A Simple Guide to Getting Things Done

Note: Today’s guest post is by Ciara Conlon

Let’s assume you have scheduled your work for the day, just like you did yesterday and the previous day.

The difference is today you are going to get that work done. Do you believe it? You should because this is the way it should and can be.

Ask yourself the question: “How will I feel this evening if I were to actually get what’s on my schedule done?” This doesn’t include the never-ending to do list.

You can’t fill your calendar with work and expect to complete it along with a to do list as long as your arm. For work to get done it must get scheduled.

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Set Realistic Goals

So if you are going to start by being realist, what work needs to get done today? What work would you really like to get done today? Break your goals down into manageable actions, decide what you can fit in and stick to it. Once you have defined what you want to achieve the next step is to be clever about how you are going to achieve it.

Time vs. Energy

One of the reasons a lot of us don’t get as much done as we would like to is that often we are doing particular tasks at the wrong time of the day. There are times of the day when your focus and motivation peak and these are the times you should reserve for your most tasking work. Don’t try to achieve great things just after lunch when your digestion is slowing you down.

Avoid Distractions

We live in the age of distraction, with information coming at us from all angles. So many devices with messages and information we just need to consume, or do we?

If you spend an hour a day reading blogs, maybe commenting, checking Facebook, twitter or other social media, this adds up to 6 working weeks of your year spent unproductively. I’m not saying we should never do these things but if they are not adding value to your work day they should be eliminated.

Bigger Picture

Regularly remind yourself of the bigger picture, the reason for completing all the daily actions. Keeping the overall vision clear will help with motivation.

When you get distracted remind yourself: “Why am I doing this? How will I feel when I have accomplished it?” Connecting regularly with your higher goals will help you to stay focused and get the work done.

[Hugo Quintero photo]

Ciara Conlon writes a popular blog on simplicity and productivity at ciaraconlon.com. She is author of the book Chaos to Control, A Practical Guide to Getting Things Done. If you enjoyed this article you can sign up for more and receive a free eBook Clear the Clutter – Find Your Life.

6 thoughts on “A Simple Guide to Getting Things Done

  1. This hits really closely with the Getting Things Done (GTD) paradigm. I completely agree. The focus of any system is lost if you don’t take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.

    1. Hi Jon, that’s right sometimes we get so lost in the multitude of day to day activities that we forget the reason why we are doing it. By zooming in and out regularly it helps us to stay motivated and on track.

  2. Good Idea, having the list will help you identify what will fit into the time available. It is still a good idea to schedule the important tasks even if you have to keep moving it to the next day, but in this way it is more likely to get done

  3. I have found that – especially now with increased family obligations – that I can’t always predict in advance when I will have a solid chunk of time in which to focus and be productive. For that reason it is very important to always keep a list of priority tasks so that I can do something useful with that time when it does materialize.

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