If you spend all your time doing things that really don’t matter, you won’t have any time left for things that do. That’s why it’s important to spend a majority of your day on the items on your list that will affect your life the most.
Go through your to-do list and highlight the top 3-5 items on it. These should be the things that will impact your life the most. It’s these areas where you’re going to want to focus the most time and energy because these are your life changers.
Make a List
Once you’ve identified the areas that need your attention the most, you’ll want to create a list for each one that outlines what you need to do to for it. For example, if one item on your list is to replace the fence around the house, your list may include getting some bids and picking out stain colors.
Writing a list down does a couple of things for you. First, it increases the likelihood that you won’t forget something. Second, it allows you to write it and forget about it. If it’s there in front of you in black and white, you don’t have to keep trying to remind yourself what you need to do, which will free up a lot of mental energy.
Create a Plan
Now that you know what you need to do, organize your tasks in a logical fashion. Come up with a plan of action that takes you from beginning to end so that you don’t miss a step in the process.
One thing to keep in mind is that your plan isn’t set in stone. Sometimes things happen that change the path you intended to take. Be flexible and alter your plan if necessary.
Set Mini Goals
When you’re working to complete a particular task, its often most effective if you set several little mini goals along the way. Reaching these mini milestones helps give you a sense of accomplishment and makes it easier to keep going. It also breaks your task down into chunks that feel more manageable.
It’s tough to get things done when the TV or radio is blaring in the background, co-workers are making a lot of noise or the kids are running around screaming and yelling. If you want to be effective, eliminate as much of this background noise as possible so you can fully concentrate on your work.
If you have an office, go inside and close the door. If not, at least turn off the electronics and ask others to try to keep it to a minimum. Most of the time you’ll get cooperation, but if you don’t then you may want to invest in a white noise machine or a set of ear plugs.
While it seems like you’re being productive by doing three things at once, you’re actually less effective and efficient. If you just focus on one thing at a time, you’ll find that you get it done more quickly than when you do it in conjunction with other things.
Also, if you aren’t fully engaged in what you’re working on, you’re more likely to make mistakes. You’ll overlook simple yet critical errors because your mind isn’t fully on the task. So, when you do something, make sure you’re fully involved.
Don’t Think, Just Do
Have you ever spent more time thinking about doing something than it takes to actually do it? Maybe you dread doing it or you feel overwhelmed so you don’t take the first step toward getting it done. You just mull it over in your mind time and time again.
The more you procrastinate, the bigger the task will seem. So, instead of thinking about doing it, actually do something that will help you work toward its completion. Maybe you’ll do something as small as make a phone call or research additional information. Whatever it is, just do it and you’ll be one step closer to getting it done.
You don’t have to do everything on your list yourself to get it done. In fact, sometimes it’s better to delegate a task to someone who is more qualified. In the end, it may save you stress, time and money.
It can be easy to want to be the star player who successfully manages every area of her life. You want others to look at you and say, “Wow. She’s incredible.” So, you create self-imposed standards that, ultimately, make you want to pull your hair out.
In actuality, if you delegate successfully, you’ll still get the same accolades just in a different way. A true mover and shaker knows how to successfully use the talent around her to get things done. And, often, the final result is usually a better product.
Take a Break
If you want to be more productive in your work life, it requires having some down time. You have to recharge your battery every now and again or you’ll find that you’re running on minimum power.
Take the time to enjoy life a little bit. Spend some quality time with friends and family. Do things you enjoy. Create memories to cherish. While it’s important to get things done, it’s also important to have a fulfilling life because the happier you are with life as a whole, the more productive you are in general.
Okay, time to get your work done. Put your productivity into action!