Have you ever thought, “I wish I could get more done”? I know I have and I want to share some ways that you and I can get more done at work and in life.
The problem that stops people from getting more done isn’t a lack of desire. It’s usually a lack of knowledge on how to be more productive. This is why we have to go to others to get ideas and find out what works for us.
A great benefit from listening to people that are highly successful is that you know that, most likely, they are living out the advice they’re giving. One of the other, lesser talked about, benefits is that you may find out that something you are trying is a technique that someone successful recommends. The only difference is that you may have been doing it inconsistently.
So, there are 7 practices that I have found, and continue to work on, that will help you get more done. Some are ones I’ve learned and some are ones I’ve tried but needed confirmation that I was on the right track.
- Have a clear vision. Not the kind you need glasses for. But the kind that filters the decisions and direction of your life. A vision for your work, family, or life should be about transformation. For example, your vision could be “to make a positive difference in the lives of the people I meet”. Now think about every word and action you make through that filter. Do what fits. Don’t what doesn’t.
- Focus on what’s important rather than just urgent. There will always be something urgent happening. However, how often do you feel productive after putting out fires all day? Instead, switch your focus to the important but not urgent things in life, because unattended important things can become costly urgent things. Dave Ramsey gives a great example in his book EntreLeadership about this. He stated that routinely getting your oil changed is important, but, if you don’t do it, you will soon have to get a new motor and that is urgent.
- Schedule your life. There is a great quote on this from Michael Hyatt, “what gets scheduled gets done”. If you stop to think about it, you’ll quickly realize how true that is. If there is something you want to accomplish, then put it on your calendar and make time for it.
- Ask for help. Most leaders think they have to do everything by themselves. It comes from the mistaken belief of “if you want something done right, then you’ve got to do it yourself”. That sounds great if you’re the Lone Ranger or Clint Eastwood, but it doesn’t play here in the real world. An old African proverb provides stunning clarity into this situation, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
- Be more positive. This may seem like an odd one, but it is vitally important to long term success. Being positive about your circumstances, projects, responsibilities, or even relationships will keep your mind more focused and more creative which leads to increased productivity. Try changing some of your language about the previous list. Instead of saying “I have to do [insert stressful or undesirable action here]”, say “I get to do [same stressful or undesirable action here]”. That one has helped me tremendously lately and I know it’ll work for you.
- Get rest. Studies have shown that rest/sleep has critical impact on our mood, focus, and productivity. If you aren’t making time to get enough rest, then you need to start. Tonight! Create a routine at night and set a time that you want to be in bed and then stick to it. This is easier to schedule if you know what time you need to be up each morning.
- Say no. When you are asked to help with something or someone or to take on another project, and deep down you know that you cannot do it without losing your mind or decreasing the quality of your work on your current responsibilities. Say no! Draw boundaries. Think of it this way, sometimes you have to say “no” to something good in order to say “yes” to something great.
The trick to doing all of these is to do them consistently. If you do them once, twice, a few times you’ll get marginal results and nothing that lasts. Make the change permanent and always try to improve.
Question: What productivity practices have you found to be helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.