The Twenty-Something Series: How to get more done in a day

Some weeks, I'll do nothing. Some days, I'll magically do two weeks' worth of work in an afternoon. In this post, I talk about how to get more done in a day.

Last week I was posting on my Instagram stories as I got things done throughout the day. 

On that Sunday alone: I decided to start reading a book when I woke up - and finished it a couple of hours later; I sent a few emails and sorted out some ‘admin’ things - both for my books and personal stuff; I had lunch and watched a movie; I proofread a few chapters of the sequel to The Kissing Booth.

(Quick side note, the book I read was an early copy of Estelle Maskame's The Wrong Side of Kai and it was GLORIOUS and you can pre-order it here.)

On the Monday, it was my deadline for a mini project I was working on. I was aiming for around 15k on the word count and wrote the last 5k of that on Sunday afternoon and on Sunday night. And then I watched the latest episode of Handmaid’s Tale before going to sleep.

I got so much done that day. 

‘You’re a machine!’ both friends and followers messaged me. ‘You’re making me feel bad. How do you do it????’

I will say: there is a lot you don’t see.

While, yes, that was a goddamn great day and I’m amazed at how much I achieved, what I hadn’t posted about was the two weeks before where I made no progress on these kinds of things and watched too much TV, and spent too many hours trawling Pinterest and Rightmove because I’m trying to buy a house. 

Not that I’m ashamed of those two weeks that were comparatively so unproductive. I hate being unproductive and feeling that I haven’t done ‘enough’, but I don’t mind sharing when that happens. It’s just that, probably, you guys didn’t need to see what I thought about every episode of Sex And The City as I binged my way through it for the first time.

But this post isn’t about not being motivated. I got a hell of a lot done that Sunday, and often have days like that. Where, yes, thank you, I am indeed a machine.

So today, I’m going to talk about how to get more done in a day.

Write a to do list of EVERYTHING

I swear by ToDoist to keep myself on track, but often when I have a lot going on, I also use a paper to do list - I like seeing everything ticked off rather than just disappearing from the screen sometimes. And when I say everything - I mean everything. Even down to 'shower' and 'make lunch' and 'remember to put up that Instagram post'. Those little things can add up to feel like a lot, some days.

Not only does this keep you motivated (it’s a great feeling when you tick something off!) but writing down everything helps you understand what you need to do that day and start to order it. I always find that writing it all down is already a weight of my shoulders - I worry I’ll forget something otherwise.

Plan your week

While I’m talking about it: plan your week! ToDoist has a seven-day view so while I update it daily, I like to plan out my week - at least roughly. When will I do the housework or the laundry or the grocery shop? Do I have to schedule a blog post or chase up an email? Have I got to make a phone call? Hell, I even do a rough meal plan for the week, even if I rarely follow it to the letter. This helps me feel organised and work out where my time is, and when I will be able to fit in work - or when I need to.

Group similar activities

You’ve probably heard this tip a hundred times, but trust me, it works. If I have to send a couple of different emails, I’ll try to do at least half of them all in one go. If I’ve been meaning to take photos of things for Instagram, I take them all at the same time, then draft them all at the same time. It helps you feel like you’ve achieved more in one go, especially as it’s easier than jumping back and forth between tasks too much.

Clear out some of the smaller tasks when you take a break from big ones

Remember how I said I do at least half of my emails when I need to catch up on them? That’s because sometimes I’ll leave a few to come back to when I know I just need a little break. Getting something small cleared out of the way when I’m working on a big task just gives me a little boost - I get to remind myself that I just achieved something else and can tick it off the list! Yay! Even if I’m bogged down in edits, for instance. 

Equally you can try to break up one big task into smaller ones - if I have a deadline I’ll try to do this. For instance: Monday, edit up to page 75; Tuesday, edit up to chapter twenty; Thursday, edit fifty pages. Bite size chunks are easier to tackle - and much less daunting to approach.

Get dressed!

When I’m working from home for my day job or else working on my books on a weekend and really need to get through a lot, I dress up. The fancier I look when I’m not going out, the harder I’m working. Sometimes I’ll even do my hair and put on makeup - to go nowhere at all - because it helps me feel in the right mindset, since that’s what I’d do if I were going out for the day or into the office.

Do not sit down

For the love of God, do not sit down when you get in from work. You will not want to get back up. I have to do all my chores and any errands as soon as I get in - or, for instance, if I’ve just gotten up from the sofa and my laptop to go to the loo. If you sit down to watch an episode of something before you crack on with something else... will it really end at one episode? 

And finally: understand how you work best

This is something I've brought up in a bunch of blog posts, I know, but that's because understanding how I work best and when I'm most productive has had such a massive impact on my ability to get things done.

For instance: I am not a morning person. I'll stay up late before I get up early. I need structure in my day. Tidying up (at least the area I'm working in) helps me feel focused. I like background noise. I need deadlines, or I'll procrastinate.

If you can't think of how you work best, spend some time analysing it. If you've just had a productive day - why? What did you do that day that was different? Putting the effort in to working it out and then creating that environment to work in will work wonders.

So there you have it - a few of my secrets to getting so much done in a day! (Although, honestly, I wouldn't necessarily advocate for doing nothing for two weeks and then having one super-great day. I feel like at some point, it'll backfire.) 

What are your best tips for being productive and getting more done in a day? Let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, I need to get Todoist. And the advice about not sitting down is so good... and definitely something I'm guilty of not following!


Powered by Blogger.