Because it comes up a lot for all of us trying to manage schedules that slam more than 24 hours of work into a day, I thought I would make one giant productivity post for everyone to help us all out (including myself).
10 steps to GET MORE SHIT DONE in a day
- JUST START—I think most of us find that sometimes the hardest part to starting a task is overcoming the “ugh—fuck this shit, I don’t want to do this” feeling. So, trick yourself into it. Instead of saying you’re going to work for 8 hours, tell yourself you’ll do an hour… and watch that hour turn into 2 or 3 or 4 magically.
- Action fights anxiety—If you’re terrified of a project hanging over your head, just start it!! Instead of waiting till tomorrow or next week when things might be right, just start right now! Do something to help yourself feel better about it. You’ll feel better getting through the rest of your day if you don’t have the fear. If you wake up at 2 am panicked you haven’t replied to an email, get up and do it now so you can go back to sleep in peace!
- Make a list—Never underestimate the power of writing it down and crossing it off.
- Take care of yourself—It’s hard to work when you’re tired or hungry or haven’t worked out, etc. So, prioritize—make yourself #1! You’re fucking worth it. So work out, eat breakfast, sleep 6 or 8 or 9 hours (whatever you need). Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel ready to take on the day.
- Stay organized—I have a slightly OCD-type personality. If the desk is a mess, it’s hard for me to do my work. So put things back where they belong, take the time to keep things tidy so you can do your best work.
- Don’t multitask—We all think we’re good at this—but the truth is we’re shit. We’re complete and utter shit at multitasking. Do one thing very well instead of four things poorly.
- Shut off—Turning away from the work for just a minute can really decrease your productivity. Unless you are actively waiting on a text to hear the test results from your mother’s biopsy or an emergency call from your best friend that your house is burning down almost anything else can wait another hour until you finish your task. Even an email from your boss can probably wait another 10 minutes for you to finish what you’re working on.
- Be competitive—Be a better you than you were yesterday. Do more. Show yesterday-you that they’re a lazy bitch and you can do better!
- Refocus—here’s a list of how to do it in 3 minutes or less.
- Give a fuck!!—If you actually care about what you’re doing, you’ll be more motivated to do it!
10 very specific ways to get more shit done
- Work when you work best—This rule that people work better in the morning is bullshit. Some people work best from 5 am to 7 am, but some of us do our best work from 1 pm to 3 pm or 10 pm to midnight. Work when you do your best work and get things done—whenever that is!!
- Localize—Put it all in one place. Stop moving between eight study resources or you’ll fail to focus on one thing well—instead condense all your study materials into one place and then focus on that ONE thing.
- Multi-task on the stuff that doesn’t matter—It takes no brain power to clean a counter, so when you have to clean your apartment you can also return the phone calls you’ve put off. When you have to stand in line for coffee you can also answer emails, while your lunch is heating in the microwave you can put away the dishes in the dish washer. Get more done in the spaces between.
- Be contrary—Who says you have to buy groceries on the busiest shopping day? Go at a weird time when other people won’t be there and you can get in and out faster. Don’t waste your time waiting in line just because that’s when everyone else does something. Do things when you can do it fastest!! Hit the post office at 3 pm when everyone else is at work, go to the gym late in the evening after the post-work rush is over. Do it when you can get it done fast!
- Buy the right shit—Go ahead and buy the best tool for the task. If you don’t set yourself up right, you’ll just spend more time fighting for things to work than actually working!!
- In arm’s reach or screw it—When you sit down to work, get all the things you need ready to go so you don’t have to keep getting up for more paper or some water. If it’s not within arm’s reach, move it or screw it!
- Bribe yourself—Never underestimate the power of a piece of chocolate, or a night out at the end of the week, or an online shopping spree for that shirt you’ve wanted.
- Turn it up (or turn it down)—If you hate the quiet play music, but if the sound is too distracting shut it the fuck off. Work in a space that works for you.
- Deep end—welcome to it--Do the hard stuff first. You’ll lose energy as the day goes on, so leave the easy things for when you’re tired and don’t need as much will power.
- One touch—You’ve probably heard this one before, but here’s my irreverent version of it. Pick it up—don’t put it the fuck down until you’re done. If you get an email from your professor saying you all have to complete a required form, do the fucking form now and email it back immediately. Why spend more time later having to look at that damn email again? If you realize you’re out of paper towels, check your level of tin foil and tissues while you’re at it so you can go to the store one time. Do it once, do it right, don’t fuck around.
Oh, and don’t forget to give yourself a break when you need it. Not every day can be a day where everything gets done. :)
If something doesn’t work, try something else! If you don’t get stuff done today, you can try again tomorrow! Just don’t give up!
Don’t feel super shitty about failing either, and then don’t feel shitty about feeling shitty!