Hi, it’s Julie–today I’m sharing what I do to get more done. Hopefully, one of these will help you out!
Now before you think I have it all figured out, please know: I don’t. But I have found a few tips and tools that have helped me to get more done and be more efficient. I’m just gonna share a few with you today. Let’s dive in!
1. Using a Planner
I wrote about this a while back. The Best Self Planner has been a great tool for organizing my thoughts, plans, appointments, and to-do lists. And it fits my personality and brain really well. I love that it’s undated, has grid dots instead of lines (please don’t tell me where to write! LOL), and blank pages between weekly layouts.
There are also plenty of spaces to plan projects, evaluate your progress, and set goals for self-improvement. And, this may be weird, but I love the feel of the paper. The planner has a pocket in the back and an elastic band to keep it closed. That’s great, because I take it everywhere. I’ve found that I can no longer just remember things; they have to be written down. And this planner has plenty of room for tasks, ideas, notes, journal items, etc.
Because I have it all at my fingertips, I find that I am much more efficient and get a lot more done. I have my own system of tracking what needs to be done in a week and even how to rearrange when “life” happens. I just ordered my fourth planner for when this one runs out. I love, love, love it!
You can check out their planners, journals and other products here (affiliate link). But ultimately, you have to find the right planner for YOU. So find what works and use the mess out of it!
2. Blocking Out Time
Near the end of each week I fill in the dates for the coming week in my Best Self Planner. Then I fill it in with any appointments. After that I take each day and figure out the best block of time for doing: fitness, homeschool, Virtual Assistant work for clients, and creative time (I also have a card business). Those are the big 4 must-do’s for me.
Having said that, there are just some days that are so busy that I can’t always get creative time. Or my client work time has to be shorter than the day before. But the point is that over the course of the week, I can figure out when to get the most important things done. Seeing the time blocked out (I use several different highlighter colors for each area), I can see that I will have time to work in what’s most vital that week.
Time blocking has helped me to get more done. When one day is full of appointments I can “make up for it” on another day. And it all comes together during my planner session. It’s not meant to be set in stone and I often have to make adjustments. But this works so well for me personally. And it lends itself well to being adjustable–which I sorely need!
3. Eating the Elephant
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Raise your hand if you have a tendency to think that a big project has to be done all at once, or at least in big, dramatic chunks. That’s me. It’s taken me a lifetime to figure out that I’m a lot happier (and more productive) when I break down tasks into small chunks. And sometimes those tasks need to be ridiculously small.
When the thought of a huge project makes your chest tighten up, you know it’s time for elephant bites. Take a big project and think of the smallest thing that you can do to start (or do next). Write it down on your to-do list and don’t think past it. Just do that little thing.
Example: You need to re-paint all the bedrooms. Elephant bite: go to the hardware store and leisurely look through the paint samples. That’s it. Maybe you could even go smaller: brainstorm color ideas for each room. ONE room!
Get the idea?
The point is to do SOMEthing. Overwhelm makes us want to do nothing, which creates even more stress and overwhelm. Just do one little thing.
And then celebrate, and write down the next little bite to take.
4. Eating the Frog
Wait….now we’re eating frogs, too?
Yes. And if you’re familiar with the expression you know that it means to do the thing you’ve been putting off and dreading. The unsavory task. You know how that feels, right? That cringey feeling you get when you think of the thing, the “frog” that you don’t want to “eat?” That feeling is so heavy, to me anyway. I can’t stand it!
So, when I’m feeling like there’s a frog I don’t want to eat I try to remind myself how much easier the day will be if I just get it over with. And it always feels so amazing to get that sucker crossed off my list!
Funny thing is, it will be a different type of thing for everyone. We’re all so different. For me? I hate making phone calls. So, I’ll dread and dread and fret and fret. And then when I finally do make the call, it takes like 3 minutes and I feel pretty dumb for putting it off for so long.
Eating the frog will help you get more done because it’s all downhill from there! The hardest thing is gone!
5. Finishing Fitness First
This one’s personal for me; I wrote about this recently too. But I truly believe that daily exercise is crucial for our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. You can read that blog post for more details but for now….
When I do my fitness first in the day, I just feel energized! I’ve already kicked some serious butt and I haven’t even had my first meal yet! (That works for me, by the way, but eat breakfast first if you need to.) I get up early, walk my dog, do resistance training, and do my jump rope workout. Six days a week, if I can. And it feels amazing!
This fitness focus works for me because I’ve already done so much and have started my day ACTIVE. I have a bounce in my step and am ready to tackle everything else. Most days.
The occasional nap is bound to happen, people.
6. Carving Out Time for Creativity
This is also a personal one. As I mentioned above, I have a handmade card business. Part of my pursuits there are making cards but also learning new techniques. I make sure that every single day I’m either making a card, learning or practicing a new technique, or watching one of my online mentors demonstrate their skills.
It may not be cards for you, and that’s fine. Whatever is your creative jam, make time for it.
When I go long stretches with no creative time, I suffer mentally and emotionally. It’s part of my unique wiring that I need consistent creative inlets and outlets (learning and making). When I am consistent in blocking off creative time, I find that I’m happier, am more productive in other areas of my life, and feel fulfilled. I really do get more done.
Maybe fitness is your creative jam. Maybe it’s a craft. Maybe it’s making spreadsheets for fun. I don’t know! Find what makes your soul sing and make sure you are making time for that.
So there you have it. What I do to get more done–six of them, in fact! Did one of these resonate with you? Do you have another to add? Comment below!