How to Get More Work Done in Less Time in 2021
Welcome to this blog on how to get more work done in less time!
It’s 10:59 p.m., and you’re only halfway done with your to-do lists. Glancing at your notepad, you eagerly cross out the 5th thing listed on that page. The feeling of accomplishment shoots up in your head, only to disappear when you take a look at the rest of the page. 10 lines are taken up with scribbled words of what you wanted to complete. And all the words in the bottom half are easily visible, as if it is mocking you and getting inside your head.
Putting that smile away after noticing the remaining list, you sigh and run your hands over your hair. I have so much work to do, you mentally say to yourself. How will I complete this in just a short amount of time?
Fear not! This blog will ensure that you don’t go through that situation again. Regardless of whether you are in school, college, or have a job, many of us go through that exact dilemma. Speaking on behalf of myself, I was never happy with the end product. If you’re like me, you’re especially disappointed when you had mentally set times and goals for when to complete the different tasks that needed to be completed.
It is always an accomplishment when you look down at a list, and every single word listed is crossed off. As for me, I take my pen and draw a bold line through each task as if the pen was feeling as joyful as me. It is one level of happiness to complete a bunch of tasks, but it is another feeling of satisfaction to complete that same number of tasks in less time. This blog is all about how to get more work done in less time so that you can enjoy life without the stress of school, assignments, or work.
Life is not meant for people to sit on a desk for hours and hours and go through a cycle of receiving tasks, working on them, completing them, and repeating those same three things. It is meant for people like you (yes, you!) to enjoy each and every moment spent with friends, family, and even yourself. By completing more work in less time, you can take time for yourself to do what you want and enjoy life the way it is meant to be enjoyed. This blog will give you the perfect chance to do so, so read on!
1. Understand the job
When you take on a significant task, talk with any key stakeholders about what they expect from you. Perhaps they need a PowerPoint deck, or perhaps they don’t. Perhaps they need an A+ job or maybe a B+ will be fine. And, perhaps they need a comprehensive plan or maybe just an initial sketch will work.
One of my time coaching clients who works in the finance industry saved days of work when he got clear on the fact that in some instances, all that was needed was enough information to come to a go or no-go decision. Not all situations regarded a thorough in-depth analysis.
By clarifying what’s actually needed and to what level, you can save hours of time deciding what to do and getting tasks done.hbr.org
2. Do less work
Most people think that with more work, you have to dedicate more time, take more time, and do more work to complete the jobs and tasks given. However, with more effort and a longer work period, many of us can get burned out. We become so stressed and tired from working, that it is actually preventing us from completing our tasks.
You need to focus on a new metric – work done per hour. You also need a smart way of working that lets you put this into a system and then maximize your work done per hour. The foundation of doing this is to remove a major piece of the problem: multi-tasking. Multi-tasking splits your attention.
Our brains are not made for multi-tasking. As a demo, ask someone to walk fast in a straight line and count backwards from 200 in 7’s (so 200, 193, 186, 179, 172 etc). You will see that their walking will slow down as they work out the numbers in the sequence. Here, the multi-tasking is causing a physical slowdown that you can visually see. The mind just wasn’t built to process multiple tasks at once.”forbes.com
3. Start the day with a full tank
Do you ever wonder why you get more done on Mondays than Fridays? It’s because your tank is full, and you’re able to work at an improved energy level.
The most important piece of the productivity puzzle is how you enter the ring? If you are already tired, your body will be of no better use to you when you need it most.
It’s totally normal to have off days and to feel burned out after Wednesdays.
But if you get enough rest, you will start each day fully prepared to face your list of tasks and even the dreaded frogs.
It pays to take time away from work every day by fully unplugging in the evenings, and get a solid 8 or 9 hours of sleep.
It can be difficult if you rarely spend your weekends without your phone and laptop. The good news is, if you can commit to it, you’ll come back with more energy for your work every time.medium.com
4. Practice a routine
Another way to make it easier for you to get more work done in less time is by creating a routine. Your routine can be however you like and consist of whatever you want to do. By creating a routine, you are essentially telling your mind and body that it is time to work after you have done specific things and actions. Maybe you can exercise before getting prepared to work, eat a small snack or meal, or listen to music and wear headphones. Whatever works for you so that you can become focused and ready to work!
5. Batch your tasks
“Batching tasks based by their type or energy level can be a very effective way to get things done in less time. This is commonly referred to as “theming”.Theming helps to craft a group of to-dos together based on either the type of activity (e.g. filming, emailing, writing) or by the energy level you have (low, medium or high energy). It’s really simple. Naturally our routine changes and adapts across the week, but theming your days or even your week’s can save you valuable time and push projects forward by progressing rapidly.” (medium.goodnotes.com)
“In fact, RescueTime has found that the average knowledge worker checks their email 55 times per day and their instant messaging apps about 77 times per day. This severely disrupts our focus and workflow. Instead, we should apply the batch producing principle on these type of tasks to handle them efficiently.” (backlog.com)
6. Take breaks
Taking breaks is an easy and relaxing way to get more work done in less time. While it may seem like you are putting off work by taking a break from working, it actually makes you more productive when you come back to work. Anybody, including me, would get burned out if you had to work continuously without breaks. It would hurt you not only mentally, but physically. Try the Pomodoro Timer which is known to increase your productivity by having a set time limit to work and a set break time in between!
Here’s an example from Forbes:
“If we lift weights without breaks, we will damage our muscles and be in lots of pain too. But if we never use our muscles, they will get weaker.
The solution is to work out and cause a little stress to our muscles. Then we need a period of rest where the body recuperates and makes itself stronger.”
7. Create a schedule
You’ll become a lot more effective if you start scheduling your days and weeks. I clearly notice how my most unproductive days are the ones that I didn’t plan ahead for or didn’t plan well enough. When you don’t schedule your days and weeks, you just wander around. You kind of know what to do, so you kind of have a work ethic.
Create a solid plan for every day and week, so you can simply follow and execute each plan without hesitation. This will help you save valuable decision-making energy (which is proven to be a limited resource) during the day and work with more determination and focus.
Furthermore, unscheduled time makes us more prone to procrastination. Our brain doesn’t like ambiguity — and not scheduling your days creates a lot of ambiguity. The more attractive alternative when faced with uncertainty is to waste time on YouTube or Instagram, not finish a tedious task you’ve been putting off.backlog.com
8. Strive for simplicity
One of the best ways to boost your focus and productivity is to seek more simplicity and minimalism in your work. Today, we live in a society of more. Do more. Work more. Take on more responsibilities. Start more projects. Build more side-hustles.
But more isn’t always better…
Rather than engaging in constant multitasking, seek simplicity in your work by getting crystal-clear on what tasks, projects, and goals truly matter. What tasks or projects significantly move the needle? Focus on those things as much as possible and eliminate or delegate the rest.
This way, you can direct your resources to the things that matter most — and that will lead to much more meaningful results.backlog.com
9. Reduce distractions
It’s obvious that distractions take away from our focus when working on important tasks and jobs. We look at our phones for one second and spend the next 5-30 minutes scrolling down on social media. We get a text from one friend and we end FaceTiming for 30 minutes. I don’t know about you, but these are definitely true for me haha.
That’s why if you want to complete more work in less time, you have to reduce all the distractions in your surrounding so you don’t end up randomly talking to a friend or posting something on social media. Turn off your phone, clean your room, and do whatever it takes for you to be completely focused on your work! So, once you actually finish your work, then you can spend your deserved time talking to a friend on posting something on Instagram!
10. Make templates and checklists
To speed up your process on routine items, come up with a template or checklist or find ones you can use. For example, I have a template email that I fill in every year to send to my accountant with my year-end tax information. And on a monthly basis, I go through a monthly finances checklist.
You might want templates for activities like putting together weekly reports, presentations, or meeting agendas. Also, you may find checklists valuable for weekly planning, one-on-one meetings, or other repeated activities. Both templates and checklists allow you to do a good job in less time because you don’t need to spend any time remembering what to do or deciding on the next step.hbr.org
Getting work done itself is already hard, at least for me. But hopefully, these tips will not only help you complete your work, but in a shorter period of time! We all know that time is precious, and it is a non-renewable resource. Many of us don’t realize the value of time and how much work we can get done in that time. So, next time you receive a whole bunch of work from your school, college, or work, try taking these steps:
- Understand the job
- Do less work
- Start the day with a full tank
- Practice a routine
- Batch your tasks
- Take breaks
- Create a schedule
- Strive for simplicity
- Reduce distractions
- Make templates and checklists
For more help, be sure to check out this video on how to get MORE work done in LESS time. I also highly recommend this amazing book: Work Smart Now: How to Get More Work Done in Less Time.
As said in the introduction, don’t waste your time in life in the cycle of receiving, working, and completing tasks. With these tips, you can take more time for yourself to enjoy the special moments in life. Go for a walk, spend time with your family, go for an adventure, and more! Work is important, but so is taking time for yourself. Don’t mix up work life with personal life!
So, before you go do something you enjoy, finish a small task that you had procrastinated on yesterday! Hopefully, it won’t take you long. Good luck!
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Disclaimer: We are not experts or certified financial advisers. Our advice for you based on what has worked and continues to work for us. If financial problems occur we are not responsible for them and advise that you speak to a professional. That being said, we believe wholeheartedly that the advice we give to you will help your financial situation greatly.