We all want to be productive, right? How do you know what is the best way for you to get things done? That’s a very good question. As a professional organizer, my job often involves helping my clients figure out strategies and solutions for them to accomplish tasks. I am going to share with you 3 ways for you to figure out the best way for you to get things done.
Ask yourself these questions to figure out the best way for you to get things done:
Am I a big picture person?
It’s important to know yourself. Do you need to visualize the whole picture before you can see the different parts? It’s almost impossible to tackle a whole project at once but sometimes it’s very important to picture the end result. Then you can break the project down into its components and tackle one small part at a time.
Some people like to approach projects in a different way. They want to know the steps to take to complete the project in advance. If this is you, you will be more productive when you simply start with the smallest task before doing too much visualizing of the final product.
Why am I doing this project?
Another way for you to motivate yourself into action is to understand why you are doing this project. What is in it for you? Will you receive a benefit when you complete this project?
Let’s think more specifically for a moment.
The pretend project is painting your bedroom. Right now, the color on the walls is bright orange. You don’t like the color orange and find it hard to relax and be at peace with this color on the walls. So, you decide to paint the walls a shade of blue that reminds you of the ocean. It’s time to paint the room. There are a couple of tasks to do before you can paint: tape the trim, put down drop cloths, and cover the furniture. You are motivated to get this done so you can finally enjoy being in your bedroom.
Understanding the reason for doing a project is one of the best ways for you to get things done.
Is this the best use of my time right now?
Think about the list of things you want to do. Next, think about how much time you have available right now. Do you have 30 minutes until your next meeting? Allow some time to get to your meeting even if it is just signing onto a Zoom call. Also, allow a little time to wrap up. You honestly have about 20 minutes.
What can you do in 20 minutes?
You can stretch your legs. This is always a good idea if your work is at a desk in front of a computer. Maybe take a short walk. This will refresh your mind and give you new energy for your meeting.
If you’re low on energy, you can get a snack. There’s plenty of time to get a glass of water and a piece of fruit. While you’re in the kitchen you can empty the dishwasher or put the dishes that are in the sink in the dishwasher.
Maybe you remember that you started a load of laundry before you went into your office. You can put that load into the dryer. Then set the timer or your phone or watch to go back and fold that load when the dryer is finished.
There are lots of things you can do with your time. Think about what you want to accomplish and how much time you have available.
Sometimes, the best use of your time is to sit quietly with your eyes closed and let your body and mind relax.
Decide what the best use of the time will be and then use it. Act on your decision so you don’t say to yourself later, “I wish I had taken advantage of those 20 minutes to do something productive”.
The best way for you to get things done is to know how to use your time. Asking the question, is this the best use of my time right now may help you take action and tackle a few quick tasks on your list.
Use the 3 questions above to help yourself figure out the best way to get things done. The answers to the questions will change according to the circumstance. When you are stuck and find yourself without motivation to be productive sit down and write out the answers to the questions. Once you know your true reason you may find it easier to move forward.
If you are still stuck and would like some accountability, consider joining the Clear Space for You virtual support group Jonda Beattie and I run together.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia
You know me. I’m all about the quality of the questions. When we’re stuck or trying to decide, the questions we ask are key to moving forward. So the three you gave about preferences for envisioning projects, why you’re doing a project, and if the timing is good now are excellent ways to figure things out. The great news is that there are no wrong responses. Good questions help us stay curious and provide clues for how we work best. But they also help to ground and direct us when the going gets wobbly. So knowing why you want to do something or understanding how much time you have to bring it to fruition are great places to begin. Once you get started, keep asking more questions. Nurturing curiosity and awareness bring about growth and surprising discoveries.
You are so right, Linda. Being curious and continuing to press yourself to question are important. Just as being mindful – paying attention to the responses and acknowledging your feelings – are also important here.
What a great way of looking at these things. I’ve gotten better at asking and answer the “why” of whatever I’m doing. Is my “why” for not doing what I planned to do inertia or self-soothing? Am I doing this project to satisfy someone else’s goals or my own. Guarding one’s boundaries (even against oneself) is really important. If I accomplish figuring out the “why?” of it, things go fairly smoothly, as I’m much better about identifying whether this the best use of my time. I’m only at ease when things aren’t hanging over my head, so using my time for what I MUST do is easy, and fitting in those 20-minutes-or-fewer tasks goes well. It’s those wide swaths of time where I have nothing to do and could do ANYthing that are a challenge. (I’m one of the few non-retirees I know who has too much unused time!) Thanks for the great rubric for getting more (of value) done!
I so appreciate your comment, Julie. Boundaries are a huge issue for many of my clients. Starting with understanding yourself and your motivation are key to keep moving forward.