How to Achieve More by Doing Less (Without Sacrificing Productivity!)

Sunday, June 9, 2024

How to Achieve More by Doing Less (Without Sacrificing Productivity!)

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list and feel like crying every time you open your planner, you are at the right place. It doesn't matter if you are in high school, university, working from 9-5, or owning your own business, at some point we all feel like the clock is ticking and we are just staying in place while our obligations are pilling. Although it might feel like you hit rock bottom, don't be so discouraged; all you need is the "working smarter, not harder" approach to life.

I promise you that this post will be more than just another theory-driven-no actually-applicable post the internet is full of. We will explore strategies to achieve more by focusing on quality over quantity and streamlining your workflow and how you can immediately start implementing these tips into your life.

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning I'll earn a small commission if you purchase through these links. 

Eisenhower Matrix time management technique

Prioritize Ruthlessly

If you are someone who has trouble establishing between tasks that are urgent and have consequences if you don't do them in time, and tasks that are not the most important ones to tackle, you need to start using the Eisenhower Matrix time management technique. Basically, it is a task managing technique that allows you to look at your task list from most urgent to least important tasks.

So how to know which task is urgent? Well, your gut will tell you. Urgent tasks are those that are constantly in the back of your mind, as soon as you think about it you get that weird feeling of avoidance in your stomach. You know that it is important but you keep on pushing it back because it seems daunting. However, you know you feel the most anxious and stressed the longer you delay it. You must know when in the day you have the most energy as that is when you should first tackle urgent tasks. 

Don't go with the line of least resistance and start doing tasks that you put on your to-do list just to feel better about yourself when you check them off. You can use a prioritization planner to help you write each task in the established area. Above you can find the Eisenhower Matrix technique so you can get a better idea of how to prioritize your tasks ruthlessly.

Embrace the Power of Automation

There is a lot of articles about AI and how it is rapidly changing our lives. Some are afraid that AI is going to make our lives miserable, well I believe that as with anything, it is what you use it for that is important. If you use it for something bad of course the results will be bad as well, but if you use it to make your life easier then why not utilize it? ChatGPT is the most well-known AI tool that can help you in many different ways. 

It can help you time-block your day or learn more about topics regarding your studies or work. There are also a lot of different tools and apps that can help you schedule emails, manage social media and so much more. If you use Pinterest to share your blog posts, products, or services, you can use automatization tools to complete this repetitive task quickly.

Batch Similar Tasks Together

The time we have the most focus is limited so we must use that time wisely. The worst thing you can do is go back and forth between tasks that you could've done in a batch. For example, it is better to choose a dedicated time to reply to all of your emails than to go from replaying to 1 email to starting your next project to then going back to replying to another email. 

When creating a to-do list try to time-block those smaller tasks into one. Dedicate 30 minutes in which you will focus only on replying to all the emails and phone calls. When you are done with that you can go and focus for a certain amount of time on just one other task. When the time is up or you finished the task you can go and work on another one.

The Pomodoro Technique has been one of my favorite time management methods since I was a student. It consists of doing focused work for 25 minutes and then having a 5-minute break. The time you choose to do the work and have a break is up to you. To make sure that you are not distracted by your phone I recommend getting a Pomodoro timer.

Delegate and Outsource When Possible

Sometimes we feel like we need to do everything on our own and as if by asking for help we are incompetent. This couldn't be more far from the truth. We are not robots and we can only do so much in one day. Constantly feeling under pressure is only going to make things worse. No matter if you are a college student having trouble with a subject or a business owner who spreads themselves too thin, there is always someone willing to help you.

If you are a small business owner finding a virtual assistant that can help you even just 2-3 hours a week can be very beneficial. If you run a blog and are looking for a copywriter or someone who can help you with creating Pinterest pins, be sure to contact me as I know that sometimes other VA are charging a lot and if you just started that can be out of your budget.

Schedule Time for Rest and Recharge

The quality of your performance should always be the most important thing. Scientifically speaking, there is a better chance that you will do a high-quality job in 2 hours than you will in 8 hours. This goes hand in hand with what we said previously about the focus time. Some researches show that we start to lose focus after 20-50 minutes into the task. That is the reason it is so important to prioritize rest. 

Time blocking is one of the great methods you can use. You can do it in your phone calendar or in your physical planner. Time block tasks you need to do and in between add time when you are going to take an active rest. So this doesn't mean scrolling on your phone or watching TV. Active rest activities include walking, doing pilates, meditating or stretching, reading, or listening to podcasts.

All in all, you need to observe yourself and notice where you are losing valuable time. Working smarter not harder means finishing your urgent tasks in the most efficient and quickest period. Most of us prolong tasks until they become so urgent that we feel stressed and anxious. Whenever you open your planner you should feel organized and calm, and not like you are going to lose your mind. 

Achieving more by doing less is an action that you need to train yourself until it becomes so natural to you that you feel at peace knowing that you did everything you needed to that day and now you can focus on the things that you love to do. Embrace the less-stressful approach to productivity and you will immediately feel the improvement in all the parts of your life.

How to Achieve More by Doing Less (Without Sacrificing Productivity!)

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