As somewhat of a serial entrepreneur, I constantly get asked how I manage to have so much time in a day to get all of my work done. It’s a fair question, I have a full-time job, run two side businesses and am studying for my MBA. So how do I do it? It’s easy, I can stop time and that’s how I get everything done. That’s it. Blog post over.
As much as I wish that were true, I am but a normal human and only have 24 hours to get it all done. Here are seven things that I do to make the most of the day.
1. Have must-haves
When you make your list for the day, I am sure it is at least 20 items long and you barely get through all of them, if at all. The reason is that you may not have sorted them by importance. What might be more helpful is to select 3 things that NEED to be done by the end of your day. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can select three things on your work list and three things on your personal list. At the end of the day, you can feel accomplished because you handled what you needed to get done versus beating yourself up over what you wanted to get done.
2. Have a break down
I don’t mean freak out because you are not getting everything done, but if you need to do that, please do. Let’s say that you have 5 minutes before your friend comes over for dinner and you still need to do your laundry. You’ve got five whole minutes! If you need to start folding laundry or hanging it up, set a goal for yourself to get 5 things folded or put away before your friend comes over. Chances are you will get through more than that and you are that much closer to finishing when you are done with dinner.
3. Baby goals
One problem that we have as humans is that we set unrealistic goals. In an age of instant gratification, it’s hard to wait and break things down. We want it and we want it now. A way to remedy this is to make the goal more digestible. If you’re goal is to clean your car, here is what a breakdown could look like: first clean out the garbage, second vacuum, third go to the car wash. Now it is in three steps and if you can only get to one step a day, you are still making progress. Instead of it taking two weeks for you to clean your car, you can get it done in three days. If you want it done in one day, make it a must-have!
4. Look at puppies
This may or may not actually work, I tried this after reading it here. I found that it does work for me. Once I complete a task, I set a timer for five minutes and then look at puppies, I smile, I laugh and I am ready for my next task. Plus, puppies.
5. Put the phone on lockdown
You’ve heard it a million times, social media kills productivity. I generally put my phone in a another room when I am trying to get work done. Out of sight, out of mind. Soon you will be blazing through your work and the world will have not burned down while you put your phone down.
6. Turn it into a game
I use an app that gives you points each time you complete a task. Sounds nutty, but it actually works. You start to feel like you are in a real-life video game and it empowers you to do more. Instead of saving princesses, you’ll be adulting. Proud of you!
7. Be realistic
Let’s level set: you are not going to be able to get everything done everyday. It’s a harsh reality, but one we all need to face. That is why it is so important to have priorities so when shit does hit the fan, you are getting your core tasks done. At the end of the day, you’re still a badass, just be a badass with priorities.