Ways to Get Things Done
Have you seen people chasing deadline? Do you find yourself challenged to meet the
timelines? Are you late with business projects, arriving at scheduled meetings? Do you
need help getting things done on time?
Here’s what works for a lot of people:
Prepare a ‘TO Do’ list:
Use a notepad, digital list, or voice recorder to capture everything that you want to do
or that need your attention. Little, big, personal and professional—all your to-do’s, projects, things to handle or finish.
Screen & Validate the list:
Validate everything on your list with a question: Is it actionable?
If no, then redefine it to make it actionable item…. if not possible then trash it, incubate it, or file it as reference.
If yes, decide the very next action required.
Organize the actionable list:
You need to go through a set of decision questions to organize / refine/ categorize the actionable list further.
- Can the task be delegated? delegate it if you can.
- Can you ask for help to do it faster? move such task to ‘do it with help’ category
- Is there anything you can do after a deadline? Move it to ‘Review after deadline’ category.
- Is there anything you could skip entirely? Trash it.
- Are there shortcuts you could take to speed up the process? Use shortcuts.
- Can you automate it with tools/apps? Automate it.
- Can you ask for more time? Revise timelines and re-plan.
- Use prioritization techniques such as ‘Must Do’, ‘Should Do’, ‘Could Do’, ‘Won’t’ to arrange the list in order of value and critical path.
- Will take less than two minutes? Move to ‘Two minute task’ category.
Review the list frequently:
Review your lists as often as necessary to be current, informed and committed about what
to do next. Do a weekly review & monthly review to get clear, get current, and get creative. Also plan and have a daily list that you action upon during the day.
Engage, take actions and get it done:
Use your system (planner, tools, help etc) and take appropriate actions with confidence.
Even if the task seems to be hard, just get started. Break down the task and start with little piece that gets you into the task. A start is better than no start and you will observe that you keep on finding the way forward as you progress.
Be focused, persistent and consistent. It will help to get through your tasks as efficiently as possible.
Balance your pace so that you are not working so quickly that you make mistakes that cost
you further time.
Easy time for ‘Two minute task’:
Have 30-40 min slot in your day to complete all ‘Two minute tasks’. This will help you reduce your list faster and also help you manage your stress (due to longer list). This adds to your personal effectiveness and professional responsiveness.
Some of the professional mail response will fall in this category which are essential for get things moving, remove dependencies upon you for quick decisions (approval / rejection / more info).
Work At Home For An Hour Each Day:
To counteract this problem, have 60 minutes each morning to working quietly at home. This helps in getting as many tasks as possible done before you journey into work.
If you try this technique for 2 weeks, you will realize the potential this has to help you get things done.
Create time out of you day:
Cut yourself off or limit yourself from social media where we spend hours of everyday staring screens with funny pics or text. Limit it as much possible and you will find more time to get real value work done.
Getting a driver for your transportation (office, home, elsewhere) can help you get time for your regular activities i.e. newspaper reading, connecting with family/friends, checking/responding to emails, taking phone calls for office work etc.
Find your most productive time:
Figure out when you feel and work your best and try to use those times to do all of the things that take the most brain power. Usually, morning times are very productive when you are fresh, full of energy and have sense of ‘days commitment’. Use the time to do the most of high value task during those times.
Breaks are good for productivity:
As time allows, take short breaks to rest. It is good to have tea/coffee/walk break every 1 – 1.5 hour. Break will allow you to eat, drink enough water, use the bathroom, stretch
(if your task involved long sitting on computer of other machine) or catch your breath (if it is physically active), etc.
- Avoid very long breaks that can reduce your momentum.
- Take breaks at natural stopping points in your work.
- Breaks can also provide a moment to review your plan along the way and take course correction as required
Organize your work area:
Be at home or at office, keep you work area clean and organized. When your work space is
clear, your mind is clear. You feel motivated to work in clean and conducing environment.
Track your time:
The data-set will help you identify kind of task taking lesser than your planned estimates and kind of talks taking longer then your planned estimation.
This helps you improve your estimations and prioritize tasks as necessary.
Do any required follow-up work:
If your work is waiting for someone, then give a reminder as early as possible so that the other person can prioritize and get the pre-work done for you to start your work.
Let the team know about the impediment, issue that is in your way to complete your task. This will help you get the necessary assistance from within /outside team to remove your impediment.
Celebrate the accomplishments:
Enjoy and celebrate your/team accomplishments. Get the necessary rest once you are done and then pick the next task afresh.
I found these tips / tricks useful in getting more things done in same time. I hope these
help you as well.