A lot of people ask me how I get so much work done. So I figured I’d explain how I’ve learned to be ridiculously efficient. I don’t always follow all these rules, but the closer I follow them, the more work I get done.
Rule 1) Organize everything
Until about a year ago, all my to-do lists were in Google docs. It worked OK, until I had 1 doc linking to 7 other 19-page docs. That wasn’t working.
I switched over to Trello which is LIFE-CHANGING. DO IT. I have a board for every job/side-project on which I’m working. I also have one for personal matters like what hair stylist I use and things I need to remember to buy. Each has lists organizing things I need to do/remember.
I also keep a board for my calendar and everything I need to remember to do ASAP. That includes writing social copy for blog posts under one list, another for my normal calendar of things I need to do today, and another for things I need to do in the coming weeks.
Rule 2) Automate everything you can
IFTTT = life. It allows you to automate tons of things.
Every time a new blog goes up on The Weekly Standard, IFTTT sends a card to my Daily Trello board, under the list “blog posts.” That way I remember to write social copy for the blog, and can delete the blog card in Trello when I’m done.
Another recipe sends me a text once a month reminding me to pay rent. My phone volume automatically turns off when I come into the office, and on when I come home.
Literally anything I need to remember to do is automatically sent to me as a reminder or taken care of.
Rule 3) Use Google sheets for big non-schedule lists
I have a Google spreadsheet with 3 pages: UTM code maker for social media, Facebook social copy I’ve written, and Twitter copy I’ve written. Once a new blog post is posted, I write social copy, make UTM codes, then paste them into the spreadsheet that’s organized by topic. It keeps me organized and efficient, so I don’t have to make a UTM code + social copy every few minutes. I do it all at once and store it there.
Rule 4) Keep your projects separate
You’ll be tempted to use 1 email for all work/personal/side project matters. Don’t. Every part of your life has a different pace, so keeping everything in one email will make you lose track of things. Use different tabs in your browser for each email.
Rule 5) Get another screen
I keep a second screen up that has a ton of Tweetdeck columns, my Trello TODAY board, and Trendsmap. Yours will look different, so just use a second screen for what you always need to keep an eye on.
Rule 6) Eat healthy and exercise
This will give you more energy to do work. Just do what works for you.
Rule 7) Take work breaks
I rarely take breaks from work during the day. Instead, I take work breaks—doing work I enjoy in between work I enjoy less.
Rule 8) Be better with emails
Take time every day to reply to more. I’ve become horrible this way (SORRY!!!)
Rule 9) Multitask
It’s not for everyone, but if you can do it, do. I’m never doing nothing at work, and usually doing 2 or 3 things. If there’s a spare moment, I’m doing something while waiting. Don’t waste time at work if you can avoid it.
And if you can do 2 things well at once, do! Test it out and see what works for you.
Rule 10) Breathe
When you’re crazy stressed, close your eyes and breathe. Do things that make you smile or relax you when you need to. I read the Tosh.0 blog when I need to relax.
Rule 11) Say no to new work sometimes
I love my work, which makes it hard for me to tell someone I don’t have the time to help with their project, because I usually really want to. So now I consider what I have time for, and whether I like or LOVE what they’re doing. If I can make time for something I LOVE, I will.
Rule 12) Do the amount of work that makes you happy
Obviously do your job, but if you don’t want to take on lots of extra things, don’t. It’s ok to be normal. It’s just not for me :)