5 Ways to Do Less and Get it All Done

by Jessica ThiefelsApril 2, 2018

Chances are you’ve heard the saying “work smarter, not harder.” But how does one actually do less and get it all done? Is it really possible to check off every little thing on your to-do list without burning the candle at both ends?
Steering wheel covered in colorful sticky notes as a reminder of errands to do.
The answer is yes! You just have to remember to do a few things first, learn to say no to others, and remember that time is your most valuable asset. Here are five ways to better manage your time, become more productive, and get things done.

Learn to Say “No”

If you struggle to get it all done, it’s likely that you have a hard time saying “no” to either co-workers, friends or family members. Yet, saying “yes” to everyone’s requests doesn’t do you any good either. It does just the opposite, adding even more tasks to your never-ending to-do list.

Learn to say “no” to people who want commitments that don’t contribute enough value to your life or that you don’t feel strongly about. After all, your time is valuable and there are only 24 hours in a day. While you may want to say “yes” to a dinner party to be polite, ask yourself first: Do I really care about going to this? If the answer is “no,” reply as such and enjoy an evening with no plans or a much-needed chance to catch-up on things you’ve already scheduled.

Know When to Enlist Help

If you’re a take-charge person who likes to do things on your own, things can and will get hectic. While there’s nothing more gratifying than completing a difficult task, some things are left better to the experts or someone who has more time.

Take home remodeling, for example. Home DIY projects are fun, but there’s a lot that can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing or don’t have the right support. Oftentimes, you end up spending more time and money on the project than you would have if you’d hired a professional.
Young woman sitting on the floor of her new home next to a cardboard box with new furniture as she reads the instruction manual in a DIY and renovation concept.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just ask yourself: What can I delegate? Then do it.

Value Your Time

Think of your time in monetary value. In other words, how much is your time is really worth? Not all uses of time are equal. Take laundry, for example. Did you know that it takes an upwards of 100 minutes to do a single load of laundry, according to data from CD One Price Cleaners?

While having clean clothes is important, it’s not worth 100 minutes of your time—time that could be spent completing more important tasks such as doing your taxes or setting up an investment portfolio.

Start outsourcing less “meaningful tasks” like laundry, which you can hire a wash and fold service to-do. Don’t forget about delegating even the most menial tasks, like waiting in line at the cell phone store, which you can hire someone from TaskRabbit to do instead (yes, you can actually hire someone else to do that for you!).
A woman in laundry room kneeling in front of washing machine with a basket of clothes at her feet.
If anything, at least find ways to multi-task while completely one large, daunting task.

Limit Unwanted Distractions

We all have distractions in life, whether it’s young children at home or that pile of dishes in the sink that keeps growing and growing.

While you can’t eliminate all distractions from life, you can limit and avoid them. For example, rather than work on multiple tasks aimlessly (which only 2 percent of people can do effectively) allow yourself a certain amount of time to work on each one separately. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done, and often, in less time.

This enables you to concentrate on one task for a pre-determined amount of time and avoid getting distracted by other looming tasks. Below are additional ways to limit distractions:

  • Turn off phone notifications
  • Remove physical clutter
  • Establish routines
  • Give yourself frequent breaks

Prioritize Your To-Do List

We can all agree that it’s easy to make a to-do list. But when it comes down to executing that list, it’s not so easy. The secret to getting things done on your to-do list is prioritizing and being realistic.
Aerial view shot of woman sitting at table with laptop and coffee writing on notebook. Female making to do list on diary.
Not only should you put the most important things at the top, but don’t be overzealous. The less you get done, the harder on yourself you’ll be. On the other hand, if you only have two or three things on your list, and you get them all done and then some, you feel and are more productive.

Start Getting More Done Now

Doing less and getting it all done is not easy, but with the five tips and tricks above you’ll be more productive, less stressed and may even finally get it all done.

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About The Author
Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years. She is currently a lifestyle blogger and the editor of Whooo’s Reading and Carpe Daily. When she's not writing or editing, she's trying new DIY projects around the house or training fitness clients.