Do you feel like you’re getting busier and busier each day? There’s just SO much to fit into our schedules between work, relationships, family and taking time out … wait, what’s that? Wouldn’t you love more time to relax and enjoy life? I know I would.
Whether we like it or not, we all have the same 24 hours each day. So it seems incredible how some people manage to get so much done while others achieve so little. As many of us aspire to get more done in our days, I set about doing some research into the topic. Along the way, I picked up some practical tips to help you get more shit done, which I’ve shared below.
1. Get clear on what you want to achieve
Lack of clarity often leads to lack of motivation which leads to, well, nothing being completed. If you’re unsure of where you’re going, how will you ever get there?
Think about what it is you want to achieve daily, plus short-term and long-term goals. Once you know what you’re aiming for, and what impact that outcome will have for you, you’re much more likely to be motivated by it.
If it’s a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal (they’re often long-term), try breaking it down in small steps, then take one tiny step each day towards the outcome you desire.
2. Plan, plan, plan
Without goals, plans and deadlines, nothing would ever get done. It’s important to have some kind of plan.
Apps are a great way to keep ideas together, take notes and document your future plans. There’s a range of handy apps such as Google Keep, Trello and ToDoist, amongst others.
When implementing a plan, high achievers advise us to schedule daily, weekly, monthly and annual tasks using a timetable, including breaks and holidays. The structure of a schedule helps you get through tasks and tick them off your list with great satisfaction.
It can be helpful to do a weekly progress check on how you are progressing toward your short and long-term goals.
3. Have a daily routine
While the thought of embracing a routine may set your teeth on edge, many high achievers credit a daily routine as being instrumental in their success.
Firstly, it’s a good idea to work out what time of day you’re most productive. Is it morning, mid-day or evening? Once you know this, you can schedule your most important tasks for that time of day.
When it comes to setting up a routine, here are some suggestions to try:
Morning routine – Wake up early (try starting with 15 minutes earlier, then progress to 30 minutes earlier), review your goals for the day – determine the top 3 goals for the day, break down your goals into a plan, exercise (it gets your blood pumping and energises your body and mind), leave social media for later in the day, have a hearty breakfast (you need the energy to get through the day).
Nighttime routine – Make a To Do list for the following day – list the 3 major things you want to achieve tomorrow, put your clothes out ready for the morning, put down technology at least 30 minutes before bedtime, charge your phone in another room, get to bed at a regular time and get enough sleep each night – this varies, but around 7-8 hours is recommended for most people.
Each night, reflect on what you’ve achieved and take a moment to acknowledge your wins for the day. This provides a sense of achievement and enhances motivation for the following day.
4. Prioritise your tasks
Not sure where to start on your list of daily tasks? Go through the list and review the jobs, noting which ones are most important. Using a system of either colour coding (with highlighters) or use letters or numbers to prioritise the important tasks. I’ve used a system where tasks are allocated the letter A for must-do-today, B for like-to-do and C for bonus-points-if-I-achieve-this-today.
In his best-selling book, Eat That Frog, renowned motivational author, Brian Tracy, suggests tackling your biggest, most important or daunting task first thing in the day, then everything else will be easy. If procrastination is an issue for you, this book is an excellent guide to help you achieve more in your day.
5. Get an accountability buddy
If you’re really struggling with being productive but you’re also devoted to getting shit done, why not find an accountability buddy? Ask a colleague, friend, associate or relative to help out. Let them know you’d like to share your schedule with them and ask them to check up on your progress at a pre-determined time or date (you can do the same for them).
6. Boost your energy
Fatigue is seriously demotivating in itself. If you’re always tired and lethargic, you can bet you won’t have much energy for your important tasks.
By enhancing your physical health, you’ll have more energy to pursue your goals.
A few ways to boost energy include:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat healthy, nutritious meals and snacks
- Exercise at least 3 times each week
- Visit your naturopath or doctor to check whether you may need a health check or some kind of dietary supplement
7. Manage your time effectively
The thought of a looming deadline has most people scuttling to complete a job or goal. How about you? If deadlines work for you, then set one for each of your goals. Write it down and/or share it with your accountability buddy.
Some other suggestions for effective time management:
- For shorter tasks, use a timer or app to stay on task
- Control or eliminate distractions such as your phone and social media using apps such as Freedom, Offtime, BreakFree or App Detox
- Alternatively, remove your phone from the desk or room you’re working in
- Imagine you have a strict boss who won’t let you use your phone during certain hours. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb during those hours – and DON’T check or answer it! Yes, this requires self-discipline, but imagine how much you could achieve by replacing wasted time with productivity!
- Watch less TV
- Learn to say “no”
- Delegate or outsource tasks you don’t enjoy, which sap your energy or are not helping you step toward your goals
- Ensure you allocate some time to self-care so that you don’t burn out
8. Just start
Actually make a start on your tasks. Once you have a plan of how you will achieve your goals, take that first step … then keep going.
Remember Mark Twain said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started”.
I hope these tips have inspired you to make a few small changes which will make a big difference and help you to get more shit done!