Every day we build a whole lot of plans and set tasks that need to be done. But most of us often face our inability to comply with our plans, as we skip two or three tasks regularly.
In the world, where productivity is a new religion it’s vitally important to know how to get things done. But why people still cannot stick to a plan?
There’s a notion in psychology called the Akrasia Effect, or inability to follow through. This effect is explained by our inability to estimate our true abilities and build feasible plans. As a result, we fail to perform well and our productivity suffers.
So how can you improve yourself and finally get things done? Here are 5 major laws to follow.
Law #1: Stick to Your Morning Routine
No, don’t worry, routine doesn’t always mean something boring. Quite on the contrary: if you have a morning routine, you’ll be able to feel more energized and will accomplish more.
One of the major components of a morning routine should be waking up early. A well-known psychologist Ray Williams says that the early-risers have great advantages at work and are generally much healthier than those who prefer to sleep late. So if you want to become more efficient in what you do, you definitely should set an alarm on 6 A.M.
Any morning routine should include morning exercise as a way to wake up and fill the body with oxygen and energy. But generally, try to make your morning not too hectic. Otherwise, you might spoil the whole day.
Law #2: Schedule, Schedule, Schedule!
Scheduling and productivity go hand in hand. But to avoid the above-mentioned Akrasia effect, you need to evaluate your abilities before you start planning.
To do that you can follow the SMART planning model. SMART here is an acronym for:
- Specific – avoid abstract and general plans, they are likely to never get fulfilled. Try to specify why you need to do this or that task;
- Measurable – specify the tools you will employ to do this task;
- Achievable – ask yourself whether you can definitely do this task or not (or need some help);
- Realistic (or also Relevant) – is this task really important to you?
- Trackable – how much time you’ll need to do this task.
SMART model is a great way to measure your abilities and set priorities, which is crucial for good planning.
Law #3: Learn How to Say “No”
This is also a way to set priorities. When you are determined to do all the tasks on your to-do list, learn how to say “No” to distractions that interrupt you, otherwise, you’ll lose your productive mood. Carrie Ashton, who’s a sophomore student, knows this problem very well: “First I just couldn’t force myself to say “No” to my roommate, who always interrupted me while I was busy with homework. But soon enough I understood how much it affects my productivity. So now when I write my essay or prepare for a seminar, I don’t allow anyone to distract me.”
To get things done faster and better, saying “No” to any distractions is crucial. It will make you more focused and determined to do what needs to be done.
Law #4: De-Clutter Your Space
Researchers at the Yale University have found that clutter affects your brain and gets you distracted. Hence, your productivity suffers. They found that anterior cingulate cortex and insula that light up when you feel physical pain, also light up when you react to clutter surrounding you.
So one of the main laws of getting things done better and more effectively is to get rid of clutter. When your space is neat and organized, you’ll notice that your thoughts are getting more structured, you’re calm and possessed. When everything is clean and in order, you’ll definitely feel more productive.
Law #5: Get Enough Sleep
If you want to spend your day determined to do everything you’ve planned then go and get some sleep. Quality and quantity of sleep matters when we talk about productivity. Sleep-deprived people tend to be more irritable and unorganized compared to those who sleep 7-8 hours a night.
Sleep helps us get rid of the negative energy we’ve saturated ourselves during the day, calms our mind and body. It’s a natural healing process that is crucial for our health. After a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel more energized which consequently increases your ability to get more things done.
Drawing a conclusion…
Being more productive is a skill: the more you work on it, the more productive you become. These essential laws are the basis for becoming productive and getting things done. Challenge yourself and try following them for a month. Soon they’ll become your habits and with their help you’ll be able to get things done better and faster.