Most of us are interested in “getting it done” but a lot of us lack the motivation. With such tremendous demands on our time and attention, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and paralyzed. Looking back at the end of the day, we wonder, “Where did the day go, and what did I do with it?” I used to be a huge procrastinator, always doing things at the last minute if I did them at all. Now, I’m all about getting it done. What I can share with you are some strategies that work for me. While I’m no expert in getting it done strategies, I am getting more done because of the tips I’ll share below. Some of these are obvious but bear repeating. Of course, many of these I got from the experts.
Simple Tips for Getting it Done
- Get up earlier I try to get up before 6 so I can do some yoga and maybe read a little before I have to get my kids up, dressed and ready for school. It isn’t always easy, but the payoff is well worth it: I feel energized, I have momentum, and I’ve accomplished something meaningful before 7 a.m. To do this, I need to be in bed by 10:30. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing the last hour to hour and half of my day really a wise use of my time? Think of what you can get done with an extra hour in the morning, if you got to sleep earlier.
- Get enough sleep. This is different for everybody. I can get by with 7 hours regularly but not with 6 1/2. You lower your getting it done ability if you are tired. Lack of energy means lack of motivation. Get the amount of sleep that is right for you.
- Eat three meals a day. If you are skipping meals and going 5 or 6 hours without eating, you risk low blood sugar episodes. Your brain is the organ that uses the most blood sugar or glucose, which is your body’s basic fuel. If you are regularly cranky, impatient, irritable, unable to focus or experiencing energy highs and lows, take a look at your diet. (Then see a doctor if appropriate.)
- Take breaks. The mind and body can only be active for so long before they require a break. You will be more productive if you take regular breaks. Relaxation is as necessary as water and air. Even God took a day off.
- Have a plan for getting it done. You’ve heard the adage “Nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan.” Lack of a plan can lead to indecision and the killer time waster of them all, distraction. Get some type of planner and plan your day either last thing at night for the next day or first thing in the morning. Assign what you need to do to specific hours of the day, and include an end times as well.
- Be prepared. Make sure you have everything you need before you venture out. Assemble necessary media, materials, tools, and have them packed and ready to rock and roll. Fill your gas tank the evening before as opposed to the morning of.
- Value your time. During a project, limit incoming phone calls to only the most important/necessary, otherwise ignore the phone. That’s what voice mail is for. Schedule time to check/send email. I heard about a study recently that stated that stopping to check your email means that on the average it will be half an hour before you get back to your scheduled project. Watch out for time vampires, (a major obstacle to getting it done) such as chit chatters and social media. Set boundaries on interruptions: “I’m not available right now, but we can talk at such and such a time, O.K? (Be careful when saying this to your boss or your spouse)
- Eat the frog first. The frog is that task or project that you least want to do, or that will be the most difficult. If you save it for the end of the day, you may procrastinate it right off your schedule. The whole day you’ll be thinking “Man, I’ve still got to eat that dang frog…” The key is getting it done as soon as possible at the beginning of the day and get it out of the way, freeing up focus and energy.
- Work on projects simultaneously, rather than sequentially. Most of us don’t have the luxury of spending all or a major part of the day working on one thing. Schedule start and finish times for ongoing projects and be stringent about following these. You’ll find that chipping away at each one on a daily basis keeps the momentum going, and allows you to be able to see the big picture instead of getting mired down in details.
- Know thyself. Are you one of those people that can’t speak coherent English until 11 am? Are you ready to curl up under your desk and take a nap at 3 pm? Be aware of your own energy cycles and plan accordingly. I’ve tried balancing my checkbook at 10:30 pm. It doesn’t work. I find myself up until after midnight trying to find that 20 missing dollars that got lost because I was tired and didn’t check something off, etc. Play to the times of the day when you are the most mentally and physically capable of getting it done.
I hope you found this helpful. If you need support and accountability in creating motivation for GETTING IT DONE, give me a call or email.Ted A. Moreno (626) 826-0612