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How to Get Stuff Done

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I was a chronic procrastinator. Big time. Then I realized that it was doing me no good. Here are a few ways to get things done.

We all have things on our to do list that we don’t like doing. It’s just a fact of life. One way to be sure we get the things done on our list, is to do those things first. If you find yourself facing a difficult task, get right down to business. If you put it off, you’ll just end up wasting energy thinking about it, says Alyse Nelson of Vital Voices. She’s the CEO of the company and has trained more than 10 thousand women across the globe. She says we should “tackle challenges head on, or they start to seem insurmountable.”

If your day is jam packed visiting clients, going to meetings or working on proposals, it may not seem like you have a lot of spare time. It’s important to carve out some me time in your day. Stacy Brown-Philpot of Google Ventures says she takes 15 minutes every day to “just think.” She adds, “I have no other responsibility than to consider how the day is going and what I still need to do.” If there is a project you need to get done and don’t want any distractions, send the kids to grandma’s house for the weekend and just have at it. Writer Heather McDonald, author of My Inappropriate Life says to set aside time for projects you care about. You’ll feel like you “accomplished a ton.” I remember when we first moved in to the house, Glen and I needed to paint some of the rooms in the house. They were still decorated for little girls and we wanted grown up space, so we set aside two weekends and worked on nothing but the house. We started Friday after work and just kept going until the painting was done. By the time we finished, the house felt like ours and we really had a sense of accomplishment.

If you’ve been told one thing, but you can see that nothing is moving in that direction, speak up. Dawn Zimmer, Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey says her city was hit very hard by Hurricane Sandy. She was told that the National Guard was coming, but when she saw they were nowhere in sight, she said so in an interview on CNN. As soon as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie heard about it, he sent them in immediately. Dawn says that we need to be our own advocate and not wait on others. She adds that, “You have to keep asking, advocating, and looking at things from different angles.” I remember when I was working in one particular job and we needed something. I kept asking and asking and asking and when it wasn’t taken care of within a satisfactory amount of time, I took it upon myself to ask someone else who had the ball rolling within a few days. If only I had asked sooner.

One way to get ahead of all the tasks of the day is to make the most of your morning. If you have a lot of emails to return, go in early and start writing. Jana Fleishman of media relations company Roc Nation says, “At that hour nobody is answering you, and you can actually go through emails and get organized.” If you know you’re going to have to work late and don’t have time to get to the gym after work, find an early spinning class and do it before work. Fridays are usually a pretty busy day for me, so I come in early starting on about Wednesday and get a head start on Friday so I’m not here until three and four in the afternoon on Fridays. Yeah, it’s not the most fun getting up a half an hour early, but having my tasks completed and the weekend started by 2pm on Friday is totally worth it.

How Do You Get Things Done?

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