In today’s post, I’m going to be looking at how you can increase your productivity so that you can finally get things done.
How to get things done
You know, I used to create really long to do lists and always feel like a complete failure, when I reached the end of the day, and I still hadn’t gotten things done. I’d reach the end of the day and maybe one or two things were were ticked off my list, but not the whole long list of things that I had.
And even though I reduced the number of items on my list, that didn’t really help. I still didn’t manage to get through things every day. And I always felt like a failure. There was something that was missing in the way that I was approaching my productivity.
So I wanted to share with you, three tips that will help you to be more productive and get things done.
1. Identify just a few things
This might be the hardest point of all because especially if you’re a busy woman, like me, you have a lot of things that need to be done every single day. But when I say identify just a few things, I’m referring to a few big actions. Not like brush your teeth, put your clothes on and have a shower. Those hopefully should be in your regular routines. And hopefully you might have a rhythm to them already. But I’m talking about the outside of the norm action items that you want to get done. Just have a few.
I use a daily planner page like this. This is a Daily Planner from our stationery brand Paper Me Pretty which you can check out here. But you can also get a free planer at the end of this post.
This helps me to just identify a few priorities for the day and those priorities are things that I really want to get done. If I only achieved those few priorities, I know that my day has been a successful day. And it’s such an uplifting feeling. When you reach the end of the day, and you’ve gotten your top priorities done.
There might be some other things that you have on your to-do list, we all have long to-do lists. But I know that if I’ve got my priorities done, everything else is just an extra bonus. So, identify a few things that you really want to get done. Where achieving those tasks means that you’re going to have a successful day. Or you can say, at the end of the day, that was a good day, because I got those three things attended to.
2. Estimate the time it takes to do each task
So say for example I’ve written my three top priorities, my next job is to give each task a time estimate. Is it going to be a 15-minute task? Is it going to be an hour-long task? And the reason why it’s important to do this is that it’s really important for us to know how long each task takes because everything that we do is in time.
Now, I realized back when I began making a long to-do list, the reason why I always felt like a failure is because I had these to-do lists that had tasks that would take maybe 72 hours, and I was trying to complete them in a 24 hour day. There was obviously something that wasn’t matching up. I couldn’t see for the life of me why I couldn’t get these things done. But it was because all the tasks that I had to do were too long for the amount of time I was trying to squeeze them into.
So it’s important to give your task an estimate of time, you might not know exactly how long things are gonna take. But if you can estimate that something’s going to take half an hour or an hour, be on the generous side with yourself.
Especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom or work-at-home parent. You’re gonna probably have more distractions than somebody else who isn’t surrounded by lots of little hungry distractions. So give yourself an estimate, you’ll get better at estimating the time as well the more that you do this, that’s number two.
3. Block off time in your schedule to do those tasks
And this is what the right-hand section of the Daily Planner page is for. I use the schedule to block off chunks of time where I know that I’m in a particular task, or I’m doing a particular job. Whether that is a three-hour chunk here for homeschooling my kids, or a one-hour chunk here to send email or whatever it is. Once it’s scheduled, then I know it’s going to get done.
This is a super important part because once you’ve written your priorities for the day, and you know that priority number one is going to take an hour, priority number two is going to take half an hour. And priority number three is going to take you two hours, you can look at your day, having put in any appointments that you’ve got. And you can see, well, where am I going to where is it going to fit in my day?
I like to write my to-do list for the day, the night before. So in the evening, I can see ‘Oh, tomorrow, I’ve got this going on. When am I going to do my top three?’ And I can slot it in my day. Or I’ll know that actually, I won’t be able to fit all three of my top three. And maybe I might only be able to do my top two.
But it helps me to know that I’ve got the time to achieve my tasks for the day. And I’ll get to the end of the day and I would have completed the things I wanted to get done because I put them in my schedule. Or I set aside a block of that time for them so that I could achieve them.
So I really hope these tips have helped you. Let me know what your biggest takeaway was from these points. And if you have any questions or comments, leave them down below. I’ll be sure to answer them.