Are you feeling overwhelmed?

How to Get a Lot Done In a Little Bit of Time

by Heather Gilmore, LLMSW

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Life seems so busy these days. It can feel like you have a never-ending to-do list and that other people need you constantly. You might feel like you have no time to yourself. Our society is demanding us to be in a hurry and to rush, rush, rush. It can feel like you are expected to do more than you can humanly accomplish. It's okay. You can have peace and live a productive life, as well. I will list some tips that can help you to overcome these feelings of being overwhelmed and not measuring up to your own or to others expectations.

1. Let go of expectations.

Expectations lead to disappointment. I'm not saying that expectations are never useful, because they are. Expectations can help us to set and reach goals for ourselves. However, when we expect ourselves to get 30 hours of work done in a 24-hour day, eventually it will catch up to us and problems will start creeping our way.

2. Clarify your goals.

Make a list of your goals. What do you see for yourself in the future (like one year and five years down the line)? This will help you to understand why you are doing the things you are doing today and to stop doing the things that maybe aren't the best ways to spend your time.

Slideshow: How to Reach Your Goals

3. Make a to-do list.

Write down all of the things that you need to do (without getting too obsessive). This helps you to have a better picture of what you need to do, which is the first step in actually getting things done. Also, writing things down can help empty our minds and release some stress related to feeling like there is so much to do. It is also important to take the time to organize. Yes, having our home organized is important, but that's for another day. Right now, I am talking about helping your mind to get organized. It will help you be more productive in getting things done.

4. Rate your to-do's.

Place a "1" by the things that need to get done today. Place a "2" by the things that are very important, but can wait a little bit. And place a "3" by the things that you need to do, but it's not that big of a deal if you don't get to them for a while.

5. Start doing your #1's!

It doesn't really matter what order, unless something is pressing to be done right this second. Just start moving and checking off your list. Do what you can today, but remember not to set the bar too high. You might not be able to get everything done off your list today, but something is better than nothing. And you should be proud of yourself for accomplishing the things that you do get done. Your time will also be taken up by regular daily things, like the kids, cooking, baby crying (if you have a baby), taking a shower (if you get to that today), and all those kinds of things.

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6. Take a pause at the end of the day and feel good about what you did today.

Appreciate yourself and be satisfied with your efforts. Give yourself a little break at the end of the day to rest and do things (even for just a few minutes) that are not productive. Overworking yourself is not the answer to getting more things done, not in the long run anyway.

So, this is a strategy you can use to getting a lot of things done in a little bit of time. To make this process even more effective, remember to live in the moment. Try not to worry about the long list you just created; just think about and do the thing you are choosing to do right now. This will make you happier and lower your stress levels, as well (both of those things being productivity boosters).

Reviewed June 2017

Take the Next Step:

  • Follow these guidelines and increase your productivity. Being more productive could put other goals within reach!
  • An organized home can save you quite a bit. The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to an Organized Home can help you save both time and money getting organized and staying organized.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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