Have you ever wondered why some people seem to accomplish all of their goals while you constantly spin your wheels simply trying to get your daily to-do list done? Do you sometimes feel unorganized and unproductive? If you struggle with getting things done, you are not alone. I’m going to share some real strategies to help you conquer your to-do list and finally get more done.
Why do you have such a hard time getting things done?
If you are like me, you have read tons of articles and blogs on how to be more productive, and you have tried just about every time management app and productivity tool on the planet; yet you still find yourself overwhelmed and failing to get things done. Despite your best efforts and your intentions, your to-do list seems to keep growing instead of shrinking.
I believe that the reason so many of us have trouble getting things done is because of how we view and approach our to-do list. Here are six strategies to help you become more productive and get things done:
#1 Change your mindset
I know it can be hard to get yourself motivated and psyched up about mundane and routine tasks. But that’s only because you have not changed your mindset about what needs to be done.
For instance, maybe you need to get your home, or your office organized. As a matter of fact, let me use myself as an example. I recently went through a home renovation and right now, I really need to reorganize my kitchen and cabinets.
This is a small, mundane task. Does this excite me? Not so much. But when I think about what I will gain by actually organizing my kitchen cabinets, my perspective begins to change a little.
What will I gain by organizing my kitchen cabinets?
- I’m making it easier for me to cook dinner for my family. Having everything in its place means less time for me to get things done.
- I’m cutting down the time it takes for food prep and clean-up, and
- I’m also making it easier for my children, or my husband, to pitch in and help out.
When thinking about the benefits I will gain by getting my kitchen organized, it becomes easier to complete the task.
Now, does it become more exciting? Maybe, or maybe not, but at least I’m clear on what needs to done and the benefits of actually getting it done. Now, of course, I just made those up off the top of my head, but you get where I’m going.
Though this was a very simple example, you can use this same mindset technique to get just about anything done.
Instead of simply giving yourself a boring list of chores or making a long list of things you have to do, make a list of benefits!
Who doesn’t love benefits? List the benefits that you, your spouse, family, co-workers or whoever else is going to get once the task is complete. Approaching your to-do list by focusing on the benefits versus your current desire, mood, or motivation gives you an incentive to take action so that you can reap the benefits.
#2 Avoid false productivity
“What is false productivity?” you might ask. It’s doing unnecessary work or taking unnecessary action when you should be focused on or doing something else.
Yes, you’re busy and being productive, but not in the right way. You’re not focusing on your priorities or the things that are crucial to progress and toward you moving forward at work, in your business, and in your life.
For instance, you’re doing the dishes when you should be working on a project. I have been so guilty of this. Working from my home office, there have been times I have been completely derailed by a dust ball that I happened to catch out of the corner of my eye, and before you know it, I’m up sweeping, dusting and cleaning instead of meeting a deadline or making some important phone calls.
Don’t get me wrong, the dust ball needs to be handled. But there is a time and place for everything. Schedule time to do both. A time to clean and time to focus, but don’t confuse or mix the two. Prioritize and stick to it.
#3 Focus on execution and not just ideas
In other words, don’t get caught up, side-tracked or distracted by your many thoughts and ideas.
How many of you set out to do one task then you get another bright and shiny idea, and you switch to another project only to get another idea? And in the turn of events, it’s the end of the week, and nothing is done because you’ve given more attention to the idea than to the actual execution and completion of your priority?
While creativity and ideas are necessary, execution is crucial for progress. Finish one thing before you’re off to a new thing.
If you become bored or unfocused, take a break, but don’t jump ship. If you get a new idea, write it down for later. Focus on completing one task or idea before starting or jumping into another.
#4 Get organized
Prepare your space and ensure that you have the specific tools, supplies, and materials to get started.
How many times have you sat down to work only to discover that you didn’t have any paper or that you couldn’t find a pen to write with?
You should be organized and prepared beforehand so that you don’t have to stop at the moment, wait, or throw away the task.
When you or your space is unorganized, it’s easy to find an excuse to stop or divert your attention. If you want to get a job done both correctly and quickly, it’s easier if you start out by having the tools you need handy and by having a clean and organized space.
#5 Plan your day
Know what needs to be done. Write it down so that you have a concrete plan when you start each day. Limit your to-do list to 3-5 items and no more than three lists: one for home, one for work, and one for your personal life.
Many times, we have a “to do” list for work or for home but we don’t have one for our personal life. We have to include ourselves in our schedule so that we can have some time—some “me” time—to regroup and regenerate.
You don’t want to burn out. Limiting your to-do list and what needs to be done in a day will prevent you from feeling useless and worthless, or like you have not gotten anything done today just because you didn’t get through your long list.
Have you ever felt that? You get down on yourself or start feeling overwhelmed and shut down, and then nothing gets done.
#6 Stop planning and start doing
Now, this may seem contrary to strategy No. 5. But it’s not. You definitely need to plan, but you can’t live in this phase forever.
Also, you can’t wear yourself out with planning to the point where you have nothing left for execution. While you need to be prepared you also need to take action.
If at any point your quest to gather materials and get ready threatens to keep you from getting the job done, stop planning and start working. Get more done, by getting more done!
I hope that I have changed your perspective on how you view and tackle your to-do list. I also hope that you learned something that you can use to make some positive changes in your life. If you enjoyed reading this, please be sure to like it and comment below, and share it with others who struggle with getting things done.
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