How to Effectively Organize Your Day and Finally Get Stuff Done

 
 If your day is crowded with interruptions or you're not reaching your goals, these simple tips will help you find your focus, shut out the distractions, and effectively organize your day so that you can crush your biz goals. Click through to learn how I'm 10Xing my biz.
 

Does this sound familiar?

Sit down at your desk, coffee in hand, check email, answer urgent requests, remember to watch a quick video before forgetting because you didn't get to watch it last night, toggle back to open your project file, see a text pop up on your phone {maybe it's urgent, maybe it's just your Mom wishing you a good day, whatever the wind blows your way that morning}, grab your phone to respond to it, put it back to get back to your project work, do some creative work, see a Facebook alert, check in on FB, see someone has commented on a comment you left in a group you're a part of, read what others have posted, get back to working on your project, realize you need to use the restroom, take a quick bio break, get back to your desk to get back to work but see 4 more emails just came in for something urgent, switch mental gears to address who's hair is on fire, read through some threads to begin to put the issue together in your brain, answer the person politely, go back to your project work, and your phone begins to ring, answer the phone, look at the clock and see you're two hours into your day and have gotten exactly 15 minutes of productive work done.....and so on and so on.

This was my professional day, every day, and soon I grew tired of looking at my task list and seeing only 20% of it completed by 5:00. I certainly didn't feel like I was slacking off, but what happened to my day?

We're all pulled in 17 different directions every single day. But, have you ever looked at your to-do list at the end of what felt like a super busy day and felt like you got nearly nothing crossed off of it? These 7 simple tricks help me organize my day, help me get sh*t done, and help me 10x my business!

Write Everything Down

When you write everything that you need to accomplish down, your brain tends to remember it better than if you type it into an app or keyboard. Case in point, when I plan out my blog posts, not only do I hand write the topics/titles, I literally hand write an outline. Sometimes an idea will come to me when I have allotted myself some free time and that's when I'll grab my organizer and start writing out my thoughts to come back to and refine later on.

Write Out Your Project Tasks as Your Daily Goals

Writing out your daily/weekly tasks and assigning them days and times lets you better organize yourself to attain that goal you've set for yourself. Laying all the tasks out on paper with a timeline lets the tasks build upon themselves, getting you closer to your end product. Without fully acknowledging all the tasks you'll need to complete has the potential to lead you to that last minute scramble.

But what if I don't know all the steps? That's ok too. Nobody knows everything at all times. But putting what you do know that you need to get done down on paper at least maps out the necessary steps you'll need to take. 

Block Out Your Time

Devoting blocks of time each day to your planned out tasks helps you get them done faster than you think. For example, my current project has a task list of about 8-10 tasks. By blocking out time between yesterday morning and this afternoon, I was able to knock off 2 large tasks that otherwise would have taken me a week to get done.

Eliminate Distractions

Minimizing and/or eliminating the many distractions in our everyday life leads to much higher productivity. That's not anything new, but with the amount of sensory sucking distractions in our daily lives, it's sometimes not surprising why we feel drained at the end of the day, yet when we look at our task list, many things remain undone.

Try eliminating your distractions. By this, I mean, I literally shut off any and all distractions like my email, my iPhone, my office phone and concentrate solely on the task at hand. By not switching between tasks & allowing for distractions, my brain remains focused and I'm able to push ahead and complete the project task.

Throw Multi-Tasking to the Curb

Give up on the notion that we are made to multi-task effectively. Multi-tasking does not actually exist, rather it's a speed at which our brain can switch from one function to another and back. So not actually accepting that you can multi-task allows your brain to concentrate 100% on the project at hand and the quality of your work sky rockets.

A recent study showed that for every task you're trying to complete, the brain requires 20% of your time available to re-adjust between tasks. Think of it this way, if you are knee deep in one task, it gets 100% of your time and energy. If you have two tasks going on, each task now gets only 40% of the total time available because your brain uses 20% of the total time to adjust between tasks.

(100% time available - 20% adjustment time = 80% total time/2 tasks = 40% time available for each task)

Now try cranking up the number of tasks you're trying to complete in one 8 hour work day....you'll find yourself only putting in less than 30 minutes of true, solid work because of multi-tasking and distractions. I don't know about you, but for an entrepreneur, that's frightening!

Schedule Tasks by Importance Into Appropriate Times

This goes without saying, but it's also another important element to getting sh*t done, for real. For me personally, I am not a morning person. But I do find that I have a fresh brain when I first sit down to my desk. If I know I'm going to do some research for upcoming posts, I start out doing that work first thing in the morning instead of checking my email. Email is always there and if it's an emergency, whoever needs to reach me will most likely call....and I will pick up :)

Let's look at the old way I was doing things and not getting stuff done: Get to my desk, check my email, start to give input on other projects, put out some fires, catch up with team members, go grab some more coffee, check status on items I'm waiting for in other project flows....oh, and now I have a meeting coming up with a client in 30 minutes and I haven't even freshened up the report I owe them, curse myself under my breath, start pulling reports and updates to meet the deadline, realize I never started my first assigned task of the day, curse myself under my breath again....etc, etc, etc.

Here's the new, more organized way of getting sh*t done: Get to my desk, open my planner, start working on my scheduled project task, work on it for an uninterrupted amount of time (60-90 minutes), check my email, respond where I need to, filter non-immediate project emails into project files to reply back to when time for that project comes along, grab some coffee, check in with team members where I need to, move onto my next project task, etc.

By making time the day or a few days before for project tasks, I know I've already "scheduled" myself to give the task the attention it deserves. Of course, putting up a Do Not Disturb sign up helps as well :)

Remain Flexible & Positive

Sharing your goals with team members or loved ones gives accountability. But sometimes we run off the rails for several reasons. Remaining flexible and communicating openly with whomever you're accountable to helps you continue on down that road of perseverance. This can only happen if, while you're being flexible to those roadblocks you will encounter, you also remain positive. Look back and see how far you've come and how much you've accomplished. It'll keep you on track to continue on and getting stuff done!


Now it's your turn:

  • How do you effectively organize your day and finally get stuff done?
  • What was your "aha" moment?
  • What small changes have you made that have impacted your daily organization?
  • What are you doing to crush your goals??