How to Get More Done in Less Time: 3 Tips to Triple Your Productivity

How to Get More Done in Less Time: 3 Tips to Triple Your Productivity
22 Jul 2015

Truth be told, I’m more than a bit productivity-obsessed. In my mind, there’s nothing better than getting more done in less time so I can have space in my life to spend stress-free moments with the people I love.  That means, I’m all about getting stuff done, but not taking forever to do it! If that sounds like you, then feel free to make use of my top three tips for putting productivity on MAXX!


 Tip 1.  Use the 400K List Method

To-do lists, of course, are not a revolutionary concept. But how you approach this daily task, in my experience, makes all the difference in the world. For me, the best approach out there was designed by Ivy Lee, an early twentieth century productivity consultant who was hired by Charles Schwab to maximize the efficiency of his team.  Ivy initially provided his services free of charge, telling Schwab to only pay him what he thought his approach was worth after 90 days of implementation. Three months later, he got a check for today’s equivalent of $400,000! I’d call that revolutionary, indeed. Here’s the nearly half-million dollar technique:

Step 1:  At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish the next day. Do not, under any circumstances, list more than six things and always complete this task a day in advance.

Step 2:  Prioritize your list in order of importance (this part is key)

Step 3:  The next day begin work immediately on the first task and only move on to the second after the first task is complete.

Step 4:  Continue down the list in the same way, until either your list is completed or your day is done.  What’s not finished by the end of your workday, simply gets transferred to the next day’s list.


Why this Works:

The 400K Method works because it forces you to prioritize and focus; two things that are absolutely crucial for true productivity. In my eyes, being productive doesn’t simply mean getting a lot of stuff done. True productivity requires getting important things done consistently. When you implement this technique, you’ll be shocked at how easily and consistently you’ll complete critical tasks and earn the reputation of being the go-to person successfully completing things that matter.


Tip 2:  Take Frequent Breaks

To maximize the quality of your work, and make sure your energy and focus persists throughout the day, you must give yourself frequent mental breaks.  Believe me, the difference between good and great is typically dependent upon the sharpness of your mind while completing the specific task at hand. To stay sharp all day long, you must build in regular intervals for mental relaxation.

Simply set a timer for a block of time to focus your attention on work (30-90 minutes max) and when that timer goes off, STOP!  Get up! Go for a walk. Listen to music. Take a 10 minute nap. Something! The point is, you need to completely disconnect your mind from what you were doing in order to return to it with a fresh perspective and renewed vigor.


Tip 3:  Make Friday Your Planning Day

To be clear, I’m not saying Friday should be a day fully devoted to planning. Not at all. Just as any other workday, on Friday you want to work through your list of prioritized tasks like a BOSS! But when it comes to determining what your priorities should be for the entire week, guess what, Friday is the day to do it.  That means, team meetings are best held on Fridays instead of Mondays.

This gives you and your team the ability to review what worked well and what fell short over the course of the week while it’s still fresh in everyone’s mind.  Then take the time to prioritize the week ahead so you can begin the weekend having resolved any lingering questions or disappointments about that week’s agenda and with a plan for how to move forward the following week.  When folks come in on Monday, they hit the ground running, knowing exactly what the week’s priorities are, and exactly what they need to do to move the ball forward.  You’ll be surprised how much of a momentum-booster this simple scheduling change will make.

Now if you’re a solopreneur, the same reasoning applies to you.  Carve out time on Fridays to review and assess the progress you’ve made throughout the week.  Determine what worked well, what didn’t, and why.  Then develop new goals for the following week and have those goals migrate (in the form of tasks) to your daily 400K List.

Remember, to create a holistic life you love, eliminating the mental baggage that comes with lingering thoughts of unfinished tasks is a must!  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.  How would mastering the art of productivity improve your life?  And what other methods have you found to be effective for getting more done in less time?


Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever is an Author, International Speaker, and Peak Performance Coach.  She has a passion for helping executives and entrepreneurs experience accelerated and elevated levels of success while also creating a holistic life they love.  To get regular tips, information and inspiration on how you can create the career and life you’ve always imagined, log on to to learn more about her services.

Photo by Matt Gibson

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