How To Get More Done Every Day: Secrets To Turning Your To-Do List Into A Done List
Do you ever wonder how to get more done on the tasks you have to daily? It may seem like everyone has their entire life together, they are crushing their to-do lists, and you are stuck with a million tasks on your plate. Today's post is going to break down twelve tips to help you get more done so you can feel accomplished on a daily basis. We all want to do more with less time, right?
Note: This post contains affiliate links.
1. Create A To-Do List
The first step to get more done is to create a to-do list, so you know exactly what you need to do each day to succeed. I have everything on Asana and in my Erin Condren planner, but I love to create a separate daily to-do list on a sheet of paper so I can check things off as I go.
Creating a to-do list is also great because it helps you better tackle things that will be due in the future. Looking at your planner, it can be hard to decide what future tasks you will try to accomplish without flipping through several pages throughout the day. Creating one good to-do list each day will help you have everything you need to achieve in one place.
2. Pump Up The Jams
James with no lyrics of course.
I shared a bunch of songs that get me excited to work a few weeks ago, but I can't use those when I am working on tasks. I can focus with some lyrical music, but the lyrics have to feel more like background noise. For example, I can concentrate with some words in songs if it's meant to be more psychedelic or EDM.
Brain.FM Helps Me Get More Done
When I need some awesome lyric-free music, I usually use the website Brain.FM. It has a ton of lyrics-free stations that get my brain excited to work.
A caveat about Brain.FM though, it can be incredibly stimulating to your brain when you are first using it or if you haven't used it in a while. For some, this will be a bit too much stimulation, so you may want to take it slow when you are just getting started. Every blue moon this app makes my head hurt a smidge, but I am always super productive when I use the app, so I get over it.
Also, Brain.FM is not a free site. It costs $6.99 per month, $15.99 per quarter, or $49.99 per year to use the stations, BUT they are always updating the app. I've only been using it for a few months, and every month I get a newsletter featuring all the new updates to the site.
Other Jamming Productivity Tips
When I am not using Brain.FM, sometimes I use the Spotify playlist Focus Flow to get work done, but it has some songs with lyrics that can be distracting if I'm having a particularly hard day focusing.
When you are using music to focus, I encourage you to use a good pair of headphones with your music. I love these headphones from Amazon; they are reasonably priced and cute too. I was recommended them by another freelance writer a few months ago, and they are one of my favorite Amazon purchases of the year!
Are you struggling to get more done? Working can be challenging, but check out these 12 tips from The Happy Arkansan so you can conquer your to-do list. Click To Tweet
3. Use The Pomodoro Technique
I have talked about why I love the Pomodoro technique so much on the blog before, and this is still a method I use when I need to get a lot of stuff done. My favorite part about the Pomodoro technique is that it builds in breaks because I often need a ton of breaks throughout the day or I go slightly insane from working too long.
I am not going to go into too much detail about this, because I've talked about it before, but know it can make you way more productive so you can get more done each day. Even though it can seem like regular breaks will make you less productive, a lot of people still find value in this technique.
4. Work At A Desk
Last year I invested a bit of money and got a cheap desk from Walmart. It was a proud moment, and also a needed moment. Having a space to work from is so important if you want to get more done on a daily basis. Working from your couch or your bed can work. Often it just makes work or school permeate other parts of your life and messes with your sleeping schedule.
Getting a desk is not as expensive as it might seem. I got my desk from Walmart for under $50. Now, if you want to get something that's not basic AF, you will probably have to pay a pretty penny. For a basic work area, though, you can spend less.
I am most productive when I am sitting upright at my desk working on my laptop. I've tried the work from anywhere in my home lifestyle. I find that usually, I am most productive at a desk. Do what works for you, but I would try working from a desk for a while at some point before you decide that the couch or bed life is where you are most productive.
5. Put Your Phone Across The Room, And On Do Not Disturb
Your phone is honestly a source of CONSTANT distraction. Phones make communication so much faster and efficient, but they are also distracting AF. So, when you are in work mode, it's time to turn your phone on do not disturb. You may also want to put it across the room, so it's harder to justify getting up to check it. It honestly doesn't even have to be that far from you. Put it out of reach of where you are working so that it makes more sense to keep working versus checking your phone.
My phone is basically always on Do Not Disturb as well. Do Not Disturb is a more abrasive version of putting your phone on silent. You won't see calls at all unless someone calls you back to back. I had to turn the back to back feature off, though, because my family loves to call back to back for things that aren't emergencies. For you, though, having this feature on may help you get essential calls. Do not disturb sends all calls straight to voicemail, so they don't bother you, and it stops pesky social media and text notifications from worrying you as well.
Overall, you should be aware of what a distraction phones genuinely are to your daily work life. Be cognizant of how much time you spend on your phone aimlessly. Is this giving you joy or adding to your life? Probably not, so stop scrolling mindlessly, and get back to work.
6. Batch Your Tasks As Much As Possible
Batching is the process of doing like tasks in a row.
For example, you may spend one day writing content, the next editing videos, the following day scheduling social media, etc. if you are a blogger. Instead of writing content, editing videos, and scheduling social media all in one day, you are giving yourself time to get focused on one task at a time.
Why is this so good for your brain? You can actually get into the task you are doing. Our minds are not meant to hop between tasks all day. This incessant task hopping can take you out of the zone and make your brain work overtime to keep up with your random spurts of energy.
Batching will change the way you work, help you get more done, and make you become a much more efficient person. You don't even need to batch tasks every day of the week to see the benefits of what a little task batching can do for your life.Want to be a part of the completed to-do list club? Check out this post from The Happy Arkansan with 12 stellar tips to help you get more done! Click To Tweet
7. Gather Up Everything You Need Before You Get To Work
One of the worst things is sitting down, finally getting into work mode, only to realize that an item you need is conveniently located across the room from where you are currently sitting. This gets you out of the state that you worked so hard to get yourself into, and it's a complete Debbie Downer.
Instead, before you sit down, you should make sure that everything you need for the next few hours of work you plan to do is within reaching distance of your desk. It may not be on your desk, but it can be at your feet or under your desk. As long as you can reach it quickly, make sure you have it nearby.
No one has time to get up to get something that should have been nearby in the first place!
8. Don't Be Afraid To Hire Out
Okay, so, we can't all hire out the big tasks like our school work or our job, but there are SO many ways to hire out responsibilities these days that didn't exist even a few years ago. With apps like Postmates, TaskRabbit, Instacart, Amazon, and more you can get people to bring you stuff, do your grocery shopping, put together furniture, etc.
If you can hire out some tasks that take up your day and leave you drained, you can use that energy to focus on the tasks that matter most to your day to day life. We can all get some helping hands now; it's not just for the financially rich.
So, next time something is weighing on your mind and keeping you from concentrating, use an app to hire it out.
9. Do A Brain Dump
Sometimes it's hard to get more done because our brain is going a million miles a minute focusing on something that we shouldn't even care about. Instead of letting your mind wander, get everything out of your brain with a brain dump.
Brain dumps are simple: take out a sheet of paper, and write down everything that's on your mind. After you finish your brain dump, sort things out and figure out ways to tackle the items on your list. Maybe you need to add something to your planner, or you need to follow-up with a client. Make sure you create a resolution for the things that are bothering you and taking up space in your brain.
10. Use A Site Blocker
Sometimes, it's hard to concentrate because there are so many other cool things to do on the internet. I promise that those things will be there when you get done with your work. Using a site blocker will help you because you won't be able to see what your friends on social media are doing.
I love using the site blocker Freedom. One of my favorite settings they have is the “Disable Quit During Sessions” setting. With this setting ticked, you have to have sites blocked during the sessions. It's a great setting to have ticked in case you like to cut your productivity short “just to check” what your friends are doing on social media.
Another reason I love Freedom is that it's not tied to a browser. When you start a Freedom session, you start a session for all the browsers on your computer. Even if you have multiple browsers on your computer, you can't go to another browser and expect to get on social media. I have Safari and Google Chrome, and when I am using Freedom, it blocks sites across both browsers.Are you using a site blocker? Blocking sites can help you focus and stop checking what your friends are doing on social media every five seconds! Click To Tweet
11. Break Tasks Into Manageable Chunks
It's hard to get more done because looking at your to-do list can feel like a prison of you made. Instead of looking at the big picture, break things down into manageable tasks that you can work on each day.
For the past few weeks, I have been working on writing 20,000 words for a client. This was a big undertaking for me. The 20,000 words I have to write is twice the word count of my Master's thesis, and I have to write these words in a month. For reference, it took me months to write my Master's thesis.
It's so easy to look at a big project and whimper in fear. Instead, I leaped into action and figured out a steady pace I could write to get this project done. I knew the speed I needed to go in, and then I acted upon that.
12. Don't Beat Yourself Up If You Don't Finish Your To-Do List
One of the best ways to get more done is to stop feeling shame when you have some things left on your to-do list. There are going to be super productive days, days when you need to rest, and days when you underestimated your ability to get stuff completed.
When you don't finish a to-do list, don't beat yourself up! Learn from the experience, then move on. Your energy is better spent moving on to the next to-do list versus hating yourself because you couldn't complete your past to-do list.
Here's how to move on:
- Evaluate why you had a hard time with the old to-do list.
- Copy some of those urgent tasks over.
- Move on to completing your next to-do list.
Conclusion: You're Gonna Get More Done
We have spent a while talking about how to get more done. I know you will take what we talked about to make a difference in the to-do lists you will create. Conquering a to-do list is one of the best feelings in the world. With this list of tips, you can make that a reality for yourself way more often.
Pomodoros + music are also the secret sauce to my productivity 🙂 Great list! You’re also seriously spot on about Brain.fm, intense but worth it.