Efficient people are skilled at overcoming procrastination, boredom, lack of motivation or energy, and lack of focus. Productive people are great at focusing on what’s important first, cultivating meaningful work, using proven strategies in their daily lives, taking breaks, delegating work, eliminating time-wasters, investing in themselves, managing their energy, and setting boundaries.
Your daily to do list can cover things that related to your relationships, your finances, your spirituality, your fitness and health, or your career. Do you know how much time you’re spending on things that take time away from your life projects? Knowing your time commitments for each aspect of your life lets you understand how much time will be available to focus on the things that matter.
When creating a list of tasks, ask yourself three things: Does this need to be done? Doesn it need to be done right now? Does it need to be done by me?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may need to remove it in order to open up space for the things that truly matter.
The following strategies can help you!
1. The MIT Method
MIT stands for “Most Important Task”. This technique allows you to focus on the most important items on your list first, then move on to the others. After you finish these, if there’s time left over in your day, great. If not, move the less important items to another day. Prioritization is key to accomplishing the most significant projects in your life. Ask yourself what absolutely needs to be done by the end of the day. Focus on that!
2. The 3 As Method
When working to make your list more efficient, look at your list, consider the 3 As: Axe, Automate, and Ask for Help.
Do you really need this task to accomplish your vision and mission? If no, axe it.
Are their more efficient ways of doing it? If yes, implement an automation strategy. If not, keep it on the list.
Can someone help you with this task? If so, who? If yes, ask the person for help and remove the item from my list.
3. Creating Themes and Time Chunks
Create a theme for the upcoming month can help guide your activities and keep you motivated. Come up with three priorities for each week that help you achieve your overall goals for the month. Have a daily schedule of repeating tasks. Don’t for get to leave empty space for personal/free time!
4. The Eisenhower Method
Dwight Eisenhower created a decision-making matrix for his most important projects. It was later popularized in 1989 by Stephen Covey in his “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Important and urgent items should be prioritized, while non-urgent and unimportant things are less important for your list. Consider removing the non-urgent/unimportant things altogether. When urgent but less important things need to be done by the end of the day or week, think about delegating them to someone else. If something is important but less urgent, it can probably wait. Make a plan to do it, but put the item lower on the list.
5. The Bite-Size Method
Break individual tasks down into smaller steps when you’ve been procrastinating about them. Sometimes procrastination signals our feelings of overwhelm, or even a lack of clarity with what we’re dong. It may also be that you simply have too many things on your plate. Whatever the reason, ask yourself if this is really something you truly want. Is it absolutely necessary? If so, use the bite-size method and finish one small step at a time until to arrive at your destination.
6. Rest and Practice Self-care
Don’t forget to take time off for yourself to recharge your battery. Take five to ten-minute breaks in between your tasks, about every forty-five minutes or so. Use these moments to do self-care activities like meditation, walking, socializing, deep breathing, exercising and eating healthy. These moments in your life can help you bring your energy level and creativity back up. Need a nap? Take it. Listen to your body. If you’re feeling run-down or exhausted, chances are what you produce will be of lower quality anyway.
7. Start Saying No More
We convince ourselves that if we say no, we’re letting others down. But in reality, when we say yes to everything, we’re not doing outselves any favors. People who say yes to everything can quickly become overwhelmed with their daily responsibilities. Saying no, unless the project or activity is really compelling and clearly connected to your overall mission, vision and long-term goals is a necessary part of respecting and caring about yourself. It also allows you to keep your schedule open for the most important tasks that may arise during your work week, make time for loved ones, and avoid getting to a point when you start to procrastinate or avoid your work.
Whatever technique you choose to use, consider the positive impact it will have on your mental and physical wellbeing. When we become more efficient with our time management, we begin to open ourselves up to the space our life needs in order to let new things in!