There is nothing like ending the day knowing that you have gotten everything done that you intended. Is this something that either happens often in your life or only sometimes? Many of us manage by lists. Many of us use list managing software program – either paper based and computer based. But these can be useless if we do not have methods developed to actually get things done. Without methods of managing our days, through “battle plans”, we will find our lists growing and growing – leading to frustrations and overwhelm.
We usually begin with the best of intentions – the highest expectations. But we usually end the day wondering where the time went. I want to share with you 7 tips that may help you get more done in a day. Implementation of even a few of these can make quite a difference in how effective you are in your day-to- day life:
1. The idea that one can multi-task is a myth. Do not fall for the idea that this is a valuable skill – it is not if you are wanting to get projects done. Tasks are accomplished one at a time. Multi-tasking may be valuable in professions where routing particles or people is important – but that is actually a single task itself.
2. There is no power during scattered attention and action. Power can only come about, in life, by learning to do WHAT you are doing WHILE you are doing it. If it deserves to get done, it deserves ALL your attention.
3. Our lives require both planning of what to do, and then doing it. We can’t effectively plan and do at the same time. It is important to set aside specific periods for each. Of course, there may be mid-course corrections – fine. When you need to adjust, stop what you are doing and put on your planning hat, make the change, and then get back to task.
4. Focus is another vital part of effectiveness. You should use whatever tools you can find to help you do this. An excellent choice is a simple countdown timer. What you do is decide on a period of time you intend to concentrate on a given subject, and then start the timer. Discipline yourself to not break agreement with that timer. While it is counting down, you do the task. You do that and nothing else.
5. Take a look at the Pomodoro Technique. This is a specialized method of counting down where you work for 25 minute periods and then break for 5. We call the 25 minute periods “Pomodoros”. Some folks, after several Pomodoros, take a longer break. Many find this to be an amazing system for concentration and effectiveness.
6. As planner, find a way to “battle plan” your day so that all items are accounted for. Make the decision early in the morning or late the night before. That way, when you are working ( as doer) on a project, you won’t be worrying about another project. As a doer you “do”. Leave the overall project management concerns to you, the “planner”.
7. Using a task management program, there are many out there, is very important if you wish to keep the “grand picture” in view. It is the way to see the forest (as a metaphor). But remember that Battle Planning your day is the only way to get the actions actually accomplished. You need both. You need a task management system and a battle planning system.
Action can only occur NOW. Today is the day – always. To be effective, we need to use tools that will keep the big picture in mind as well as tools that will help us battle plan those precious hours during each and every day.
There’s a tool that can help. Learn more about a Daily Planning Tool today.