Life is busy! Between family, home, work, and everything else you have going on, you’re struggling to get it all done.
You wonder how others do it? They make it looks so easy and never seem to stumble or falter.
What’s their secret? How do they get so lucky? Why does everything just seem to fall into place for them?
7 Tips for Getting It All Done
There is no secret, and they don’t just get lucky. They set themselves up for success from the start, and you can too.
Here are some tips for getting it all done even when it seems next to impossible.
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1. Define Your Success
First and foremost, define what success looks like to you. What would make your day successful?
It’s going to be very different for every person, and it’s not realistic to hold yourself to somebody else’s standard.
A successful day for you might be getting three kids and your husband fed and out the door on time. It might be finishing an important work presentation, or just finding the energy to finish the laundry while recovering from a recent illness.
When my life gets really chaotic, a successful day includes making it out the door on time with my keys in my hand and my clothing on right side out! Seriously, some days that’s as good as it gets, and that’s ok.
Be realistic about what that successful day looks like for you. Write it down if you need to, but remember, you’re the only one that gets to define your successful day.
2. Write Everything Down
The minute something comes to mind that requires any action from you, make a note of it.
Besides the obvious benefit of helping you remember, writing it down frees your mind to think about other things. It eliminates the distraction of constantly trying to remember.
It’s a good idea to transfer all notes to a master to-do list so they’re all in one place.
I keep a master to-do list in the back of my planner (Yes, I still use a physical planner and you can click here to see the planner I use). Some of the tasks might be six months out, but I don’t want to forget them, so they go on the list.
If you’re more of a digital techy type, try Trello. It’s a great app for making lists. It’s also really easy to color code and move stuff from one list to another.
Regardless of the system you choose, get your list started.
Once a task is done, you can cross it off or move it from the master list. When you start to get frustrated or feel like you never get anything done, refer back to the master list and look at all that you’ve accomplished and crossed off so far.
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3. Prioritize Tasks
Once you have a master task list, figure out a system to prioritize your tasks.
Use some kind of signifier to designate the most important tasks. I put a star next to my high-priority tasks that need to be done next.
Since the tasks on the list and the urgency in which they need to be done will change as new tasks are added to the list, I only mark my highest priority tasks instead of prioritizing the entire list.
Be realistic about the priority and urgency of tasks.
If you’re working a sixty-hour week, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to blast through your spring cleaning checklist during that same week. Instead, schedule specific tasks from that checklist to complete on specific days.
4. Plan Your Day and Week
Now that you have a to-do list with the highest priority tasks identified, it’s time to sit down and plan out each day of the coming week.
This will help keep you on track for getting those important things done.
If you’re new to weekly planning, try a simple “to-do today” list for each day. Once that becomes a habit, you can get more detailed and use time blocking if you like.
Time blocking will help you focus on specific tasks for a specific amount of time.
I prefer the Pomodoro Technique for time blocking. It uses twenty-five-minute blocks of time with a short break after each twenty-five-minute block.
You can read more about the technique in the book Pomodoro Technique.
If you’re a techy person and prefer to keep everything on your smartphone, try Google Calendars for scheduling your day.
5. Limit Distractions
Distractions are part of daily life. We could probably talk all day about the different distractions that come up, and that would be a distraction in itself.
Some distractions can’t be avoided, but the key is limiting or eliminating as many as possible.
In this digital age, some of the biggest distractions are the internet, email, and social media. Just as much as modern technology can enhance your life, it can also be very distracting.
While you’re working on a task, step away from the email and social media. If your task involves working on your computer, you can use a free extension like Stay Focused to keep you from falling into the social media black hole.
If you just can’t stand it, add specific blocks of time to your schedule for these distractions before you start on your other tasks. Just be sure to set a timer so you don’t go over your allotted time!
6. Stop Multitasking
I can get lost in a rant about multitasking, so I’m going to keep it very brief. STOP multi-tasking!
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, multitasking is the performance of multiple tasks at one time. and focus is a point of concentration. You can’t do both. If you’re multitasking, you’re not focusing!
Want to know more? Check out 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now! from Health.com.
7. Celebrate Your Success and Learn from Your Failures
I think these two go hand in hand. Remember when I told you I keep one master to-do list and cross things off? When I fail to complete my tasks for a specific day, I go back to that list just to see all of the things I’ve already completed.
Don’t let one failure define and derail your process.
Look at the failures and figure out why they were failures. Did you get distracted? Is there a way to eliminate that distraction the next time you schedule that task?
Getting It All Done Conclusion
The tips above are the ones I use for getting it all done and hopefully they can help you too.
If you’re still struggling, pop back in and leave a comment or email me at email@example.com to let me know where you’re getting stuck.