Recently I shared a fabulous “To Do” list that you can download ABSOLUTELY FREE. It’s the one I use every day to help keep me organised and on track. I’ve created 2 different versions so you can choose the one you prefer:
Having a list is a great step towards getting organised but here are some other simple tips and tricks that will have you ticking off the items you’ve listed quickly and easily:
- Prioritise your list and do the worst/hardest stuff first. Work out which stuff is the most important or urgent and do that first. Alternatively, you might decide to tackle the biggest, the most difficult or even the most boring job first. Whatever approach you choice, once you’ve knocked over the biggest, most urgent, most boring or difficult job first, everything else will seem less daunting by comparison.
- Just do it! Once your list is complete … START! Instead of agonising too much over the size of your list, choose one item, do it and then move on to the next one.
- Don’t add unnecessary items to your list. It’s easy when compiling a list to write down every little thing you want to get done. Try, however, to limit your list to things that are absolutely essential or you might be surprised by just how long your list is. Try to keep your list to 20 items or less or you’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Learn to say NO! It’s also easy to take on things that you really don’t have time for. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have time to devote to those things, it just may mean that you don’t have time right now. Saying “no” may preserve your sanity and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad person.
- Consider the size of each task. Break up really big jobs or tasks into smaller more manageable pieces. Doing this allows me to chip away at big jobs slowly rather than become overwhelmed by the size of the project and then never start. Remember, the journey of a thousand steps begins with a single step, so the goal is to at least start.
- Allocate a time frame for each job. It’s really easy and common to underestimate how long tasks can take. I try to be realistic otherwise I end up trying to cram four hours of chores into two hours and that just doesn’t work. I only end up becoming tired, dissatisfied and feeling like I’ve failed. By being realistic about what I’m likely to achieve, I can end the day with a sense of achievement.
- Work in a clean space. I find it really hard to be productive if I’m surrounded by chaos and mess. It’s frustrating trying to find a missing document, receipt or other important paperwork on a disorganised desk. I try to do a quick tidy up before I get started.
- Focus on one job at a time. We’ve all been conditioned that multi-tasking if a good thing but it may not be useful all the time for everyone. I find I achieve so much more when I focus on a single task from start to finish. For me it’s quicker and I’m less likely to get distracted.
- Finish what you start. This is sometimes difficult, particularly if I’m interrupted by something like a phone call. Try to finish one task before you move onto the next one otherwise time is wasted and I find myself pondering “now where was I?” I try really hard not to abandon a job half way through.
- Try to keep track of the time. I love clocks and have them scattered around the house. Yes, they tell the time but they also help to keep me on track and prevent me from getting distracted. Or you could take this one step further by setting a timer. Allocate a specific time to a job and then work against the timer to try to finish on time.
- Avoid social media. This can be my enemy when I’m trying to power through my “To Do” list. Five minutes on facebook, Pinterest or Instagram can easily turn into 2 hours so I impose a ban until my tasks are complete and I have time to spare.
- Plan for interruptions. Now this might sound like a bit of a contradiction because the whole idea of a “To Do” list is to get stuff done, but in the chaos of everyday life, interruptions can and will happen and my day may not go as planned no matter how hard I try. That’s okay, I just try to roll with it! I move any unfinished items to the next day but prioritise them to the top of the list.
- Consider outside help. If you find yourself drowning and becoming totally overwhelmed by the amount you need to accomplish all the time, consider getting help. Getting someone to help with even one task like the ironing, could lighten your load considerably and restore valuable time to your day or week.
- Allow for some “ME” time. This is so important! When I have a particularly busy day planned at my desk, I always allow for breaks … 5 – 10 minutes to simply step away and put my feet up with a book, newspaper or magazine with a coffee or a cool drink. I always come back refreshed with a clear mind and consequently, I’m so much more productive.
- Be realistic … you’re only human. I am not Superwoman, Batgirl or any other superhero and I accept that I may not get everything done. I do my best and I’m satisfied with that. It’s okay to want to achieve a certain amount of things in a set period of time but try not to set unrealistic goals or you might just set yourself up to fail and then be disappointed.
- Reward yourself … you’ve earned it! You’ll be so much more productive if you work towards a goal rather than simply doing things just because you have to. You might reward yourself with an afternoon at the movies or a coffee with friends once you get to the bottom of your list. This can really motivate you and it really does work.
Time is precious and, if it’s limited because you’re busy, you want to make the most of it. A “To Do” list is a fantastic tool to help you achieve your goals and your full potential. It will keep you organised and help free up valuable spare time that you can use to spend with family or friends or doing this things you really want to do.
So tell me, what’s your number one tip for getting things done?