It may not be possible to pack more hours into our days, but there may be a way to use that time a bit more wisely to get more DONE in those same hours. How to find more hours in your days and totally get more done. I have read possibly hundreds of books over the years on productivity and I have learned quite a few tips and tricks on how to get it all done or at least how to get the most important things done every day.
How To Find More Hours In Your Day.
Tip #1 Eat that frog!
I am sure you have heard the advice tackle the big jobs first, well when it comes to scheduling your day this tip is key. When you start out your day put your focus on your most important (or most dreadful) task for that day. Get it done and out of the way so the rest of your day is a productivity grand slam. When you get that most important task done a few things begin to happen.
First, you are so motivated by getting that off of your list that you are easily able to run through the rest of the items without much effort. Second, those large or dreaded tasks are usually the most important. By accomplishing those items, especially if you are an entrepreneur your success will quickly follow. How is that as a motivator?!?
Tip #2 There are more than just 24 hours in a day.
So many times we panic because we only have 24 hours in a day and that means we only have so much time to get everything done. Especially when 7 hours are for sleeping and 5 hours are for eating/commuting/ self-care. That really only leaves us with about 10-12 hours each day to get things done. But what if you changed things up a bit? Instead of 10-12 hours in a day look at it as 70-84 hours in a week.
Hmmm, what all could you get done in 84 hours?
I hope you are thinking…I could get so much done my list would be a cakewalk!
By adjusting your thinking to a weekly time frame you are giving yourself in a sense, more hours in your day.
Try this trick.
- Take your top 10 big items on your list. Meaning, The most important ones on your main to-do list.
- Assign a time to each task.
- Add up all those minutes or hours.
Odds are in your favor that the total will be much less than the 84 you have for the week.
Now the rest is easy.
- Pick a day for each of those 10 projects and assign each a specific day and time frame referencing the amount you allotted.
- Follow your list and get it all done…with time to spare.
Trust me, this trick works.
Tip #3 Block out your time.
When you have a large to-do list I cannot emphasize enough how much time blocking can completely change your productivity. This is especially true for anyone that works from home. Trying to keep business, home duties, and family commitments all separate yet still give all of these areas our attention is tricky. By blocking out certain hours each day we are better able to give each “hat” the attention it needs without losing sight of the other “hats” that need our focus too.
You can read all about Block Scheduling here for more tips and tricks.
Tip #4 Check it off.
For me, there is nothing more therapeutic than checking things off a list.
I am not sure what it is, but for me crossing things off really motivates me to keep going. Whether you make lists on paper or electronically, seeing those completed tasks can give you a feeling of accomplishment. It’s this accomplishment that will keep you moving along rather than just throwing up your hands and quitting altogether. Sometimes by throwing our minds a bone, we are in a sense training ourselves to tackle and completely finish projects quickly and efficiently.
When I first heard this tip I rolled my eyes. I already get up crazy early. 430am to be exact so I thought I had this tip covered. Why do I get up so early? I have learned that my mind is the most creative in the mornings. That is when I do my absolute best work.
So, when it was suggested to get up earlier I completely skipped that advice. A few months ago I heard an entrepreneur say that they got up at 2:30 am every day. Wait, what? 2:30 am? You have got to be kidding me! However, the more I thought about it the more I realized I was missing the point. It’s not the hour you get up so much as learning to take advantage of your “best” time.
I knew if I could just put a few more minutes into my super productive time AKA the insanely early morning, I would get even more done.
I decided to try getting up a few minutes earlier every day for a month and see what happened. Let me just say that those few minutes were the game changer I needed. I am now able to “Eat that frog” before most days begin for other people. Having that one big task out of the way and completed (or almost completed) is so motivating that I am able to ride that “get it done” wave all the way to lunch-time.
Tip #6 Just focus on 1 thing.
This is another simple tip that can really change things up.
A few years ago when I was walking to lose weight I was on a trail with a friend of mine. We had this huge hill to tackle and it was at the end of our long brisk walk. I told her there was no way I was going to be able to get up that hill. She said the trick to steep hills is to only look down at the ground you are on. That way you do not see the hill that is in front of you but instead only the next step you are about to take.
That is pretty life-changing if you ask me.
By just focusing on the step and not the hill you are setting yourself up for success. This holds true for so many things. If you have a large job, such as cleaning out your basement that hasn’t been touched in say, 7 years? Don’t look at the entire basement. You will only quit before you begin. Break your basement up into small sections and complete just one step at a time. By doing this you are dividing this huge job up into bite-sized tasks that can be easily done without completely freaking you out.
The same holds true for your to-do list.
Rather than look at the entire list and panic at the thought of all you need to get done that week, you can instead break it down into mini lists that you can accomplish each day. Go one step further and break that list down a little more into tasks you can complete in the morning, the afternoon, and then the evening.
By doing so you only focus on one step at a time rather than the entire hill.
I use this one tip in every aspect of my life now and it has completely changed things for me. It is a perfect way to up your productivity. Focus on the small step and the big picture will magically take care of itself.
Tip #7 Reflect and plan.
Each night before you go to bed set aside a few minutes to go over your list for the day.
- What did you get done?
- Where did you drop the ball?
- Take a look at your distractions and find ways to eliminate them.
- Then look at your list for the following day and set up a rough game plan.
Having this step done before you start your day will help you to begin a bit on autopilot. I don’t always wake up refreshed and ready to go, so having my first steps mapped out a bit keeps me from walking from my bed to the coffee pot and directly to the couch. 🙂
Tip #8 Get ‘er done.
This saying may be funny but it is so incredibly motivating.
By chanting these 3 words you are training your mind to keep going. To put one foot in front of the other and keep working on the project at hand. Having a mantra or a saying that you can use to focus and motivate can go a long way to getting more done in less time.
This line keeps me from getting sidetracked and distracted and keeps my head in the game so to speak. I am not saying to work non stop all day until you hit the floor completely burned out and spent. Having a mantra will get you back to work when you do take a break or stop to catch your breath.
Get up, get moving, and get ‘er done!
Tip #9 Take a break.
It is so important to reward yourself for a job well done. Working all the time will not only burn you out but will drain you mentally and even can make you physically sick. By giving yourself a break daily or even weekly you are helping to balance the heavy workload with some rest and relaxation.
For me that day is Sunday.
I know each week I get Sunday off to reset my batteries and get ready for the new week ahead. That is my planning day and I spend it on the couch with Hubs watching football or outside with the family just having fun. Either way, knowing that I have that one day to rest and recoup helps make the other days much easier to tackle.
Tip #10 Save the best for last.
Rounding out this list is a tip that plays off of tip #1.
If you are doing the worst or most pressing item first then on the flip side save the best or easiest task for last. By doing this you are easing your day to a close on a good note and rewarding yourself with an easy to-do item on your list. Mentally this can really help work through your day knowing the tasks will continue to get easier as the day goes on.
I realize none of these productivity tips are revolutionary or new. But if you look at them with an open mind and a greedy attitude you may just find a gem.
For me, tip number 1 and tip number 4 changed my days and my life. I now get so much more done with half the effort. It wasn’t so much the tips as it was how I applied them to my day to make the most of them. By finding what works best for you, what feeds your motivation you will start a chain reaction that will carry you throughout your day.