I need to tell you something.
I never finish my to-do list. It’s endless, and there are always a few things that don’t get crossed out. I’m constantly striving to finish it all, but it never happens.
But guess what? That’s okay.
I’m not perfect, and even though I strive to finish as much work as I can, I can think rationally and realize that there are always new things to add to the list. But over the years I have found a few things that have helped me to get as much done as possible, without overstressing myself.
Setting a timer
Also known as the Pomodoro technique, this technique is supposed to make you more productive without actually making it feel like you’re overworking yourself. It’s simple: you work for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. Repeat 4 times, then you get a 20 minute break. During my break I walk away from my screen and breathe a little. This helps me to stay focused longer and get more done in a shorter amount of time.
Wake up earlier
Something you don’t want to hear.. I know. But it works! When I became a morning person I added so many more hours to my day, and my morning hours were actually the most productive ones! Start by waking up 15 minutes earlier than you’re used to. Then 30 minutes. Then 45 minutes. Use the peace and quiet of the early morning to complete your most important tasks and you’ll forget that extra hour of sleep in no time.
Take time to regroup
When I say you need to take time to regroup, I’m saying that you need to get away from those electronics! I give myself 10 – 15 minutes in the morning to drink my coffee and just chill, by myself. Then I do it again in the afternoon as I eat my lunch. It has almost become like a sort of meditation for me.
I put the largest and most important task at the top of my to-do list, so I make sure to get that out of the way first. I used to do it the other way around: I would leave the big, important things for last and instead work on a bunch of small tasks first. It didn’t work. Instead, I felt stressed and less productive.