12 Easy Ideas to Get More Done AND Have Fun! (Updated)

When we talk about Time Management, what we're really talking about is prioritising and focusing on what's most important - and eliminating and reducing what isn't. And when we do THAT, yes, we're more productive. But being more productive isn't just about time management, it's also about knowing yourself, knowing when to keep going - and when to stop...

Try these 12 Ideas to not only get more productive, but enjoy your day more too!

1. Have a "Spacehopper" Moment!

Did you have a spacehopper as a child? The bouncy ball with handles and a smiley face? Well, if you're flagging at work - and even if you're not - take 5 minutes to do something silly or fun. Put on a favourite song and sing-along or have a boogie, play tug-of-war with the dog, watch a cute kitten video on Youtube (just ONE mind you!). Or go for a skip outside - assuming you can get over the embarrassment of being a full-grown adult who skips - this WILL put a smile on your face.

Why does this work? Well, once you've had genuine fun and felt the energy surge that goes with it, I guarantee you'll be more productive when you get back to it.

2. Set a Timer when using Social Media or Browsing the Internet

It's easy to get drawn into things - fun pictures, interesting links, updates from friends and before we know it an hour has passed and we end up late or don't get something finished that we wanted to. Sometimes these 'time-wasters' energise or give us the opportunity to play - the trick is to do it CONSCIOUSLY. But whether it's for work or pleasure, set a time limit - and then enjoy guilt and worry-free internet time. Why not use an online stopwatch to help?

3. Just 3 Things

Make a list the night before on a SPECIAL post-it pad of the 3 things you'd be disappointed, annoyed or frustrated not to achieve the next day.

As this is prioritising, you'll also need to refer to your "To do" list/action plans.

But what's different here is your items could be anything from posting a birthday card to making that follow-up call to a potential client, writing that coaching article or renewing your car insurance. Non-work stuff CAN disrupt your day, your thinking and how you feel - and that's why we include them if they're important enough.

Then, simply start EACH day tackling the first item on your day's post-it. As soon as you finish the first item, tackle the next item. When you finish that (you know what's coming here), start the final item. If you finish your 3 things with time to spare - great! You can choose to relax OR you can choose to take a look at your "To do" list again and tackle something else.

Tip: Feel free to achieve more, but DO NOT add extra items to your "Just 3 Things" daily post-it.

4. Early Birds Get the Worm: Get to all your meetings 10 minutes early

This tip is definitely counter-intuitive - but try it for a week and see the difference in how you feel!

Why does this work? Much of our lack of productivity comes from feeling stressed, overwhelmed or having a busy mind. We achieve so much more when we're calm and have a clear mind; so use those 10 minutes to meditate, stare at the clouds or flowers or reconnect with yourself. You could even write your '3 Things To Do' for the next day.

And - bonus - if you do hit roadworks or an unexpected delay, you might still arrive on time!

5. Keep it Clear: ONE day a week with NO meetings or appointments

This is your day to work on your big projects. If possible, set it up so that you only check email at the end of the day (it helps if you also checked your email last thing the previous day). Also, avoid distracting yourself on social media - for example you could set-up your posts to go the night before. If you MUST check email or social media - set a specific time to check these ONCE during your day - say just before lunch.

It also really helps to make sure everything you need for your "big project" day is set up the night before; get any folders out, pens, books etc. Also, know what you're having for lunch and snacks etc.

Now you have a clear day to work on what's really important to you - without interruptions.

6. Get Intimate with Your Personal Time-Wasters

Keep a notepad by your side for one day and note down how long you spend on what. Even better, watch your time over a week-long period with the Expose Your Hidden Time Wasters Template.

Then review your notes and become really acquainted with your unique time-wasters!

Why does this work? Knowledge is power! Once you know how you get in your own way, you can make different choices. And if you total up how much time you're wasting, you may get a shock - and choose to spend that time differently.

7. Challenge the Interruptions

This is one of the best time management tips there is. We tend to assume interruptions are important and drop what we're working on to help someone else. And while we can't stop people interrupting us, we can change how we respond.

So, next time you're interrupted, PAUSE before taking any action. Then

  1. Ask the interrupter, "How important is this?" (You may be surprised by their response).
  2. Then ask yourself, "Is this interruption more important than what I'm currently doing?"

You may also like our Interruptions Blaster! Workbook

8. Practice "Fierce Kindness"

You may prefer to chat with a friend on Facebook or a colleague at the water cooler but is this best for you? Are you going to end up rushed, late, stressed or annoyed because you didn't leave enough time or forgot something?

Real kindness is not just being sweet and nice - it's also being fierce and strong when you need to be. Fierce Kindness asks, "Is this REALLY the best for me right now?". It looks past our avoiding and delaying tactics at the big picture, and helps us do what is right for us.

9. Mind the Gaps: Identify "Filler Tasks" on your "To do" list

A "Filler Task" ideally takes less than 15 minutes to do and is perfect for the gaps in your day or to give yourself a break from bigger tasks.

Often we fill short gaps in our day (less than 30 minutes) with time-wasting or distractions, believing we can't do anything useful. Why not give yourself a boost by completing something instead!

Tip: Filler tasks are also a great way to stay productive when you're feeling tired or low energy.

10. Let Go of a Task (or) Change Your Mind (or) Say "No" to ONE thing EVERY day

It's that simple. Try it.

11. Delegate One New Thing

Do you really need to be the person to do everything on your plate? Or could someone else - a partner, friend, co-worker -  benefit, learn from or even enjoy doing one of your tasks? Give someone else the opportunity to learn something new or do you a favour - and reap the benefits!

12. Quit Work Early - Especially on an Unproductive Day!

You've worked hard today, you deserve it. Or maybe you didn't work hard! Maybe you're tired, grumpy, stressed out and overwhelmed! DO IT ANYWAY!

Call a friend and pop over for a chat, or make a cup of tea and curl up with a good book.

Why does this work? When we tie our rewards solely to hard work, this reinforces a societal belief that we ONLY deserve rest, relaxation and reward when we've earned it. This seems OK on the surface, but actually removes spontaneity - and brings judgement into our work life. Yes, we can always do better! But only when we reflect and learn from our mistakes. So, when we 'reward' ourself with an early finish on an OFF-day we're saying I deserve it anyway; we're saying I'm OK just the way I am and give myself permission to be imperfect and flawed.

And that my friend, makes us feel lighter and wonderful - and MORE ready to get back at it the next day.

So, having a bad work day? You're OK. It's OK. Why not finish early - and come back tomorrow refreshed and raring to go!

If you liked these Time Management Tips, you may also like:

Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>

One Comment

  1. Virginia Reeves

    Good tips to remember and implement. Just shared them on LinkedIn.


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