7 Ways to Get More Done Today
If you want to get more done today, you need some practical techniques to increase your productivity – immediately! We all have a lot on our plates and a to-do list that feels like it’s never-ending, but don’t despair. You can set yourself up to have your most productive day ever!
Does it feel like it’s impossible to get through everything? Well instead, imagine this… finishing today having made huge progress on your most important priorities. How good will you feel?
Use these simple productivity hacks to go from overwhelmed to accomplished.
7 techniques that will help you get more done today…
1) Choose Just One Thing
Gary Keller wrote a whole book about the power of focusing on The One Thing. It’s a great principle and I highly recommend you read it. Mostly he talks about choosing just one big, important project for your current period of life, and channeling all of your energies into that. But this same principle should also be applied to each day.
What is the ONE most important thing to get done today?
Yes, you have a huge list of things, but if you could only choose one, which is it?
Don’t skip this step. Recognize that prioritization is hard, but it is also that most important step.
2) Cut Off Distractions
You’ve heard all of this before, but instead of just reading about turning off notifications and shutting down email, this time, actually do it! (It’s so commonly spoken about because it works!)
Actually close all browser tabs and apps and put your phone on Do Not Disturb.
Don’t just read this – actually do it.
Without going into all of your settings, the easiest way to do this is to close all browser tabs except for the one you’re working on and turn your phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode.
Don’t worry – it’s not forever.
If necessary, also put on headphones with some instrumental music too. Not only does this drown out the sounds of others around you, but it also sends a signal that you are in focus mode.
3) Commit to Focus for 45 Minutes
Once you’ve chosen your top priority and you’ve cut off most of the distractions, it’s time to get to work and focus exclusively on that thing.
Don’t try to spend a whole day on this task – it’s way too hard to stay focused. Instead, work in chunks of 45 minutes or so. Whatever time you choose (even if it’s only 10 minutes), promise yourself that you’ll stay working on your number one task for that time period.
Be warned – this is harder than it sounds!
Commit to staying with your task, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Your most important task is probably challenging in some way – maybe you don’t know how to start it, or you have conflicting ideas. Once your brain realizes the difficulty, you’ll be tempted to move to something easier. But even when it feels uncomfortable, stay with it, and work through the resistance (as named by Steven Pressfield).
Remember, it’s just 45 minutes – you can do it!
4) Power Through Your ‘Busy Work’
Once you’ve done 45 minutes of focused work on your task, take a break. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve made a huge amount of progress or not, it’s time to give your brain a rest.
Of course, you can take an actual break and have lunch, get coffee, phone a friend, go for a walk, etc. Or, you can use this time to get through some of the more mundane tasks you have on your list. But instead of giving them the same weight as your top priorities, recognize that most of them are not really that hard and just blast through them. In fact, see how many you can get done in 15 minutes.
Use breaks from focus work to power through your easy tasks.
How many can you get done in 15 minutes?
Examples of ‘busy work’ might be emails you need to send, a call you need to make, updating a report, or something else you find to be relatively quick and easy to do.
After spending a few minutes (eg 15 minutes) on these, get back to that most important thing!
5) Build in Consequences
No, you’re not a child, but well… actually deep down, we’re all quite childish and we respond the same way as children. So what does this mean?
There are two ways to build in consequences – you can use either the carrot or the stick!
a) Set Yourself a Reward
The carrot approach is to set yourself a reward for getting that most important task done. Maybe you say to yourself that you’ll get your favorite dinner, or have a bubble bath, or call a good friend, or give yourself some time to work on that fun project.
It could even be more simple than that… maybe you don’t get lunch or you can’t get a second coffee until you finish that task!
b) Introduce Accountability
The other side of this is accountability. When people work in teams together, it naturally creates accountability – which leads to a kind of positive peer pressure that helps us get things done.
If you don’t have a manager breathing down your neck, you can create this accountability yourself. Try telling a colleague or peer that you’ll have something to show them by the end of the day. Or email a client to tell them you’re working on their project and you’ll have it to them by a certain time.
It sounds simple, but for the majority of people, accountability is very effective.
6) Aim for 80% Quality
Most of us have a bit of a problem with perfection. Yes, it sounds like a noble trait to strive to do our best, but we need to understand that doing our best is usually not productive.
Doing your best is not productive. You can usually get 80% of the results for 20% of the effort.
You’ve probably heard of the 80:20 rule. This can apply to lots of scenarios, but usually, 20% of our efforts get us 80% of the results. This means that in order to get the extra 20% to bring our results up to 100%, we need to put in 80% more effort – or 4x the effort we’ve put in to get to the first 80%. Of course, the numbers will vary depending on the situation, but you get the idea.
In most cases, it doesn’t make sense to strive for 100% quality.
Especially, if it’s the first take on a new project, or an internal document, or just your own first draft. Aim for 80% initially, then see if you want to polish it more once you’ve had time away from the project.
7) Change-up Your Working Environment
If you really need to get a lot done today, try this: work somewhere that’s not usual for you. If you normally work from an office, work from home. If you normally work from home, go to a cafe or coworking space.
Changing the place you work stimulates a different approach which can often help us be a lot more productive.
If you can’t change locations, try changing something else; turn your desk around, clean up your desk, work in a different room, or even listen to a different style of music.
Have Your Most Productive Day and Get More Done Today!
Being productive is really a matter of making decisions about how you’ll spend your time, and then following through on those decisions. Of course there’s more to productivity and you can also check our in-depth guide: How to be more productive. But these 7 strategies will make a huge difference to your productivity today.
So why are you still reading here? Get more done today by implementing some of these tactics!