My Secrets to Gettin’ It Done

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gettingitdoneI’m often asked how I get so much done.

Which always surprises me because I am constantly feeling like I’m not doing enough!

I’m not sure that I actually get any more done then the next person, but with most of my work being shared, what I do do is much more visible to you. That being said, I work really hard on staying on top of life and crank a lot of work out the door. Each year I submit a survey to the Boston Business Journal for the Area’s Largest Meeting and Event Planners where I have to provide the number of events I do, the number of clients I have, the number of employees, etc. I typically rank about 20 out of the list of 25, but invariably, the editor pings me each year and says, “I think there is a mistake on your survey. Do you really only have two employees for that many events?”

Um…yep and they are only contractors and work part time.

It’s not about getting more done. It’s about having less to do. Focusing on what is most essential to have the biggest impact with the least amount of effort. I focus on what is most important for me to do, and I either don’t do the rest, or the items that have to be done by someone, I delegate.

For the work in my life that I have to do—and this includes my work for my “real” company Celebrate, my writing and video work for Just Jennessa, my volunteer work and then my life and family responsibilities—I have a few strategies that I’ve honed through the years. Here are a few of my secrets.

Sitting is My Kiss of Death
This is by far my most successful tip, so we will start here. I rarely sit down, because once I do, I may not get up again! Once my feet hit the floor in the morning, I’m on the go. I even have a standing desk in my office, because I found that I would sit down and never get up. Even when I was done working, I would sit there and waste time online, etc. So sitting to me has become a reward. When the kids are off to school, camp, etc. I will sit to have my breakfast and to read my daily news and then I’m back up to work. I then don’t sit for any length of time until after dinner and when I do, I fall into a heap!

Tickle Me Organized
I’ve shared this system with you before, so you can check out the full description here, but in essence, I utilize a tickler file and threw out list making 9 years ago. It was liberating, and a system that I have used daily for those 9 years. I don’t know about you, but when I make a list, it’s not a list for today, it’s a list of everything that I’ll ever need to do in my lifetime and it becomes so overwhelming, that I start ticking off the easiest items just so that I can feel like I’m getting somewhere, even though I know that I’m not. And don’t even get me started on doing something that wasn’t on the list, then adding it to the list just so that I can cross it off! So the tickler makes you put one task/item on one sheet of paper and you put it into the folder for the day you are going to work on it. It keeps you laser focused on what needs to be done right now, but also gives you a system of collecting all of the tasks you will need to do for your lifetime.  You can also easily move and defer items without losing them.

I am Timer Obsessed
Again, if you’ve followed me for long enough, you know that I have an obsession with my timer. While I’m working, I set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on the task at hand without taking calls, checking emails, going online, etc. for that 25 minutes. I then give myself 5 minutes of “free time” at the conclusion of the 25 minutes. I must leave my office/move around during that 5 minutes. On the weekends when I’m doing my Sunday Cookingpalooza I set my timer in 15 minute increments—15 minutes cleaning, then 15 minutes in the kitchen, and then repeat until everything is prepped and ready for the week.

I Use the 1-3-5 Method
This is one of my newer methods that I have adopted from my friend Barbara who recently gave a workshop on the topic in NYC. The idea is to focus on one “big” or important item for the day—one of those things that you tend to put off! Then you do three smaller tasks and then once those are done, you can do five quick items—you know the ones you tend to do first so you can see some progress! It forces you to do the opposite of what is human nature and that’s why it is so effective! So as I sort through all of my sheets of paper from my tickler for the week, I sort them by a 1, 3 or 5 task and then I select the appropriate number from each pile for each day. Sometimes I get them all done…sometimes I don’t, but by focusing on the most important item first, you get big rewards!

Have any awesome tips you would like to share? Please do, I’m always looking for new ideas to spice up my productivity! (Don’t judge!)

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