When You Really Need to Get a Lot Done Fast

too much workDo you ever come up on a deadline and panic that you won’t make it?

If you’re a procrastinator, I bet you do.

I hesitate to say this because if I do, chances are I’ll have to eat my words soon.

Oh well, here goes anyway.

I have to admit that I often do things at the last minute. I’ve always been that way. I’m not proud of it but it does seem to work for me.

I recently ran a 5 day challenge. When did I prepare each day’s trainings and instructions? Of course. The day before. It could be worse, you know. I could wait until the morning of the day they needed to appear. I’m not quite that bad.

time to get organizedI don’t suggest waiting until the day before to get something important done.

But if you do, here’s what I suggest:

Get yourself into the right mindset by doing what you do when you are going on vacation the next day. You have no choice! You have to get specific tasks done before you leave.

You need to arrange for your business tasks that need to happen before you go. You need to pack and maybe even wash your clothes. You must stop newspaper deliveries and maybe trash pickup.

And somehow you get everything done. How does that work?

It’s simple, really. You get super focused.

You have to be very organized because you have specific tasks that must be done on that one day.

First, you have to plan which tasks are essential. Because you don’t want to forget any of them, you make a list, preferably the day before when you are needing to take yourself out of panic mode so that you can get a good night’s sleep. That allows you to start the new day with a clear head because you have a plan to follow.

In addition, you must be very focused as you work through each task. You turn off your phone and ignore social media. You can catch up on those distractions at the end of the day or as you travel to your vacation destination.

excited family on a tripIt is remarkable how efficient you can be when you give your entire attention to the single task that needs to be done at the time allotted to it.  And that is how you get through the to-do list that you made the day before.

At the end of this successful day, I recommend that you write yourself a note which tells you to conduct every work day in the same way. Make a to-do list the night before and then complete the tasks you need to accomplish in the order they appear on the list.

It works very well.

I will be telling you about other ways to work efficiently in my Time To Shine LITE program. You will be pleased to find out how well some simple changes can free up a lot more time for non-work activities.

You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/1TOHEzq

Are you a procrastinator or do you complete your tasks in an organized way? Tell us in the comments below.

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  1. I have to confess, Beth, that I find myself here at times. I truly try to work steadily on tasks, as I have a business, a career, and an exacting hobby–all of which take a fair amount of time. So keeping on top of the tasks needed is imperative. And yet . . .
    I’m going to try this one this week: “Make a to-do list the night before and then complete the tasks you need to accomplish in the order they appear on the list.”
    Great tips!

  2. I totally believe the key is super focus. I am a multi-tasker most of the time, however, when I need to get something of substance completed, I focus, super-focus and it gets done. I am a procrastinator in some things and in others I have a system, a checklist and a process. Now I need to spend time thinking why do I switch between the two. My gut says it is probably the things i enjoy have the system, but those I don’t or lack confidence in is when I procrastinate.

    • Interesting, Karen, that you have two ways of acting. Maybe we all do, actually. I definitely think it is the less enjoyable tasks that get put off because we don’t really want to do them.

  3. I agree with you, Beth! Great post! Today, we are surrounded by noise from our desktops, phones, ipads, TVs, etc. In order to focus, I have to set my phone timer, close all apps, and focus on the project or task that needs my attention. Super focusing is the key! Thank you!

    • Welcome to my blog, Staci. It sounds like you have a good method of disabling distractions so that you can focus efficiently. That’s great.

  4. Not at all a procrastinator but do the thinks I prefer first. Tend to work from a Todo list. Alwayys wriing notes, reminders. Agree- getting super focused gets my tasks done.

    • Good for you, Roz. You have a good system. I usually reward myself by doing the things I like to do after doing one I’m not so fond of. Whatever works!

  5. I sometimes just get stuck within my own upleveling and pushing thru the hard stuff on the business online side. Sometimes that may look or even feel as procrastinating. Because it still has to get figured out even if I don’t know how, right? I have learned to use a few techniques in my mindset- make unfamiliar things familiar and to delay my gratification until I get xxx done. To Do list are great for me and yes – that has to include a certain amount of time. Ah and turn off all distractions – holy cow yes! Super good topic. Thanks for writing a very helpful article.

    • I’m glad you liked the article, Teresa. You’re right that sometimes you can get stuck and it helps to let your brain work on it without having to think about it. That works for me. That’s not really the same as procrastinating. I suppose that could be considered multi tasking but my solutions often get worked out while I’m sleeping so that’s a good variety of multi-tasking. Mindset techniques are a great help too.

  6. I feel it is easier for me to do client work and get it done in a timely matter than it is to do my goals. But recently, I decided that I deserve to spend time on my tasks too. I told myself, I will take 1 hour to get this takes done, if I finish, great, if not, I will add it to the next day. It seems to work. I need to recognize that my doing this I am taking care of myself too.

    • That’s good, Sabrina. We all need to have our own unique system and if it works, that’s terrific. Yes, you are taking care of yourself when you do what feels good.

  7. Oh yes. I was in the deadline business (newspapers) for 30 years, so I know all about waiting till the last minute. Love these suggestions: Pretend your going on vacation the next day; that works well for me. Single-tasking is important, too. Multitaskers lose as much as 10 functional IQ points when they switch back and forth and are prone to making more errors. Just focus on the most important things that need to be done and then get them done. The gratification is enormous.

    • Hi Jackie! Absolutely true that multitaskers lose IQ and they also lose precious time with the constant switching from one thing to another. Focus is critical so that we can actually get things accomplished.

  8. I don’t consider myself a procrastinator, yet sometimes I do wait until “the last minute” to do what I want and need to do. Example. I wanted to enter lyrics in a song writing “competition” recently and had started them one month before. I continued to intuit what I wanted to say and reworked them several times until the day before the deadline when I sent them in. When you know it is now or never, you have to let it go and trust you have done exactly what is needed.

    I do find as I get older that “juggling” a lot of things isn’t quite as easy as when I was younger, so I prefer to be prepared and early whenever possible. I also seem to do better under a bit of pressure, at least pressure I put on myself. I also find making lists of my priorities has become more essential, yet when I was younger I was able to “remember” everything I had to do and just get it done. Looking forward to learning more of your tips to free up time, as the more I involve myself in the online world, I find the less time I seem to have. Always catching up on something in the online world.

    • Oh yes, Beverley. I know what you mean about being able to remember things better years ago. I really need lists now. And the online world does seem to keep us busier. You’re right about having to let things go once the deadline approaches. No more time to rework at that point.

  9. Learned the hard way. Waiting until the last minute taught me to work under pressure, but it made me exhausted. I’m better at scheduling and planning in advance. This seems to open up more time to get other stuff done. Thanks for the tips.

  10. Hi Beth 🙂
    Really enjoyed your post as I can TOTALLY relate lol! I know how important it is to get things done, especially when you do not have much time 😉 Writing notes is an awesome suggestion, as that is what I do daily so I do not forget what I need to do! I have post it notes everywhere!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  11. Hi Beth,
    I considered myself very organized–especially with the actions that lead to goal achievement (otherwise, the goal might not get accomplished).

    The payoff for being super organized is that I actually have days that I consider a ‘gift’ because it is not a ‘Decision Day’ in my business…I already know that I’m doing the prior actions that I assigned myself. I don’t know about you, but once in a while I think about going back to Corporate America where someone else makes the major decisions 🙂

    Rachel recently wrote Don’t Get Your Facebook Ads Account Shut Down

    • Rachel, I’m glad you are well organized. It makes life easier for sure. I never think about going back to being employed. I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 32 years and never have I regretted that choice.

  12. Boy, ain’t it the truth!! I wish I could just pretend that a deadline is looming, at times. It seems that that’s when I do my best work, and as you say, I’m the most focused. Heck it’s that way even with housework – if my great aunt were to call and say she was coming over tomorrow, I’d have this house in immaculate condition within hours!

    • Hi Joan, You’re right! If we could just persuade ourselves that an imaginary deadline is real, we’d have no trouble getting tasks done with perfect focus! Sadly, I don’t think we’re going to believe those stories.

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