7 things you should NOT be doing if you want to get more out of your day
One of the things that I get asked about all the time is:
‘Barbara, how do I get more done in the day’
If this is you, and you’re working your socks off but still not getting the results (or the satisfaction) of getting what you need done, here are 7 things that you should stop doing…and watch your productivity soar.
Checking your phone first thing in the morning
Now, we’re all adults here so who am I to tell you not to use your phone in bed or as an alarm clock?!
However, the time leaking comes in when your phone alarm goes off, you reach to turn it off and then WHAM before you realise it you’re laying in bed scrolling through e-mails, the news or social media while your eyes are still bleary from being asleep.
‘Don’t make your phone the first place you go to in the
morning…The world can wait until you’ve got dressed!”
What to do instead: If this is you, have a go at either getting yourself a traditional alarm clock or have your phone at the other end of the room so you can’t sit in bed scrolling. Use the start of the day to get in the right mindset for what you want to achieve, rather than losing time right off the bat.
- Setting yourself up to fail with a really long to do list
Now, don’t get me wrong…I love a to do list. I’m a massive fan and can talk all day long about how awesome they are. IF they’re used properly that is.
Here’s what I mean. You have your to do list with everything that you want to achieve during the day on it, and a great intention for getting it all done.
Now, although there’s nothing wrong with that in theory, you’re not taking into account all the other things that happen during the day.
All the interruptions that you’ll be getting, the meetings that you’ll be going to, the people stopping by your desk and so on…and all of these are eating into your day….so without even starting you’re on the back foot as there are only so many hours in a day.
What to do instead: Be realistic with what you’re going to get done – and take into account all the other stuff that will be coming your way throughout the day. The fewer things on your list the better as you’re more likely to achieve them. Yes I know that this might feel hard and everything needs to get done, but let’s face it, a few of your tasks will end up rolling over to tomorrow’s list anyway, so why give yourself the stress to begin with.
I know, I know we’re supposed to feel proud that we can multi-task right?!
But here’s the thing. Multi-tasking doesn’t actually work well at all. In my experience it only serves to make you think that you’re getting loads done, when in reality you’ve just got a trail of unfinished tasks behind you…and who needs that?
What we want to do is cross things off that list once and for all, and we can’t do that if they’re not finished.
What to do instead: Start something and then finish it, and then move on to the next thing. If something crops up that you really have to deal with…do that, and then go straight back to what you were working on. If something crops up that you don’t have to do then and there…make a note of it…and then go straight back to what you were working on – until it’s finished. Trust me, it’ll feel great when you’ve actually got it done.
- Getting your quick tasks done first
This is yet another trap that I see people falling into all the time. Not focusing on the big stuff. Here’s what I mean.
You have a list and on it are a few things that are quick and easy tasks…you know the thing…call Fred, E-mail Jean, send Janice a document and so on.
All seemingly 2 minute jobs…so you set off doing these first in the hope that you can quickly cross them off your list.
But, although on the face of it this seems harmless enough and there are some days that this works perfectly – there are a couple of problems that happen more often than not.
- There’s no such thing as a 2 minute job. Fred will keep you talking for 20 minutes, You’ll E-mail Jean and she’ll e-mail you straight back and you’ll have something else to do. You can’t find the document for Janice and so you spend ages looking (or end up doing it again…) before you know it your whole morning has gone up in smoke.
- While that’s happening there’s still a few big things on your list that really do need your attention and you’re using your little things (above) as a way of procrastinating.
What to do instead: Follow the one big thing rule. Every morning pick one thing on your to do list, that if you got it done you’d be cartwheeling all around the car park. Yes you know the one I’m talking about. Always focus on that first, as that’s where the value is rather the little things that can be done when you’ve got a lull in your day and you need something easy to be doing.
These are just some of my tips for boosting your productivity – I’ve got LOADS more…so if you’re ready to learn how to really boost your productivity join the 5 day mini programme.