Do we really need to know how to get more done? Perhaps instead we need to work more efficiently. Or maybe it’s a matter of better prioritizing. Then again, maybe we need to do LESS?
Having recently spent 3 days in jury duty selection, I figured out after the first day that I needed to get serious about what I was going to do while I was waiting around to be called for questioning. I got accustomed to the system and brought my rolling back pack filled with my laptop, books, notes, the ever-evolving to-do list, and a healthy lunch.
Because I was more-or-less trapped in one stuffy miserable room all day, I had to bring projects that I could do on my laptop without internet connection. By thinking it through the night before, I was actually able to get more done than I thought I would. My wait time actually became quite productive time because I was focused and organized. My lunch time was a relaxed session at the courthouse lawn in the gentle spring sunshine.
This is my second memorable lesson this month. (Check the first one in my recent post). I’d found myself saying things like “I’ve got too much on my plate.” “There’s no way I can squeeze any more in.” “I’m just overloaded.” The additional prospect of a four month or longer jury trial really wigged me out. Yet when I sat down and analyzed what was most important to get done, the whole To Do list became much easier.
Then I took a good hard look at my list. There were things I’d been transferring every month, wistfully hoping this would be the month I get to them. Frankly, I got sick of seeing them each month and had to ask myself why I even bothered. Clearly they weren’t that important to me or I would have done them by now. Consequently, I gave myself the gift of release – I simply crossed them off my list! No more will I stress about getting them done.
7 Life Lesson Tips
Here are a few tips I’ve learned to help you learn how to get more done for my personal life. The key is to rethink your To-Do list to reflect what matters most in life.
- What are the most critical things that have to be done, and are they REALLY critical? What will happen if you don’t do them?
- Plan your day or week, of course. Review each day the night before so you’re prepared to hit the ground running. Be sure to include ‘doing nothing time’ (see my post on 05.10.19) in your week. Also include time with family or friends, and time for exercise/Qigong/meditation, etc. These are critical components of your emotional health. Without these, we become more and more depleted as we grind through our work load. Yet, taking time for these precious activities actually energizes and refreshes us.
- Eat healthy meals. Bring your own if you can. Your body needs these nutrients to keep running. If you’re loading up on fast food or carb- and fat-laden restaurant foods, it will take your energy down, you’ll be less productive.
- Follow your evening routine and get the sleep you need. When I was a kid, my parents made us go to bed at 8:30 every night, no staying up for one more show. As adults, we can adopt this same discipline; no staying up for one more paper to write or one more task. That task will be there in the morning, and you’ll be able to tackle it with a fresh perspective.
- Stick up for yourself. Get comfortable with saying no if you’re not able to manage another task. If someone asks you to do something, determine whether it’s workable for your schedule. More importantly, decide if it’s something you really want or need to do or if it’s someone else’s gig that they’re trying to pawn off on you. Yes, your favorite non-profits always need help. This is where your commitment to your personal health and well-being comes in. If you take on too much and make yourself run down and tired, you won’t do anyone any good. It’s okay to be selective.
- If you have big projects, break them down into smaller chunks. I used to cook multi-course Thanksgiving dinners for 30-35 people each year. The trick for success was to analyze what tasks for each course could be done ahead. Then I’d start on those tasks one to two weeks before the big day, whittling away each day on my list. The meals were always lovely.
- Recognize that there is nothing more important than your own health and happiness. When you take care of yourself, you will radiate that to others. You will also discover that nothing helps you get more done than this. Why? Because you understand and connect with what is most important in life. And that’s what you get done.
To add getting more done in your day at work, check out this article on Lifehack.
An Alternate To-Do-List
An acquaintance recently shared a system with me on how to get more done. I have not tried it yet, but thought I would pass it along here.
Get a white board and draws line to divide it into 3 vertical sections. On the left side write all the projects or tasks you have to do. You can also use a sticky note for each. In the middle section, put the projects or project chunks you are currently working on. On the right, that’s where you move the completed projects. What a great feeling to see all your completed projects filling in the right side.
What are YOUR tips for getting more done in the day? Please share them in the REPLY section below. You might just inspire the next reader to get more done in the day.