Some days I feel like I have a million and one things on my to-do list. I look at it and with all the confidence in the world, I think, “I can get this done today.” And I try, I try so hard to get those things done. But for some reason I try to do them all at the exact same time.
My attention is split in all different directions, I get distracted by the smallest things, simple tasks take me twice as long as they should to complete, and in the end, I get absolutely nothing done. The cycle is maddening!
Lately, this has become a habit for me, one that is extremely frustrating. Although my brain knows that I need to do these tasks one at a time, I’m so focused on the fact that I have a million things to do and I can’t focus on anything else.
Has this ever happened to you?? Please tell me I’m not alone.
It’s time for me to end this maddening cycle of long, unfinished to-do lists and start working smarter, not harder. Here’s how I’m doing it:
1. MAKE A LIST OF 3 THINGS YOU NEED TO GET DONE TODAY
Writing your goals for the day down can be extremely helpful when trying to focus on the tasks ahead. Make sure you keep this list short so you can leave plenty of time for creativity and breaks! Anything you get done after your 3 things is a BONUS! *ka-ching*
2. PUT AWAY DISTRACTING DEVICES (YES, EVEN NETFLIX) AND SNOOZE ALL NOTIFICATIONS
Projects can often be prolonged due to constant distractions, aka Netflix and your phone. Hit snooze, turn it off, hide in a sock drawer, unplug and put away-I know you think you can do it all, you Ms. Multi-tasker you, but you can’t do it all well. Turning off your distractions gives you more brain space to have laser focus on the task at hand.
3. SET A TIMER AND GET TO WORK
So your project should only take you an hour? Good. The brain can only take so much exercise. Set a timer for an hour and only work for an hour. If your project will take longer, set your timer for 45 minutes and evaluate your progress. Projects will get done more efficiently when broken up into small increments of time. Keep yourself accountable and focus on your work during the allotted time.
4. TAKE 15-20 MINUTE BREAKS
Your timer went off and you’re still not done with your project. That’s okay! Set it down and take a break. Seriously. Your brain has been in full capacity for 45 minutes to an hour, it needs a breather! Remember our distracting phone and Netflix? Use this time to reward yourself with a Social Media update or an episode of New Girl.
Pro Tip* It’s helpful to set a timer for breaks too, so you don’t get too carried away. Once the time is up, get back to hustlin’
These steps are so simple, right? Then why is it so hard? Well, my friends, we are just used to multitasking! We tell ourselves that we can do it all and that we will miss out on something if we don’t. We tell ourselves that the problems and projects will be solved if we put all of our energy into everything all at once. But this is a lie.
I’ve been trying to implement these steps for my day to day to-do lists, and I promise–they totally work. Give them a try and tell me what you think! Let’s get hustlin’ people. Who’s with me?