catch up

Don’t say that you want to give, but go ahead and give!

You’ll never catch up with a mere hope.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Do you ever feel like your level of productivity is slipping a bit? You thought that you would get four posts done today, but you completed only two. You ask yourself where the time goes and you have noticed that you are starting to feel a little disappointed in yourself and how you perform at work or at home. So, today, lets look at some simple ways you can increase your efficiency and get more out of your life.

1. Hit the ground running. Be ready to go to work as soon as you arrive, whether you are headed to work or home. Using the example of work, imagine yourself driving or riding to the office. Think about what it will be like when you get there.

Do you have three huge mounds of paperwork to get done? Think about what you will do first. Maybe you can complete that project you started working on last Friday with just a couple more hours of work.

Place your mind ahead of your body’s arrival so you can get started well.

2. Learn to anticipate. When you ponder what will be happening when you arrive, you will be much more prepared to meet whatever challenge is occurring, head-on. For instance, you might think, “I know the kids will be hungry for a snack. I’ll get out that fruit salad from yesterday and give them glasses of juice right away so I can get to the laundry and work on dinner.” Anticipate the things that might happen.

3. Track your tasks. Develop your own method of keeping track of tasks that works well for you. Whether it’s speaking your list into your smart-phone, jotting down things in your calendar, or carrying a spiral notebook, having a running list that you can refer to or listen to will help you get more things done.

Having some way to check-off items is helpful so you can tell at a glance which tasks have been completed and which ones still remain.

Try out a couple of methods until you find the list that’s easiest for you to use. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. The one that helps you get the most done is the one you should stick with.

I often have several things going on at the same time, and lately I have been using workflowy. It is a free service, and one of the great things is that it sends you an email update of what you have changed within the previous 24 hours. I am not an affiliate, so there is no kick-back involved here. It is found at

4. Learn to say “No” more often. Politely tell others you don’t “have a minute.” If you are at work and people stop by your office to chat you up, feel free to say something like, “I’m sorry. I can’t talk right now but I’d love to have lunch today and hear more about this.” When you don’t allow yourself to be interrupted, you can get a lot more done. Plus, others learn to avoid interrupting your work time and your work flow.

5. Keep meetings brief. If you find yourself in a position to have control over meetings at work, make it a personal goal to meet for 30 minutes max. If you go into a meeting with a written agenda, you will be ready to cover your points quickly. Also finish the meeting with specific assignments and due-dates. This last process will help you pick up where you have left off and hold people accountable.

6. Reach around and pat yourself on the back. Reinforce your efforts to achieve. Praise yourself each day. Maybe you completed a work project that you have been working on for several weeks or cooked a fantastic meal for your friends and family. Recognize the efforts you make to complete tasks.

7. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning. If you need an hour to shower, have breakfast and get your task list written for the day, then get up early enough to have your full hour. When you respect your own needs, you will be better emotionally prepared to get things accomplished.

I also find it most helpful to do my yo-do list review before bed. That way all my stuff is ready when I hit the floor, plus my subconscious mind has been working on some of the thornier issues while I slept peacefully.

Even if you feel like you never get anything accomplished, the great news is that you have got lots of different choices that you can make when it comes to increasing your efficiency. Perhaps while reading this list you were inspired to come up with your own methods to get more done in a day. That’s great! Share them with us in the comment section.

Try them all. The strategies that work for you are the ones worth continuing.

If you put forth some effort to change your approach to the day, you will be pleasantly surprised to see you are magically and mysteriously getting more done each and every day.

Photo Credit: O.K. Photography via Compfight cc