I’m not an advocate for work, work, work, work, work, but there are times I just need to get more done. I’m not a fan of adding more, working till you’re overwhelmed, burnt out, sick or not enjoying it. Burnt out and feeling overwhelmed are the polar opposite to being productive. I am a fan of setting myself up for success, and today I’m giving you some tips on how you can tweak your to do list so that you can get more done.
In my own experience, I know that when I want to get more done
, I need to be clear on what I need to do. I am easily distracted. Some days are a killer. I’m human. I don’t expect myself to be flat out all of the time. It’s not realistic. However, when I’m getting in my own way of getting more done, I can see that I’m about to pick up my phone, and my attention shifts – it’s because I’m not 100% clear on what I need to do.
There are some other unhelpful habits that get in the way too.
What makes me unproductive and stops me getting more done
Whilst clarity is a productivity killler for me, these habits also get in the way.
- being vague
- not holding myself accountable for the timeline I set
- multitasking and “just checking email/social media”
- being reactive
- not having effective breaks
If you can relate to these, it’s not your to do list that’s the problem, but they can be esily addressed by making some tweaks to the way you create your to do list. Perhaps the way you work and write your list is blocking your productivity. So let’s get really intentional about this process. Perhaps you haven’t put much thought into this for a long time, and these simple changes make a difference to your day. Let’s dig into these a bit more so that you can see how some of these strategies can help you get more done.
How to supercharge your To Do List to get more done
Here’s how you can easily incorporate some simple strategies into the way you write your to do list to reduce the self sabotage, and improve your productivity.
- Use verbs. It helps your brain know what to do and take action quickly when you’re working through your list.
- Add a realistic time limit to your task. You can also set your phone timer to keep you on track. If there is a due date, add that in too, so that you have all of the information at your fingertips.
- To reduce muti-tasking, schedule in a task to check your emails or social media. You’ll actually get more done in that time than if you switch your focus constantly.
Turning off all notifications and closing or minimising screens is also important here to maintain focus on one thing at a time.
- Prioritise your to do list each day so that you have time for the important work
- [BONUS] Take time out for breaks. Eating at your computer, or going to get a snack and coming right back to your desk to eat it is not a break (this sentence is for me!)
So you can see that some effective to do list writing at the start of the da and proactively planning how you want the day to pan out can help you run the day smoothly, be more realistic with what you can actually achieve, and get more done.
Remember, overwhelm and productivity are polar opposites. I want to help you with anything that’s easy for the brain to process. Because the context switching and getting distracted can take between 16 to 23 minutes to regain your focus when you’re deep in thought work. It’s literally like every time you get distracted and then come back to the work, your brain is going… Now where was I? and then has to reel back through everything that you’ve looked at to work out where you were and get back into thinking mode. This is why your brain gets more tired by the end of the day.
I’ve tried and tested EVERY strategy that I share with you and I’ve coached many successful business owners and leaders drowning in overwhelm by tweaking how they work, how they plan, how they ‘do the doing’ with great results – tightening up these habits, and being more mindful about how you wrrite your to do list.
Staying focussed and getting more done is rarely about the tool. It’s building in these simple strategies when you’re creating your to do list that will make a huge difference. It’s about making the doing easier and reducing the mental load. If you can set your day up for success, make the decisions earlier your work day has less chance of being railroaded.
You can try one or two of these suggestions and see if they start to help you feel like your to do list is helping you work more productively.