10 Best Tips for Achieving More in Less Time

1. Positive attitude
People who accomplish a lot start with a positive point of view and an optimistic approach. They visualize their desired outcome and then figure out a way to get there. Since negativity slows things down and adds shades of doubt, they do not let themselves think or talk negatively, and they don’t accept negativity from their friends or colleagues. These views present roadblocks to your drive and success. It’s best to adopt an “I know I can do it” attitude. Even the “I think I can” mantra leaves room for doubt, indecision, and failure. When you “know” you can do it, you will. To succeed, your frame of mind must be confident and strong.

2. Focus on one thing at a time
image of a clockNo doubt many of us have boasted about our ability to multi-task; however, from what we’ve seen, true achievers dig in and concentrate on one task until it’s completed or the scheduled time is up. While multi-tasking seems like a good idea, it often leads to finding your place (once again) and switching gears as you move from one project to the next.

It might be worth a try for you to stick to your schedule and focus on one thing at a time. You might just find that you have accomplished much more than usual and will have several projects completed on time and without nearly as much stress. Trust in your abilities, and strive for mastery and excellence in everything you do. Your persistence and hard work will pay off.

3. Do the most important things first
Trust in your abilities. Successful people are not afraid to give the time necessary to do their best. Each day brings a long to-do list for many. Some of these things are optional. Some are critical. It’s important to prioritize your work. Do the important things first, while you have the energy and focus. You will find satisfaction once the task is complete.

If working on a complex project, tackle one step of the project before moving on to other items on your mental list. Try making a list for a week that honestly starts with the more important tasks (whether you like to do them or not). Zip through them and move on to the other items. We think you’ll find at the end of the week that you have accomplished more than usual and felt lighter and happier in the process.

4. Set reasonable, achievable goals
We hear a lot about setting goals, and making them reasonable and achievable. As we listen to people who are achievers, it seems this is good advice. Take the time to understand what your goals are, then write them down. Reach high. A stretch is good, but only if you are ready to reach that high. Decide if your goals are achievable given your time, skills and resources. If not, make the necessary adjustments and restate your goals. It takes a little practice, and once you’ve expressed your goals realistically to yourself, you can set a reasonable plan to accomplish them.

The counterpart to your goals is your action plan. You can’t be productive in a timely manner without a plan. Schedule the steps needed for success. It can also be motivating to share your goals and action plan with a trusted colleague or friend who will help support you in your efforts. Be decisive. Faithfully follow your plan.

5. Schedule events, actions, projects
Your calendar is the perfect place for scheduling your tasks. Whether it’s personal or professional, the task or event should appear on your calendar. Try to have only one calendar; it’s too demanding to juggle multiple calendars. The accomplished people we know try to keep it simple and all in one place. Since time is your most valuable resource, schedule it to your best advantage. Procrastination is not productive. Once you have created your calendar with solid reasoning, don’t accept excuses or move tasks to another day. There is a saying: “Luck favors those who are prepared.”

6. Efficient use of time
Clearly, efficient people have learned to make good use of their time. They eliminate time wasters and interruptions. They think carefully about how they have used their time and make a mental note to stop doing the things that sabotage their best results. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of someone else’s agenda or working on trivial tasks. There’s a time for everything, and we need to ask if this is the best use of our time. If not, decide on a better time (or say no) and move on with your original plan.

There are many things that steal our time, and ultimately, we have control over most of them. We can get rid of useless memberships and subscriptions, and better manage our emails, phone calls, meetings, and distractions. Successful people declutter their space for a relaxing, productive experience. Take a few minutes to assess the areas where you spend a lot of time. Are they conducive to productivity? Do they provide a peaceful and relaxing setting? If not, schedule some time to correct it. You’ll feel better and your days will be filled with a more relaxed and enthusiastic attitude.

7. Delegate
Because we often have more projects than can be completed without superhero status, we have learned that delegating is a wise strategy. Busy people find many ways to delegate necessary tasks. At home, you can delegate and share the workload with spouses and children. Children will learn the lessons of teamwork and responsibility. Spouses will benefit by sharing the many tasks necessary in running a household and raising children.

You can also find someone to help with errands and yard work to help free up your time for other activities. In business, you may be able to delegate some tasks to a colleague or employee. You can also delegate outside your company. An example might be to find a reliable company to revise and update your website for better marketing results. Reach out and ask for a good referral to someone who would be a good resource for the help you need. Ask questions to make sure they will be well aligned with your needs and values.

8. Keep learning
The successful people we observe are life-long learners who invest in themselves. They are curious and inquisitive. They read and study. You can set aside time to read each day. Audio books range from educational to motivational, non-fiction to business, and scientific to political. You can make use of your time cooking, cleaning or driving to read many more books than imagined. You can join a book club, take classes at a local university or community education center, or learn from experts in their field at workshops and seminars.

You can also schedule meetings with successful business people to learn more about possible business opportunities or how you might benefit from their knowledge of a specific topic. As an example, you can read educational articles like this from a trusted resource to better understand how you could improve your online marketing campaign.

9. Take good care of yourself
Your health is THE most important thing of all. Successful people adopt healthy habits for sleep, eating, exercising, and drinking water. They stay balanced emotionally and physically. They watch less TV and explore the world around them. They schedule time for family and friends, laughter and celebrations. We have found that success people make their health a priority. They schedule time for exercise and plan healthy meals. You can find someone to help you if this is a challenge for you. An example might be finding a trusted company that plans menus and recipes for a more manageable, healthy mealtime routine.

10. Balance your life
A lot of books have been written on finding balance in your work and family life. It’s obviously an issue for many people. Life is busy. Again, we suggest that setting priorities is a key factor. Look at how you spend your time and if one segment is consuming more time than you’d like, make a new plan to equalize your time and enjoyment in most areas. Talk with family and colleagues about your goals and make a plan together that promises better balance.

Once you feel more balanced, you will feel less stressed and will undoubtedly accomplish more. Wherever you are—at work or enjoying personal time—give it your complete attention. Be there. Give it 100%. Let people know that when you’re at work, you’re working; and when you’re at home, you are focusing on your family. They will respect you for it.

We hope you have enjoyed this article and that it has given you some food for thought. Life changes can be made—one simple step at a time. You deserve to enjoy the life you have chosen and make the most of each day. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with others who might benefit as well. Thank you!

Phong Nguyen

BA from St. Olaf College
MBA from University of St. Thomas
SEO from "the School of Hard Knocks."

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