What’s the Secret to Getting Things Done? (10-29-15)

Mini HourglassWhy can some people accomplish so much every day while others struggle to get anything done?

In our I-need-everything-right-now world, we struggle with too much to do and too many demands on our time. People without effective time management skills are easily overwhelmed. Productivity killers are analysis paralysis, over-thinking things to the point that little to no action is taken, and, similarly, perfectionism.

So what’s the secret to getting things done? Simply put, employing effective organizing and time management skills that work for you. As a professional organizer and productivity consultant, I help clients maximize productivity. I learn their abilities, personalities, habits and goals, and develop simple, customized systems to follow and maintain.

The best systems in the world won’t work if they don’t work for you. If what you’re doing isn’t working, change what you’re doing! Being motivated to effect change and making it a priority are necessary for successful outcomes.

Here are 11 tips to increase your productivity.

  1. If it only takes a minute or two, do it now.
  2. Make a note of Every Single Thing you must do, digital or paper, so nothing is forgotten. Except for people who have hyperthymesia (the very rare, extraordinary ability to recall almost everything), it’s impossible to keep everything in your head. Trying to do so is stressful and counter-productive. Things are forgotten. The instant you hear yourself say, “I’ll call you back” or “I’ll e-mail you the information,” make a note.
  3. Create a system to organize your notes. For example, make separate lists such as Calls To Make or Errands To Run.
  4. Create one Master List with all to-dos in one place.
  5. Create a daily To-Do List based on the Master List.
  6. Enter date-related tasks directly in your calendar.
  7. Review lists and notes daily and weekly to see what’s ahead.
  8. Unless social media is your business, know what you want to accomplish on Facebook or LinkedIn and set a time limit and, if helpful, an alarm – then stop.
  9. Just say No. If someone, such as a friend or co-worker, asks you to do something, pause before responding. Consider your current situation and priorities. If you can do it, great! If not, politely decline. There is no need to explain but, if you like, say your schedule won’t allow one more thing. Remember to make yourself a priority.
  10. According to studies, multitasking does not work. Your brain cannot fully focus when simultaneously doing two or more cognitive tasks. If you’re on the phone while replying to e-mails, you can’t give both your full attention. Multitasking can work if one task is mindless and one requires concentration, such as washing dishes while watching the news. Focusing on one task at a time actually increases productivity.
  11. Maintain systems you create or you’ll end up where you started.

The approaching holidays bring more than good cheer – they add more tasks to already challenging to-do lists. Be proactive about getting your schedule – and life – under control. Try implementing at least some of these tips and watch your productivity soar!

Product of the Month

Pocket App

Pocket App

Over 17 million people use Pocket (formerly Read It Later), a highly popular app to save articles, videos, Web pages and more to read later when it’s more convenient, even offline. Pocket is integrated in hundreds of apps. Your list of contents is available on all major devices and platforms including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera and Windows. Based on your choices, Pocket even gives you recommendations on reading material. It’s a helpful productivity tool that lets you choose when to catch up on your reading material. The basic version is free; the premium version is $4.99/month or $44.99/year. For information, go to getpocket.com.

Notable Quote

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them. ~David Allen

 

Photo by William Warby