- Making a to-do list
- Taking breaks
- Bribing yourself with manicures and ice cream
But sometimes the secret to being more efficient is knowing what NOT to do. I’ve compiled a few productivity to-don’ts that will help you get more done.
Don’t Do Everything Yourself: Ask for help if you need it. You’ll find that delegating and sharing responsibilities will ease your mind. What if you’re a control freak and feel like you have to do it yourself if it’s going to get done right? This is tricky but sometimes you just have to force yourself to step back and be more “hands off.” Do it in the name of productivity!
Don’t Fill Every Spare Moment With a Task: Once you become more efficient with your time you will notice that you have some free moments. Do not fill those free moments with more things to do. Use this new found time for yourself. Relax, take deep breaths and you might find that this is when you can let your mind go and actually be more creative.
Don’t Mult-task: I use the word multi-task all the time – but it doesn’t really exist. Anyone can try to do two things at once. I do it all the time – but I’m not successful at it and chances are you won’t be either! To be truly focused on a task you need to only worry about that one activity. At work I have trained myself to ignore new requests while I’m working on a project. I will say (out loud or in my head) “I’m going to write this heart surgery script.” Intention set. Time to get to work!
Don’t Try To Remember Everything: We get distracted very easily. So don’t strain your brain trying to commit your grocery list to memory. Write it down, dictate it to your voicemail box or use an app. Once it’s out of your head and down on paper (or smartphone) you can use that extra brain space for something else.
Don’t Do Things You Don’t Want to Do: My friend Danielle just informed me that she’s not going to do anything she doesn’t want to do anymore. It’s OK to say no. It really is! The sooner you start using this word and weeding out tasks that you don’t have time or desire to do – the sooner you will become more efficient. You will have more time to complete the activities that really matter.
Don’t Forget to Check Your To-Do List: What is the point in writing down tasks if you don’t refer back to your list? I look at my to-do list all day at work and cross off items as I complete them and add new ones. But at home I look less often. A good idea might be to set a designated time to check out your to-do lists. That way you make it part of your day and you’ll be more likely to get more done.