Have you ever felt that you had more tasks than time? Perhaps, like me, your to do list is so long that sometimes you wonder why you even have a list. As a single working mom who also does homeschool, productivity is an essential part of my life. Productivity in my work, productivity in my homeschool, productivity in my household are all crucial components of my life. So how do you manage to accomplish all of the must-do’s in your life when there are more must-do’s than can-do’s. How can you still have time for a few want-to-do’s? Is there anything we can do to help us get more done and be more productive? Here are 10 tips to help you learn how to get more done in a day.
10 Tips for How to get more done in a day
Have a master plan
In order to know how to get more done, you first need a plan. If you don’t know what you need to do, chances are you won’t get it done. I keep a running list of both short-term goals as well as long-term goals. Each week, when I go over the coming week’s calendar and to-do list I make sure that I include tasks from both the short term AND the long-term goals somewhere in my to-do list. This way I know that I am continuing to move forward as opposed to just moving around.It is better to move forward than to just moving around. #goalSetting #masterPlan Click To Tweet
Organize and prioritize
Decide what is important. Figure out what must be done for the day to be complete and successful and, if possible, do those things first. Work down your list in order of priority. Also remember that what is low priority this week, should be medium priority next week and high priority the week after. This ensures that you continue to make progress on your long-term goals and don’t get trapped living day to day.
Understand the value of a subtask
Keep the line items in your to-do list small and manageable. This is a key you want to be able to check off an item in a single activity. For example, “Cleaning the house” may take half the day to get done. However, “washing the dishes” or “vacuum the living room” are tasks that can be accomplished in a single spurt of activity. Breaking large jobs or goals into subtasks has two huge benefits.
- It allows for better progress tracking and management of expectation. In my article Managing Expectations with Room Cleaning Checklists I talk more about the how’s and whys of checklists as they apply specifically to chores.
- It provides for more opportunities for accomplishment. There is a small thrill inherent to checking something off of a to-do list. Those small thrills are motivators. The sense of pride you feel from checking off one task can carry you through the completion of another.
Consolidate your calendar
Keep a single calendar for your family. It’s difficult to see how to get more done in your day without first knowing what your day entails. I keep my calendar in outlook and color code it for the different members of my family and different responsibilities (one color for work, one color for blogging, etc.) This allows me to see at a single glance who is doing what each day.
Create your to-do list before bed
Make your to-do list for the next day right before you go to bed. This allows you to hit the ground running with a clear plan each morning. It saves you the trouble of fighting through the morning fog to try to remember who needs to be where and what you need to do.
Let every moment count
It is simply amazing how much time we waste in a day. How much time do you spend sitting in a carpool line, or waiting at a doctor’s office. How much time do you invest watching TV or scrolling aimlessly through social media. Become aware of time not just in large chunks but also in tiny moments. What can you do in those moments to propel you where you want to go? Do you wish you could learn something new? Get and audio book and learn on your commute. Wish you had time to write? Carry a notebook with you and write in doctor’s offices or waiting outside your kid’s karate class. Are you buried under emails? Tackle them one at a time in stolen moments throughout your day. There are far more moments in the day than hours. Make every moment count.
There are far more moments in the day than hours. Make every moment count. #carpeDiem Click To Tweet
Make Time for yourself
Very little gets done when you don’t feel good. It is so important to take care of ourselves in the midst of everything else that we take care of in a day. Make sure that you make time to breathe, to eat, to sleep, to pray, to get out and be active. Be sure to make time to do whatever it is that you need to do to ensure that you stay a whole and healthy person – inside and out.
Don’t be afraid to say no
It is something many of us suffer from. We have this burning need to over-promise, over-schedule and over-do. Don’t be afraid to say no. Remember, it is okay to turn down an offer or request. Even a good opportunity can be a bad idea if it is not also timely. Keep your master plan in mind. If someone wants you to do something that does not align with your master plan – say no. If your day is already full – say no.
Make winning easy
Pick just a couple of tasks each day and make those your red ticket items. If you get those tasks done you will consider your day a success. Make everything else you get done on your list an example of just how great you were today. For example my list may include writing articles for the next month. However, if I get the articles for next week done, I will consider myself a success. Everything above that is a bonus. I really can’t say this enough –- Feeling accomplished makes you accomplish more.Feeling accomplished makes you accomplish more. #loveYourself Click To Tweet
Never forget– Tomorrow is always another day
Learn to be okay with however much you get done. If you start each day under stress because of what you failed to accomplish the day before you will be far less productive. No matter how much you end up checking off of your to-do list: be it everything, some things, or practically nothing – let it go. In may sound counterintuative, but in order to get more done in a day you should first come to peace with the amount you got done the day before. Make the next day’s list and get a good night’s sleep. Remember, there truly is always tomorrow.
Most of these tips for how to get more done in a day fall under two headings: organization and attitude. If your life is chaotic and your spirit is chaotic you can’t work at maximum efficiency. Now it’s your turn. What do you do to make yourself more productive? Comment below and share some of your favorite tips of how to get more done in a day.
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