The last couple of years have been very special for me – I’ve been trying to make some serious and positive changes in life. I’m challenging myself in order to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible and to achieve the results that I am after. And while I believe that I am reaching the set milestones, I think there is always room for improvement, namely in the speed of work. In other words, I am trying to learn how to get things done faster without compromising the quality of the work. Or even better, I want to learn how to get things done faster while getting better results. Sounds realistic?
As a result of my interest in the subject, I did some research on it, and now I want to share the findings with you here as well. I believe that anyone struggling with the same problem may find this useful. And even though there were very many great tips that I found, I want to share with you my favorite.
Get things done the right way
One of the most crucial things the majority of sources pointed out to was monotasking (the opposite of multitasking). We, humans, are horribly bad at doing many things at the same time, and even though most of us know this, it’s not helping us.
One good argument to do only one thing at a time lies in the so-called flow state. The flow is what happens to you when you get completely absorbed by the task you are working with. During that state, you lose the sense of time, and you are able to produce unexpectedly outstanding results. Those of you that have experienced this know how awesome it is. Unfortunately, you can’t just experience it whenever you want – it comes when it comes. And when it does come, the last thing you want to do is to scare it away.
2. External distractions
One common misconception that many of us have is that using Facebook while working is not multitasking. It is!
As said in the previous point, one reason why we don’t want to do many things at a time is because we want to get into the flow state and then to stay in that state. You don’t need to do two or three large things at a time to lose concentration. By replying to you friends in social networks you are already losing your concentration. You are increasing the overall time of your work, and worst of all, the quality of it diminishes as well.
This problem is extremely common today because we are literally surrounded by the internet. It’s just too easy to message people. Unfortunately, I think this problem will only get worse with time. But if you really want to get things done and don’t want this to affect you, it’s not enough to just not answer to your messages. Sounds also distract us. Therefore, turn off your phone and don’t access the internet, or at least put it in silent mode.
Related material to read: 26 Best Productivity Apps That Will Help You Achieve
3. Pomodoro technique
If you don’t set a time limit for yourself, your tasks may take forever to complete.
Pomodoro technique is basically when you work for 25 minutes at a time, after which you have a short break. It’s really as simple as that, yet has proven to help you get things done a lot faster! It all comes down to creating time pressure. When you are under time pressure, you to do things fast.
I found a website that has a pretty nice timer. You can either use their 25-minute timer or set you own in case you want to work for longer. http://www.marinaratimer.com
4. Set goals before you start
I always say that goal-setting is extremely important. That doesn’t concern only goals far ahead of you, but also the ones you are about to achieve today.
Every so often I catch myself trying to finish tasks in a hurry, without even completely understanding what my results should look like. Yes, there are cases when you just need to get started, but that’s only when you find yourself really procrastinating. Normally, you first want to know what you are going to do and what you want to achieve, and then only start acting on it. Having the mentality “I’ll see where it takes me” will rarely bring good results, and usually requires you to spend double the amount of time working. It’s always good to brainstorm first, find out what is needed, and then to start working.
Related material to read: 5 Powerful Goal Setting Tools to Spark Your Achievements
5. Eliminating the unnecessary
Some of the tasks that we do take waaaay too long to complete. This is especially the case if they have become a part of some routine. In order to get them done quicker, try to reevaluate all of the steps that need to be taken to complete them. Often enough, you will find that certain steps are unnecessary or don’t bring much value. These can then be avoided, which will speed up the process, and allow you to concentrate more on what will actually make a difference to the outcome.
6. Start with the most difficult
If you decide that you will do the easy things first and leave the difficult tasks for last, you might find yourself procrastinating.
As long as the easier tasks are not there to build up your skills for the more difficult tasks, always start with the hardest first! The further you go into your work, the more tired you will get. It’s always nice to have the easy things left to do. Leaving the hard tasks till last is a recipe for being a “slowpoke”.
If you have a lot of work to do, but you want to do it fast enough and with quality, make sure you get enough sleep the night before.
So many times I needed to get stuff done fast when I didn’t get enough sleep. Every single time it’s nothing else but horrible. Even the things you normally enjoy may become a torture.
Sleeping enough cannot be overrated here. It’s really the panacea for overcoming hard work. … And by the way, coffee or any other stimulant will not substitute for sleep. Yes, coffee is better than nothing in the case that you are exhausted, but it gives a boost only for a short period of time and it doesn’t really give you a fresh look on things.
8. Don’t be a perfectionist!
Recently I have been trying really hard not to be a perfectionist. You know why? Because it’s a nightmare! I want to get things done fast, but tasks that should take an hour at most take three of four hours instead!
If you are already in the process of doing something, don’t overthink it. Don’t get stuck on something to try and improve it. Stick to the plan you made earlier. If you do see that something can be made better or needs to be fixed, do what needs to be done first, and then only return to polish the rest.
Always remember the 80% rule. You should aim at completing everything with 80% satisfaction. A 100% satisfaction is impossible, will drain your energy and will eat a lot of your time.
Related material to read: Why Living in the World of Perfectionism is a Nightmare
9. Grouping similar tasks together
Again, this one is for those that love to procrastinate. There are times when we have a number of similar things to do, and instead of doing them all in one session, we spread them throughout the day or week. But why?
Pushing apart small and closely related tasks is really inefficient. Even though it may be something as simple as writing a few emails or editing photos, these tasks still require some preparation and effort. Instead of preparing for them many times, you prepare only once and get it over with! And though in this case it may happen only a bit, but even the smallest of actions drain mental energy. We want to save that energy for later.
10. Make a checklist
To complete my list of how to get things done fast, I would like to still mention the checklist.
By really making use of the points that I have given here, I can say that the two most effective have so far been getting rid of all distractions and creating checklists. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to have a checklist for everything, but if you do use checklists in the longer tasks, you will notice how much potential it really has. Not only it allows you to remember all the steps and to stay on track, but checklists also prevent you from being a perfectionist. You have a number of steps to do, you know how much time they should take, and you, therefore, don’t get stuck on any particular task for too long.
Hopefully, you got something out of these points. Like I said, there are many great tips on the internet of how to get things done fast, but I have so far found these to be the most useful/important/effective.
If you enjoyed reading this, make sure to subscribe for more updates in the future. But if you like listening to information instead, make sure to check out my youtube channel 🙂 Thank you for taking your time out of the day to read this!