I pride myself on being a pretty efficient and well organised person. A few people have asked me recently how do I have the energy and time to do all the things I want to do. The essence of getting the important things done is to cut the bullshit and just get on with it. Let's break it down, this is how to get shit done.
1. Do the work you love
Motivation = productivity. I've found that when I'm doing work that I truly enjoy, I get so absorbed into it, I forget about everything around me. When I finally lift my head out of it, it's gone dark and I realise I forgot about lunch. But it's fine, I feel content in the knowledge that I've done something fun and enjoyable.
You'll find that your productivity is directly linked to your motivation. Of course, not all the work you do can be fun. But you need to make sure that the majority of the work you do is stuff you really want to be doing, the work that energises you so those good vibes get you through some of the more boring tasks.
2. Break down bigger or less stimulating tasks into smaller chunks
No brainer really. Unless you've got a tight deadline, there's no reason to do a task all at once. Set a time limit, say 45 minutes, then take a break. Go get a snack or maybe go outside and scream “serenity now”. Then either come back to it for another 45 minutes or schedule that time in for another day and work on something else.
3. Use the software that's right for you
At any one time, I am able to recall all the projects I am working on, the deadlines, specs and name and email of every contact. So for me, a fancy pants project management system isn't necessary for me. I find Google Keep useful in getting short notes down fast as I don't need all the bells and whistles. Take the time to have a look at what software is right for you and figure out what features are most important.
4. Less talking, more doing
If you just take one piece of advice from this, please let it be this one. We all know someone who consistently whines about how insanely busy they are. They are the least productive person ever. And an idiot. Don't be like them. Or the person who sighs and says they wish they had the time to do “xyz”. Just shut the fuck up and fucking get on with it. You'll be surpised at how much you get done when you stop talking about doing it.
5. Write down your goals
When you're struggling to get through your work load, re-read your goals and remind yourself what you're working towards. If the work you're doing doesn't help you achieve any of your goals, drop that shit.
6. Know thyself
An understanding of how you work best will help you so much. Are you an early bird or do you find it easier to work in the evening? Do you like having colleagues to bounce ideas off or are you content on your own?
I'm a bit of an introvert and I get extremely fucked off in situations with loud noises that I have no control of. So I tend to get a hell of a lot more stuff done away from other people with a pair of noise cancelling headphones on.
7. Accept that there aren't enough hours in the day
Remember that you're only human and negative feelings of not being able to get enough done will disappear when you accept this. Spend your time wisely, on the things that truly matter. If that means hiring a cleaner to sort out your mess, or outsourcing your tax affairs to an accountant after leaving the tax return to the last minute one too many times, then so be it. Let it go and use that time on more important things. As one day you'll be dead and none of this will matter anymore.