I like the idea of spending less time working and more time playing. And that’s all about being efficient and making the most of the time you spend working.
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It also means giving it 100% when you sit down to get something done. It’s not always easy and does take some practice.
It’s well worth it though in the end and there are some little hacks you can implement that make staying on task easier.
To Do Lists Are Your Friend
My first hack is to always use a to-do list. Make it out the day before, so you can grab your coffee, sit down and get right to work in the mornings.
There is no time wasted trying to figure out what you should be doing next.
Having the list and knowing what you need to get accomplished, makes you work faster and get it done. Break bigger projects down into multiple list items.
For example, instead of using “publish a blog post” on your to do list, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps like this:
- Choose a Blog Post Topic
- Create An Outline
- Write The Blog Post
- Format The Post
- Create An Image
- Publish The Post
- Share The Post On Social Media
Breaking it down also helps with time management. Let’s say you have 15 minutes before your next meeting (or before you have to go pick up the kids from school).
You don’t have time to write and publish a blog post, but you do have time to pick a topic and write a quick outline. You can get that done, check it off the to-do list, and wrap up the rest when you get back.
You can use a little notepad and pen for your to-do list, or use a phone app.
I recommend you start a new daily list. Even if you didn’t get to everything yesterday, go ahead and write up a new list and transpose the items leftover to the new list. It looks less cluttered and overwhelming than a perpetual list.
Do your best to get everything done on your list each day. Push hard to cross every single item off the list.
Set Yourself Time Limits – Use That Kitchen Timer
In order to be truly efficient, we not only need to know what we should be doing, we also need a time-frame to work in.
This is where a timer comes in handy. Grab the old kitchen timer or set a countdown alarm on your phone. Set it and get to work.
It’s amazing what you can get done in 15 -30 minutes with some focus, pressure and no distractions.
Give it a try. Pick each item on your to-do list and figure out how long it should take you to get it done. Set the timer, get to work and see if you can finish early.
Work 25 Minutes, Take a 5 minute Break.
Obviously this kind of pace isn’t sustainable for hours and hours at a time. Instead, aim to work hard for 25 minutes at a time, then get up and take a break.
Spend the next 5 minutes to move around, get some air, get some water and just relax for a bit before your next little “work sprint”.
Also don’t expect to work this hard for 8 to 10 hours a day. Yes, it can be done in a pinch, but you end up burning out. Instead, I recommend you figure out your most productive time of the day. It’s different for all of us.
Click on the image below to grab a FREE checklist to help get you started on creating your own productive daily routines!
Pay attention to when you do your best work. What time of the day do things seem to flow effortlessly? It may be early in the morning, or late at night. Find that time slot and schedule some super-productive work during those hours.
Work Hard, Then Play
It’s not easy to stay motivated to work this hard. It’s much easier to just sit at the computer for a few hours doing busy work, looking around on Facebook, doing “research” … you know the kind of stuff I’m talking about.
To stay motivated to work hard, bribe yourself with some little rewards. This could be laying on the couch watching Netflix for an hour after everything on the to-do list got done.
Or being able to meet a friend for lunch (or coffee) if you get through the first 3 items on your list.
Find some things you enjoy doing and then bribe yourself with some time to do them if you get done with the hard part of your workday. It could even be a work-related reward.
Make yourself write that blog post before you can go play with the new image software you ordered.
Now that you have some tools to be more efficient, you can put them to use!
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