Let’s start with the most basic: Write down your goals every day using one-hour blocks of time. I use my iPhone calendar but you can use a simple notebook, a software program, or anything else you want. Typically phones work best as they now come with ping reminders to help you finish tasks. Some say doing this the night before is best. Here are the others:
- Plan the week in advance. For example I speak on every other Wednesday. On Thursdays we have company meetings. On Friday and Saturday nights I work my other job, and on mornings I try to write a little each day. On weekends I edit my book…etc
2) Try to plan for even fun evenings or dinners in advance. Planning saves time and makes life more pleasurable even for leisure.
3) Use deadlines. This will force you to finish tasks, and will help you get things done before you start any new projects.
4) Use Google calendar. This can sync with most smart phones and reminds you when things are due. It’s a great way to sync phone tasks with your desktop or laptop computer.
5) Use lists and organize tasks with priorities. Remember to get the most important tasks done first and then tackle the medium to low-level priority tasks.
6) Learn to say no. I refuse to answer any calls on my phone I do not recognize. I refuse to answer Facebook messages that ask me for money, donations, or my own involvement in events from people I do not know and from people that have done nothing for me in the past. It goes back to my talk about reciprocity. People I know and high value people in my life are of course, completely different.
7) Finish tasks early. Never procrastinate and leave the important things for later. As you do this more often, your tolerance for other people wasting your time will decrease as well.
8) Restrict the amount of time to complete a task. Parkinson’s law states “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. Give yourself all the time you need to complete important tasks, not all the time you want.
9) Listen to music and crowd out noise. I find that listening to classical music in the background helps me relax but also gets my mind focused on finishing one task. This is how I was able to write 600 pages in 18 months. I did it using timed blocks each morning and evening, using the Lord of the Rings soundtrack from Howard Shore to help my imagination sparkle.
10) Tell people about your goals and deadlines. I told many people about my book I was writing with Brian Tracy in 2014. It is now completed and available on Amazon. Now I am telling people about my next book, and that it will be available by March 31, 2016. This will force us to finish what we start because the result will be embarrassing if we don’t.
11) Do only one thing at a time. Multitasking is something cell phone manufacturers created and doesn’t work for difficult, meaningful projects that make a difference in your life.
12) Remove time wasters. If you waste too much time on Facebook take away the Facebook window while you ware working or shut off the internet. If you love checking your phone for text messages or browsing Instagram turn it off during important tasks.
13) Be an exceptionality expert and not a perfectionist. Perfectionists never get anything done while someone aiming to simply do exceptional work finishes tasks and moves on to the next thing.
- 14) Prioritize and use the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of our income and quality of life usually comes from about 20% of the good work we put in. Find this talent and work more on that.
15) Delegate any task that others can do better than you. Nothing will help you fail faster than trying to do everything yourself.
16) Time things so that you can get things done quicker geographically. For example if you are visiting the post office why not buy a few stamps you may need later? If you get one thing from the market why not get everything you need for the next 3 days?
17) Get everyone ready before you arrive. What I like to do is set up meetings before I arrive so that the printouts are ready, the papers are printed, the computers are set up, etc. When I am going to a restaurant I call AHEAD AND MAKE SURE THE ORDER IS READY BEFORE I GET THERE. Little things like this make a big difference.
18) Reduce meetings. Many meetings are time wasters. To make meetings meaningful, make sure the agenda is prepared in advance and everyone does their homework. Nothing kills time faster than being in a room full of opinionated people without getting anything accomplished.
19) Use automation. I use Gmail to block many unwanted spam mail and I use a program called TrapCall to help me filter phone calls and also text me voice messages. It’s probably saved me dozens of hours because I never listen to voicemail.
20) Sleep early and wake up early. Those hours in the morning are best for getting things done, and if you can work out or do something else productive before 8 am, you are already ahead of 95% of the population