Getting things done in a timely and organized fashion is something that does not come naturally to me. I do love making lists, but sticking to them is something I struggle with. Between blogging, freelancing, working full-time and having a family I've been working hard to turn myself into a more productive person. These are some of the things that I've done to get on the road to being one of those people that say "Let me check my calendar" rather than the person that misplaced their calendar completely.
1. Prioritize your goals. I always had a huge list of goals that I wanted to accomplish with no timeframe and no priorities. Having tons of things to do with no game plan really just ends up leaving me feeling stressed and then I get very little done. I sat down and ranked everything from very important to not at all important and short term and long term. I ended up removing a few things from the list that I realized weren't really important to me anymore.
2. Keep a list of your goals. Actually writing out my goals and then seeing them in front of me is much more motivating and less confusing than having them all jumbled in my head.
Check out this goal setting printable worksheet to help you start prioritizing. I originally made it to help me get my blogging goals in check, but it can be used for business and personal goals as well.
3. One task or goal can usually be broken down in a few smaller chunks. Mini-goals help me feel accomplished and productive because they are easier to meet and feel less overwhelmed.
4. Try out different time management methods. I have found the Pomodoro technique works well for me. I set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a project for that entire 25 minutes. Once the 25 minutes is up, I take a short break. The break gives me something to look forward to and keeps me from mindlessly working away and burning out. I use FocusBooster for my Mac. If you check the app store for your device there are tons of other awesome apps out there for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS as well.
There are tons of other time management methods out there besides Pomodoro. Lifehacker has great information about different methods. Here is a fantastic article about Pomodoro and another about Kaizen.
5. Don't let email rule your day. Rather than checking your email 9,522,967 times throughout the day, set aside specific times to check it. I started slowly weening myself off of the email obsession starting with 5 times a day and now I try to keep it down to 3. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule (like when you are awaiting an urgent email), but it's a start. All of those minutes and seconds spent checking email really do add up.
6. Try to keep outgoing emails to just 4-5 sentences. Doing so has not only saved me time, but it has also helped me learn how to make my words more meaningful.
Since I started becoming mindful of how I spend my time I have become much less anxious and get more done in less time. I don't have feelings of impending doom if I don't complete something, I just move on.
These 4 books about productivity and getting things done have totally changed my life:
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way by Steven Pressfield
Do you have any tips or tricks that increase your productivity? I'd love to hear them!
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