Quick and Dirty Tips to Re-Harness Your Day


Re-harness your day

Quick and Dirty Tips to Increase Your Efficiency


Ever have those mornings when you wake up and have so much on your to-do list that you just lay there? You are almost paralyzed because the second you move, someone will most certainly add something else on your growing task sheet. That was me this morning. It's still me now as I write this blog post at 4:49pm. So today, I'm coming at you diary style: Short and sweet, with a little bit of motivation in the mix. 


I am not the type to get easily overwhelmed. At the end of most days, everything always gets done. And when it doesn't, there is a later night, or even the next morning to get back on track. I pride myself in always being able to catch up. But today felt different. By 8:15am, I was already on the second page of my $1 Target to-do notepad, each page with 19 lines. Today was building up to be a doozy and so was a feeling of drowning. Around 10am, after my second cup of tea and only 2 items crossed off my list, I was moving into full on panic mode. "Not enough hours", "letting people down", "never ending". Then came the self doubt: "why can't I handle this?", "I know I'm missing something else." 

And it wasn't until I took a moment to get away from my computer, eat some Thai curry leftovers, that I tried to pinpoint where this feeling was coming from. Today is no different that any other day. The demand is the same, my responsibilities have not changed...so why was I feeling like this?

Answer: Inefficiency. 

Like most people, I am results driven. I feel great satisfaction in crossing items off my to-do list. But today I was not feeling that satisfaction because I was not making any progress. To conquer my day, I quickly needed to rectify that situation and I was grateful that I did so! I'm finishing my obligations on time, stressed so much less this afternoon and feeling accomplished. So I wanted to outline just a couple of tips I use to re-harness my day and slash through every task on my list! 

Consolidate: More often than not, there items that can kill two birds with one stone. Today, I needed to fold a load of laundry and pack for an upcoming trip. So as my clothes came out of the dryer, I folded them and packed what I needed out of the load. Rather than putting them away only to pack them again later tonight, I saved myself the additional time packing later in the night. 

Break Them Down: I am so guilty of placing large, multi-step actions on my to-do lists. To help visualize and make the project seem more manageable, break out those steps into bite-sized chunks. It will at first make your task list seem that much longer, but you will cross them off much more quickly and feel less intimidated by the one large task.


Multitask: What tasks on your list can be done at the same time? Pick an active task and a passive task and make them happen at the same time. For me, this is often a mixture of work and personal tasks, made easier by the fact that I work from home. Thaw chicken while on a conference call. Let your dog run around the baseball diamond while you answer emails. Speaking of emails...have a call in which you are not a participant? Keep working through your inbox and keep your call in one ear. 

Prioritize: Remember that there may come a point in which you will not get it all done. You just wont. So pick the things that cannot wait (have to do laundry for my trip tomorrow, have to respond to this client, need to supply this information before X deadline, etc), and let the rest of it wait. Let it sit. Because as my sweet and wise husband told me today: if everything is a priority, nothing is. So pick the tasks you absolutely have to go to bat over, and make the others wait their turn.

By no means are these the only ways to increase your efficiency (there are hundreds of books on the subject), but in the instance you need a quick reference guide to getting your "ish" together, these are the quick and dirty tips I use. Do you have any tips for increasing your productivity and demolishing your day? I would love to hear them in the comments! 




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