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9 Tips For Getting More Done Without Going Crazy

how to get more done

Tips for getting more done each day and not running yourself into the ground

Doesn’t it feel great when you tick off an item on your to-do list? A wave of achievement washes over you, bathing you in a warm, smug glow. It’s a lovely feeling.

The ability to get stuff done is one of the human race’s most treasured assets. It’s why the pyramids and internal combustion exist. But being productive is also one of life’s most arduous and frustrating tasks. Things get delayed, overlooked or simply ignored and to-do lists can quickly grow out of control. This creates stress, anxiety and an inability to see the wood for the trees. It is anything but a lovely feeling.

Well, I’ve got some good news – you can get more done each day. And it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do; you could be a student studying for your exams or an astronaut preparing for a ten year jaunt to Mars – the following tips to get more done each day can benefit each and every one of us.

Great tips for getting more done each day

Make a to-do list

I referred to the humble to-do list a fair bit above, but such a thing may be alien to you. If you don’t currently work from one, you may be missing out on what many people believe to be the most powerful productivity tool available.

A to-do list is simply a tool which enables you to keep track of the various tasks you need to undertake. It may be a single list, or you might have several for different projects, but it is advisable to prioritise the items in each list to ensure you focus immediately on the stuff that matters.

If you haven’t got one yet, I recommend grabbing a piece of paper (or your favourite note-taking app) and doing a ‘brain dump’; in no particular order, list every task you can think of which needs undertaking. You can organise them later, but the important thing is you’ll have made a start on a tool you will come to rely on for the rest of your life!

There’s an app for that…

If you reached for a piece of paper above, you may be glad to hear there is a wealth of software out there to help you get more done each day. Apps like Trello are free and enable you to create to-do lists, add notes and upload attachments to help you achieve the things you want to achieve.

Head to your device’s app store and take a look at the productivity section – you’ll be amazed by what’s on offer.

Achieve Inbox Zero

Our email inboxes can often be one of the most significant bottlenecks when it comes to getting things done. And, if you’ve ever looked forlornly at the huge number of unread emails stacking up on a daily basis, you may be forever grateful for the premise of Inbox Zero.

Put simply, Inbox Zero is a mind-set which enables you to regularly clear out your email inbox by getting the number of unread emails down to that magical zero figure. By categorising and prioritising incoming mail, this seemingly impossible task will quickly become the norm and the very notion of having a clean inbox will make you more productive.

Take regular breaks

‘I can’t see the wood for the trees!’ How many times have you screamed that at your laptop? Words – whether they be written down or spoken by a friend or colleague – can easily lose all meaning if you’ve been at something for too long.

If you ever feel like you’re sinking – stop, get up and move away from whatever it is you’re working on. Take a ten to fifteen minute break. If convenient, come back to it after a good night’s sleep. Fresh eyes will give you a clean perspective on everything and the more breaks you take, the more productive you will be, as contradictory as that sounds.

What you do on those breaks is up to you, but playing simple games which keep your brain ticking over is a great idea. What about a fifteen minute bash on hangman, while we’re at it?

Be positive

In order to get more done each day, you need to be a glass-half-full kind of person. Negativity can eat away at whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. Marry a positive attitude with regular breaks and you’ll become super productive, I promise.

Plan ahead

This is where you can start to make more of your to-do list! Plans are important in all walks of life. As they say, prior planning prevents poor performance.

A plan can be short or long term. It could be what you need to get done by three-o-clock, or what absolutely must happen by next August. It doesn’t matter what the timescale is – what’s important is that you set goals, align them with realistic timescales and stick to them.

Don’t be afraid to dream big – you can achieve anything with a plan.

 

Turn off email

We’ve covered Inbox Zero, but what about email itself? In the modern world, our inboxes follow us everywhere and can be a constant source of irritation. No matter what you’re trying to achieve, I bet you’ve been interrupted by an email from Aunty Sarah or yet another office joker email from that guy in accounts. Well, don’t be afraid to turn your email off once in a while. If you’re undertaking a particularly arduous task or something which requires extreme concentration, close your email app or mute your phone. They can wait!

 

Change your environment

Doing the same thing every day in the same place can be counterproductive. At worse, it can cause burnout. Try changing the locations in which you are undertaking you tasks. For example, if you’re office-based, grab a laptop and go work in the garden (if the weather allows). You’ll be surprised by how a change of surroundings can improve your productivity.

 

Stand by your decisions

Be strict with yourself. If you’ve made a decision, you’ve made it for a reason. Stick with it and don’t waver. The more time you spend pontificating and worrying that you’re doing the wrong thing, the longer it’ll take to complete. At worse, you’ll never complete it because you’ll become obsessed with analysing your decision making process. Go with your gut – you’re normally right, after all!

 

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