I frequently get asked about how I am able to get so much done or how I can stay on top of everything. I wrote a time management post a while ago but I just do not think it begins to cover why and how I get so much done. A large part of this intrinsic to me now. In high school, I played sports, was a part of clubs, took extra classes, went to all the events and still had time for my family and friends. In college, I played a sport, took 18 credits, coached a team, and worked.
Clearly, doing a lot has become the norm for me. Looking back I am still not sure how I made it through my first two college years with so much on my plate, but I was able to accomplish everything I needed to. And so can you. It might take some adjustments but it is doable. You have the same number of hours in the day as I do in a day, and even as Beyonce does!
So here is my formula for how I stay ahead and get everything done so you can hit your goals like a pro!
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I would not be anywhere in life without lists… I probably would have failed most of my classes and dropped the ball on a lot of important things. Each day in my planner I write out what I need to get done that day. So instead of treating my planner as just a reminder for-far out events or appointments, it turns into a daily checklist for me.
I right the most pressing and important things at the top of the list. Things that I want to get done, but are not required I do it that day, go to the bottom of the list. After the day is done, whatever I do not get to goes to the top of the next days' list.
A trick that I like to do is also include small things on my list.. like eating and working out. Being able to cross stuff out feels good and seeing small accomplishments gives you a boost to keep hacking away at your to-dos!
This is a major part of how I work far ahead and stay on schedule. You do need to plan out your to-do list daily, but it is also important to track deadlines and to stay as far as possible ahead of them. I work 2 weeks ahead of deadlines, generally. This is key for my schedule. If I am not ahead, I am behind.
This mentality allows for mistakes, errors, and mishaps. If you are two weeks ahead, and something goes wrong, you now have some padding to re-evaluate with enough time to get your work done.
Getting something done when you start it
I am a big believer infinishing what you start. Do not let things drag out. Set a deadline for yourself and hold yourself accountable. I know there are going to be things that overlap and intersect but set attainable deadlines for all of them and STICK TO IT.
One thing that is very helpful for overlapping big projects is to set smaller deadlines for each one. Say you have an article due, for example. Break your article up into small steps and set a deadline for each step. Research, finding sources, interviews, writing, editing. Breaking things into smaller bites also makes tasks seem more doable.
I have a goal I am working towards it
Having big and small goals written down.. not just in your head.. but actually written down will help you achieve more. Post them on your wall so they are the first thing you see when you wake up or put them in your planner as a constant reminder. When you have a goal you are passionate about, getting a lot done does not seem as daunting anymore.
I recommend writing out short, medium and long term goals. Come back to them often, reassess and see where you are at or how they have changed. Working towards a clear goal is a HUGE motivator.
Knowing my priorities
Once you know your goals, you can set your priorities straight. First and foremost for me are my family and friends. They trump everything. But second on the list is accomplishing my goals I have set for myself.
I am in a certain season of life
A part big part of why I can get so much done is due the season of life I am in. I am in my early 20’s, have no kids, no pets, nor am I am not taking care of elder family members. I am at a time in life where I can choose what I do and when do it. I do not have many constraints around my life which I am thankful for. But, this is a large part of how I get so much done. Take this into consideration before comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own duties and burdens which you may not ever see.
Things I don’t do
Lastly, there is a lot I give up and skip on as I keep striving towards my dreams. I do not go out often with friends, I always skip drinks with co workers, I do not nap, I do not go to bed early or sleep in, I rarely watch tv (if I do, I am working while it plays in the background), and the list goes on and on. There is a cost/benefit relationship to everything.. you just have to figure out what you are willing to sacrifice to get where you want to go.
I am not saying ignore your friends and family and never have fun.. there just needs to be a balance.
I hope this helps. Make sure to subscribe on your way out!