.
There’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you can check those items off of your to-do list, so let’s take a look at some ways that you can increase your efficiency and get more done.
Use these tips as inspiration:
- Hit the ground running. Be ready to go to work as soon as you arrive, whether you’re headed to work or home. Using the example of work, imagine yourself driving or riding to the office. Think about what it’s going to be like when you get there.
Do you have three large stacks of paperwork to do? Think about what you’ll do first. Perhaps you can complete that project you started last Friday with just a couple more hours of work. Put your mind ahead of your body’s arrival so you can get started quickly.
- Learn to anticipate. When you ponder what will be happening when you arrive, you’ll be ready to meet whatever challenge is occurring at the time. You might think, “I know the kids will be hungry for a snack. I’ll get out that fruit salad from yesterday and give them glasses of juice right away so I can get to the laundry.” Anticipate what might happen and put resources in place to help you be productive right away.
- Develop a method of keeping track of tasks that works for you. Whether it’s speaking your list into your smartphone, jotting down things to do in your calendar, or carrying a spiral notebook, having a running list to look at or listen to will help you get more things done.
Having some way to check-off the items you’ve completed is helpful so you can tell at a glance what is done and what remains to be done.
Try a couple of methods until you find the list that’s easiest for you to use. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. The one that helps you get the most done is the one you should stick with.
- Politely tell others you don’t “have a minute.” If you’re at work and people stop by your office to chat, feel free to say, “I’m sorry. I can’t talk right now but I’d love to have lunch today and hear more about this.” When you don’t allow yourself to be interrupted, you can get a lot more done. Plus, you “train” others to avoid interrupting your work time, which increases your productivity.
- Keep meetings brief. If you’re in a position to have control over meetings at work, make a goal to meet for 30 minutes max. If you go into a meeting with a written agenda, you’ll be ready to cover your points quickly, and you’ll be able to keep any discussions focused and productive.
- Reinforce your efforts to achieve. Praise yourself each day for your accomplishments. Maybe you completed a work project you’ve been working on for several weeks or cooked a great meal for friends and family. Recognize the efforts you make to complete tasks, and reinforce the methods you used to get things done.
- Allow yourself plenty of time in the morning. If you need an hour to shower, have breakfast and get your task list written for the day, then get up early enough to have your full hour. When you respect your own needs, you’ll be better emotionally prepared to get things accomplished.
Even if you feel like you never get anything accomplished, the great news is that you’ve got lots of choices when it comes to increasing your efficiency. Perhaps while reading this list you were inspired to come up with some additional methods to get more done in a day. That’s great! Try them all. The strategies that work for you are the ones worth continuing.
If you put forth consistent positive effort to change your approach, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see you’re getting more done each and every day.