15 Ways To Get More Done In A Day

3/12/14 11:04AM EST

15 Ways To Get More Done In A Day 15 Ways To Get More Done In A Day

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There are 24 hours in a day; you sleep for 8 and work for 8 (on average), which leaves 8 measly hours for you to accomplish everything else you need to do. There’s got to be a simple way to be more productive, right? Instead of stealing bits of time here and there from other tasks, check out these 15 easy ways you can be efficient to get more done in a day.

1. Don’t Procrastinate

It’s so obvious, you’re wondering why it’s even on the list. But it needs to be said! Procrastination is the easiest thing to do – that’s why everyone does it! But think of all the time wasted when you put off a task, or spend energy dreading it. What if you completed the project as soon as it came into your hands? Not only would you have something to mark off your To Do list already, you don’t have to think about it all day.

2. Make A List The Night Before

Before you go to bed, make a list of the things you need to do the next day. Start on them as soon as you wake up in the morning. It might seem difficult to jump into your duties as soon as you get up, but think of how much time you use by getting coffee and chatting with coworkers. If you know what you need to get done in the day, you’ll have more motivation to go ahead and get it done early and give yourself more free time later in the day.

3. Don’t Have An Overwhelming To Do list

When you’re making that list every night, don’t include everything you want to accomplish in your life. Think of your immediate duties and what you have to do to complete them. This is what should go on your list.

4. Break Projects Into Smaller Tasks

Having a major project looming over your head will only make you more likely to procrastinate. Don’t be intimidated by what you need to do! Break projects into smaller tasks. This can make anything seem more manageable – even cleaning the bathroom! Clean the sink, let the tub soak, sweep the floor. Having smaller tasks makes them seem easier to do, which means you’ll tackle them sooner, and have the pleasure of marking more off your To Do list!

5. Don’t Overcommit

It’s hard to say no to social events or work projects, but it needs to be done. You can only do as much as you have time for, and if you want to make the most of your day, you can’t waste time wondering how you’re going to make it all work. It’s ok to stay home and clean instead of go to a hip new art opening if that’s stressing you out. It’s ok to tell your boss you need more time to focus on your major project instead of taking on more.

6. Don’t Multitask

It seems like multitasking is the best way to get things done, but in reality, it pulls you away from each task you’re trying to do! Trying to do three things at once means you’re not really completing any one thing. Each time you switch back and forth between the tasks, you’re getting distracted and losing your place, which means you’re using more time to get back on track. Complete your duties one at a time, and you’ll get them done more efficiently.

7. Schedule Big Chunks Of Time

You might have heard that it’s best to work in fifteen- or thirty-minute intervals in order to stay focus and not burn out on one particular task, and that can be true in some cases. But other times, you need to know you have all the time in the world, or at least a few hours each afternoon. Sitting down to a task knowing you can only work on it for half an hour might make you frantic, wondering where to start and how much you can get done and is it really worth it? Take a deep breath. Free up a couple hours in the afternoon where you can work, with limited interruption, and wipe out a few major projects every day.

8. Take Breaks

Whether you’re working in small blocks or big chunks of time, whether your day is filled with meetings or shuffling the kids from one place to another, take breaks. This will help you feel grounded and rested. It’s so easy to feel like you need to be on the go all day, but taking a few minutes here and there to gather your thoughts will keep you on track for the rest of your day.

9. Constantly Keep Notes

You’re already keeping a To Do list for each day, but try keeping notes as well. Instead of trying to remember everything you need to do, write it down. You won’t have to remember to tell your spouse to pay the bills, and you won’t forget what you need at the grocery store. Even if you have a stellar memory, writing down every little thing will take a load off your mind, because you’ll always have your notes at your fingertips.

10. Have A Certain Time To Check Emails

It’s so easy to check email on your phone, on your laptop, at your work computer. It only takes a few seconds, so it’s not a big deal, right? Wrong! Distracting yourself from work, even for a small task, means you might take up to fifteen minutes to get back to where you were! You’ll lose your train of thought and keep thinking about a certain message, or why someone hasn’t emailed you back yet. Set certain times when you check your emails – for example, right when you get in the office, and after lunch. That frees up the rest of your day to be doing actual work!

11. Keep Your Emails Concise

When you do email, don’t ramble. That wastes your time writing it, and the recipient’s time reading it. Try putting important information in the subject line – “Meeting at 1:30pm.” Use the body of the email to pose or answer questions, not use flowery language to ask for favors or explain why you can’t do something in time.

12. Make Sure Your Work Day Ends At A Specific Time

Easier said than done! These days your boss might call you after hours to check a project’s status, or expect you to read emails before you get into the office. Don’t let this happen to you; it’s too hard to get away from. When you leave the office, you leave your work behind. This will give you more evening and early morning hours to do things with your family or for your own hobbies and relaxation.

13. Unplug From Technology

When you’re ignoring work calls and emails after hours, try putting your phone away completely. Don’t text friends or play games all night when you’re with your family. Don’t come home from work and sit right back down in front of your laptop. Even if you’re not doing work tasks, you’ll feel drained and like you’re right back in the office. Plus, we all know how easy it is to waste time on the Internet. It’ll be time to go back to work before you know it!

14. Be Well Rested

Get plenty of sleep! It seems difficult because the easiest way to get more done in a day is to give yourself more waking hours. But if you’re not well rested, you won’t be able to focus on what needs to be done while you’re awake. Getting eight hours of sleep a night is the best thing you can do for yourself, health-wise. Believe me, you’ll get more done when you’re energized than when you’re dragging from four measly hours of rest! 

15. Reward Yourself

Sleep can be its own reward, but make sure you’re giving yourself credit for all you get done. If you only complete four of the five things on your To Do list, don’t beat yourself up. That will just make it harder for you to jump in the next day. Sometimes others won’t tell you when you’ve done a good job or made things easier on them, so you have to get it from somewhere! Pat yourself on the back, splurge on a shopping spree, or go out to dinner.


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