How to Do More in Less Time: 5 Useful Tips

Have you ever wanted more hours in the day because your to-do list is longer than the Nile River? Do you wonder how other people are able to get their things done and even have time to spare in the same 24-hour time frame?

We’re all busy people who are being pulled in many different directions. If you wear the hat of mom, wife, employee and any other one that seems to fit, then you know what it’s like to have too much to do and not enough time to do it in.

But, that doesn’t mean that you have to sink to the bottom of the pool because you can’t keep your head above water. You just need to learn how to float so that you stay on top of the things that need to be done – and be able to breathe in the process.

Here are some tips to help you do more in less time so that you can start to enjoy your life (that is the point, isn’t it?):

1. Prioritize your to-do list

Not everything that you need to do has the same level of importance. For instance, some things should be done within the next 24 hours, but other things can wait a week or two.

The key is to know where each task falls on the time spectrum. One way to figure this out is to prioritize your list according to what you need to do first, second, third and so on.

Take a look at the things you want to accomplish and highlight the three most important ones. These should be items that need your immediate attention. Maybe you have a birthday party tomorrow and you still need to get the gift, or perhaps you have a deadline at work that needs to be met. These are the types of things that you need to tend to today.

Even though there are other items on your lengthy list, concentrate solely on the top three. Make those a priority to do today. If you get them done and have extra time, then you can move on to other tasks on your list, but make them the focal point so that you get the things done that will have immediate negative consequences if you don’t.

When you are able to let the other things on your list go for now, it takes their weight off your shoulders and gives you a little extra energy to do what needs to be done. You don’t feel quite so overwhelmed and it is easier to start to whittle down the list.

2. Limit social media time

woman texting on her phone

If you check your Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest accounts every couple of hours (or minutes, as the case may be), then you are losing a lot of time in a day that you could use elsewhere.

Social media is great to keep up with friends, family and the world, but it isn’t so good when you’re trying to get things done.

Set guidelines when it comes to your social media accounts and you’ll find more time appear in your schedule to get the things done that are actually beneficial to your life. Maybe you’ll decide to limit checking it to once in the morning and once at night.

Don’t keep it up as a tab on your computer or you’ll be tempted to look at it every time you get a notification.

3. Don’t multitask

Although it may seem like you’re more productive if you do three things at once, you’re not. Each task is not getting your full attention so not only does it take you longer to do it, but you’re also likely not doing as good a job if it had your entire focus.

When you commit to doing something, concentrate solely on that one thing. You’ll find that you think more clearly, do a better job and complete it more quickly than if you do something else at the same time.

Plus, you’ll be less likely to make small but critical errors and more able to catch something that isn’t right or won’t work.

4. Set a goal

impossible sign

Nothing can propel you forward more than having a goal to reach. It’s setting a clear destination that drives all of your daily activities so that you stay on track and don’t get sidelined.

Take time every morning and set a goal that outlines one thing that you want to improve upon for the day. For example, if you normally talk on the phone for an hour or two and that really sucks time away from what you want to get done, set a goal to cut off phone contact after half an hour. That way you can get to the items that you’ve prioritized earlier in the day.

Also, keeping that goal in mind will create a sort of pressure (in a good way) to make it happen. Besides, it feels good when you achieve it so it promotes continuing to set goals day after day. Before you know it, you’ve made a lot of wonderful changes that feel phenomenal – one goal at a time.

5. Limit your distractions

It’s hard to get anything done when you’re constantly surrounded by distractions. Whether it is the people around you or your surroundings in general, every time you break your concentration, it takes 10-20 minutes to get it back again. Talk about time being wasted.

While you can’t always remove yourself from your environment, there are things you can do to limit the distractions. For example, if you have an office, you could close the door to keep the noise (and your coworkers) out when working on a project.

Or, if you’re working on something at home that requires your attention, maybe you could put in a movie for the kids to watch to keep them occupied while you get your project done.

Some people find it easier to work with some noise. If you’re one of them, you could turn on the TV or radio to drown out all of the other distractions around you. Or, you could download one of those apps that allows you to play soothing, focus-based sounds like rain or thunderstorms. The options are endless.

You don’t need more hours in the day; you just need to know how to use the ones you have. Follow these five simple guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to crossing more items off your to-do list than you thought possible…and be left with time to spare.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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