how to get it done in less time

Get it DONE in Less Time: the Master List

It’s a new year, you’ve made your resolutions, now it’s time to get to work on one of your new projects. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just get it done in less time? You can! It’s all a matter of getting organized. Learn the Master List Technique and get more done in less time starting today!

Read on to find out how to:

  • Make detailed LISTS
  • STOP doing the “FLUFF”
  • STOP at a designated time and Get it Done!

Get Organized

Our blog post 10 Easy Hacks to Make You A Productivity Master includes some great productivity tips, but here is a specific technique that we think will help you PLAN to get organized… and yes, it does take a plan!

  1. At the end of each day, pull out a sheet of paper (Sheet #1).
  2. Write all the things that you need to do tomorrow on that piece of paper.
  3. Pull out another sheet of paper (Sheet #2).
  4. Add 3 columns to Sheet #2:
    1. Things I NEED to complete today
    2. Things I WANT to get done today
    3. Things I would LIKE to do today
  5. Add each of your items from your first sheet to your second, in the correct columns. Leave 4-5 lines of space between each task. Be critical about what you add to Column A. Remember that you have a finite amount of time each day and you need to use it properly!

You are done! You have a PLAN for tomorrow! Do this EVERY evening and you will be at least 10% more productive!

If you want another great way to organize your day, check out Brendon Burchard’s One-Page Productivity Planner Tool.

Make Detailed Lists

What you just did was put together a schedule for tomorrow. This next step goes a bit deeper. Now, we are going to take your Sheet #2, and break it down into manageable tasks to help accomplish your goals.

  1. Underneath first item in Column A (Things I NEED to complete today), create two lists called:
    • Supporting Tasks
    • Supporting People
  2. Under Supporting Tasks, write down all the TASKS that you need to do to for this first item on your list. For example, if you need to write an article for work, your first task might be to “Research productivity articles”, your second task might be to “Gather list of top productivity leaders in the world”, etc.
  3. Under Supporting People, write down the PEOPLE that you are going to contact to help you accomplish this task. For instance, you might have to call or email your employer to get more details for the task.
  4. When you finish the task, work on adding the supporting tasks and supporting people to your second task in Column A.
  5. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Now you have broken down each item into manageable tasks.

Stop Doing the “Fluff”

We’re all guilty! How many times do you research something and an email notification pops up on your laptop that says “He Gave Her The Ring and You Won’t Believe Her Response!” You can’t help it – you HAVE to click on it! You’ve just been distracted by “fluff” my friend!

Here are a few things you can do to prevent distractions.

  • Turn off desktop notifications on your computer. This is usually in “Settings” on your computer.
  • Make your place of work the perfect setting FOR YOU. If this means that your desk is clean and you have a comfortable chair, great! Maybe you are in a beanbag in the corner by a cozy fire getting ready to bang out the best novel ever!
  • Take steps to become less distracted.
  • Take advantage of distraction-busting apps, such as StayFocusd
  • Maintain a DISTRACTIONS List. When you come across a website that you want to spend time on (that has NOTHING to do with your work), copy the link and add it to your Distractions List. Then, at lunchtime or after work, look at your Distractions List and enjoy a few minutes of non-work fun.

STOP at a Designated Time and Get it Done!

If you get into a habit of working overtime every day or into the evening to keep up, you are going to fall into a bad habit of allowing it to continue. Starting today, shut down your computer by 5:30 p.m. (or whatever time your shift normally ends). Do not check work emails, voice mails or work on projects until the next morning. This will help force you to be more productive during work hours as well. You have a limited amount of time to actually produce work. Make it count.

Think you already have a handle on your productivity? Take the quiz and find out if you’re right!

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