The feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day and continually falling behind in reaching your goals can hinder physical health and emotional well-being. Regaining control and boosting efficiency can help you find the time for doing more of the things you love. In this article, Dr. Mac Powell discusses five powerful yet easy techniques that can help anyone organize their day to improve efficiency, health, and happiness.
1. Schedule Your Tasks
Whether its paper or digital, keep a list of all the daily tasks that you need to complete. Prioritize your tasks for the day and make a to-do list of the things you need to get done that day. As you create your lists and work through prioritizing your tasks, be sure to keep your list manageable and realistic and break things down into actions that can be crossed off as you complete them. Spend time enjoying crossing tasks off the list as you complete them and try to tackle some of the more difficult or challenging items at the beginning of the day (leaving the more challenging ones for the end can lead to failed attempts or procrastination).
2. Establish Deadlines
Think about each new task that you take on and set up a realistic deadline. Carefully consider how the task fits in with your other responsibilities and give yourself adequate time to readjust for contingencies and the things that inevitably come up in daily life. Set intermediate deadlines when possible a few days before firm deadlines to assess your progress and help make sure you are on track. If you find that you have trouble meeting deadlines, ask for some feedback or coaching from someone you trust. Maybe you’re too ambitious with your goal-setting, or perhaps you’re not seeing performance barriers that are influencing your work.
3. Learn to Overcome Procrastination
Distractions and procrastination have a terrible effect on productivity. Procrastination can lead to destructive feedback loops that push you away from work tasks and lead to lost time and stress and frustration. If you find yourself suffering from procrastination, try the five-minute method. If a job seems too large or complicated, even to start, commit five minutes to it. Once you have the first step behind you, often you will find that the five-minute commitment leads to long stretches of productive work. Once you have made the initial effort at getting started, virtually all jobs become much more manageable in your mind and much easier to stick to until completed.
4. Don’t Multitask If You Can Help It
In today’s world, multitasking has taken on the image of some superpower. In reality, our minds and bodies work much more efficiently when we can concentrate on one task at a time. Prioritizing through your to-do list and calendar deadlines help you to compartmentalize tasks and improve your focus on each discrete job. Distractions pull your mind away from doing your best on the job at hand. If you can keep phone calls, emails, and texts set aside from the times you designate for prioritized tasks, you will find that you can get things done faster and better as you move from task to task.
5. Start Your Day Early and Take Regular Breaks
Most productive people find that getting going early in the day helps their productivity and time management. Setting aside time early in the day for personal care, thinking, and planning helps get the workday off to a calm and productive start. You should have regular little breaks built into your schedule for relaxing and some light exercise. Setting these breaks at scheduled times when possible helps your mind adjust to expected times for rest and recharging.
About Dr. Mac Powell
Dr. Mac Powell is an innovator and educator whose passion for leading progressive change is exhibited consistently in his work. With an MBA from National University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri, Dr. Powell has held leadership positions in several industries. Dr. Powell was the youngest college president in the United States when he was selected to lead WestMed College and later served as President of John F. Kennedy University in San Francisco.