Tips for Getting More Done Without Working More Hours

Andrea Ferguson

President at AndiSites Inc.
Andi is founder and President of AndiSites Inc. She writes about website design and development, best practices, and random stuff her busy brain thinks would be useful.
Andrea Ferguson

Too much to do, and too little time to do it? When responsibilities mount and schedules are packed with tasks, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Despite our best-laid plans, some days we just don’t know where to start. So those days stretch into nights, and we work all weekend when we should be enjoying the rest of our life.

Fortunately I’m a big fan of David Allen’s approach–Getting Things Done (GTD), which I talked about in an interview for Staples. A system that helps me apply order to the chaos is crucial to the success of our business and (most of all) my sanity. The system opens up space and structure so I can be more focused, creative, and productive. But I’m always interested in how others handle the increased workload that comes with client happiness. One good example is an article from Smashing Magazine, Getting More Work Done Without Simply Working More Hours.

Here are my favorite tips from the article:

  1. Create a routine that works with the times of day when you’re most productive. You probably have a good sense of this already, or you can use tools like RescueTime to analyze your daily behavior and make the determination for you.
  2. Keep a to-do list. I know…thank you, Captain Obvious. But the act of making out the list is as important as the list itself, since it forces you to think about the tasks ahead. At AndiSites we use the To-Do List feature in Basecamp every day and are motivated by the satisfaction of getting to-do’s to-DONE!
  3. Try to close your email for a few hours each day. Don’t check it, and don’t worry. If something is truly urgent, people usually have another way to contact you.
  4. Get help from others. Don’t try to do it all yourself, no matter how proud you are of your ability to do so. Use your resources, including others in your company and support forums. And let people know you need help. At AndiSites we share a “stuck” each morning. Everyone on the team can chip in and help with your “stuck” at any time. Nobody minds helping, and fresh eyes can solve an hours-long challenge in minutes.
  5. Take regular short breaks. Seriously, stop working from time to time. Stare out the window (use the 20/20/20 rule to reduce eye strain while you’re at it). Better yet, get up and go outside.
  6. Use your time away from work to recharge. Don’t skip vacations. Spend time with your family. Remember that your life is larger than just your work. The only way you’ll stay happy is if you keep your life full. Give it the attention it deserves.

What’s your favorite way to get more done without working more hours? Tweet it to us, and we’ll share.

 

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