Thousands of planners, hundreds of systems and all the motivation you could want, and some days I still feel like I can’t get anything done. I get overwhelmed and I just need some simple ways to get more done. I can look at all the things I have to do and all the stuff I want to do and wonder where to even start! By the time I figure out something I could do, the time I had available to do it is already gone.
So here are 5 simple ways to get more done:
1. Do one thing at a time.
Yeah, this seems obvious but when you’re a busy mom, it can actually be quite hard to do.
I multitask often, and I do it well. But when I get overwhelmed, sometimes slowing it down, and doing just one thing at a time will help me actually get more done than if I tried to juggle all my tasks at once.
It’s counterintuitive and and seems less productive right? But by focusing on one task at a time, I’m not distracted and the free brain space means it doesn’t take as much time as it might have otherwise.
So when you feel lost just thinking about your giant to-do list, pick just one thing from the list. And do just that one thing.
2. Do the next thing.
Sometimes what stops me from getting anything done is the sheer size of my list of to-dos.
To-do lists work, and everyone should have a list. But sometimes those lists get too big and are no longer as useful. And that can lead to a paralysis of decision-making.
And while you can organize and prioritize all you like, getting lost in planning doesn’t actually do anything.
So stop planning, and do the next thing.
Just pick up the list, cross off one thing, and do the NEXT thing. Combined with trick #1, you might surprise yourself in how much you get done by the end of the day.
3. Time yourself.
If you’re finding it hard to start something, try this trick. Set a timer on your phone, oven, microwave or other device and get your stuff done.
There’s something about a timer and a deadline that helps to bring back your energy. It’s like you’re playing a game! And the competition — even if it is just with the clock — can help you self-motivate and get it done.
4. Put on the music or podcast.
Sometimes you just need to change the atmosphere in your environment. And an upbeat playlist, or interesting podcast, or documentary running in the background can give you more energy to get your stuff done.
This works especially well, at least for me, if the task I need to do is boring. Chores, marking school, organizing or filing or business tasks — they all work well with some background “noise”. I’ll turn on my playlist, or play a YouTube video while I’m working.
It keeps my mind occupied while I’m working with my hands. And that helps me get more done because I don’t get distracted with all the things on my list.
5. Take a break.
So how does taking a break help you get more done? Well.. it doesn’t, not exactly.
The key here is to take a break in between doing your tasks.
Not to take a break before you even got started. Or to take a break after you’ve gotten just one thing done. Breaks only apply between tasks.
The trick is to keep them short, make them very different than what your tasks are, and to truly “take a break.”
When you reward yourself for accomplishing things off your to-do list with a quick break, it creates a reward cycle in your brain. And those help motivate you to get more done! After all.. you now develop a habit — do a task, get a reward. We like getting treats!
Make sure your break truly is a break.
Change your location, put down or put away the screen, and do something enjoyable — or do nothing at all. If you’ve been working on the computer, look out the window instead, or even better, go outside. If you’ve been doing a lot of cleaning, sitting down with your feet up for a few minutes might make a world of difference.
Keep it short, though. Don’t get distracted by the break and forget to go back and do the work. Otherwise, you aren’t getting more done. You’re not getting anything done at all.
Too much to do? Get it done one step at a time.
So the next time your list gets out of control and you don’t know where to start, just pick one thing and get started. Do the next thing. Put on a podcast or playlist, and grab a timer. Then take a break. Just try some of these simple ways to get more done.
And by the end of the day, you’ll have gotten a lot done!
Do one thing at a time – I love that! I find that if I do that I slow down and do it better! Thanks for the reminder!
I love using music and podcasts to motivate and help the time go by faster!