I have a habitual problem with slowness. Not with how I walk or talk, but how I get to things. And how I get to a point of being able to focus on what I am focusing on. It is a constant, daily exercise for me to work on these struggles, and I have learned a few tricks over the years which have helped me to squeeze in a little more work each time. Making these extra efforts helps me to keep abreast of my own affairs.
Here’s a quick list of 16 of my sneaky techniques:
- Add one or two more points. Get that much closer to starting the next thing on your list by wrapping up the project you are currently doing with gusto. Use that energy to push you forward rather than letting yourself come to a cold, hard stop. Jot down some ideas to help you gear up for the next project on your list.
- Drop one or two items. For example, if you are thinking of buying items off a supply list, see where you might be able to shave off some time by re-purposing what you already own. Save yourself some moolah in the process.
- Shorten what you need to write. This particularly works well when writing texts and e-mails. This also often helps to increase the clarity of your message.
- Change your style and/or format. As in Tip #3, this works well with texts and e-mails. A formal e-mail exchange might end up looking like a list of bullet points by the time you are through.
- Batch your items. Bundle your work rather than spreading it out over time. For instance, you can tackle all your laundry at once. Batch your work so you don’t have to waste time stopping and starting it again and repeating the process needlessly.
- Make a conscious effort to work quickly. Remind yourself of all the good stuff you want to get to after your hard work is done. Refresh your work speed by reading “Do Things Quickly.”
- Break things up. This is the opposite of Tip #5, but sometimes it’s good to switch things up to increase your productivity and speed.
- Stop and evaluate what is going on when you find yourself working at a particularly slow pace. Do you need to get a drink of water? Do you need to eat? Do you need to find a work buddy?
- Jot down a quick list of what needs to be done to keep yourself focused. Don’t be perfectionistic or obsessional with this list. Taking two minutes to make a quick list will improve your focus right away.
- Put distracting thoughts aside. Jot them down as they pop up, so you don’t forget them and they don’t distract you. Try the Emergent Task Planner to help you manage the items from Tips #9 and #10.
- Identify what your next (small, doable) action step is. This tip never fails to get people moving.
- Decide what your point is. Sometimes we hover around “the point” and write too much, talk too much, and think too much. Figure out what is at the heart of your efforts. Then head in that direction.
- Pretend what you’re doing isn’t so important. Reducing your stress in this way can do wonders for your work speed.
- Talk about your plans with someone else. I find when coaching clients know I know what they are planning to do, there is a higher chance those items will get done. Go public with your plans.
- Make it a game. Use a timer. Challenge your colleague. Track your speeds on a spreadsheet. Make a bet with your work group. See how you might adapt the idea of gaming for productivity in your own life. De-emphasize the work, and up the fun.
- Decide it’s important. Focus by will and intention. Hone in.
There. I’ve just told you everything I know. Best of luck using these tips and creating some of your own. Let me know how you do.
What tips do you find helpful for speeding yourself up?