This is what everyone wants to know, right? How can we get more stuff done in the same amount of time without losing our minds? Some might require a color-coordinated calendar, others a gallon of coffee, but regardless of your poison, you need more hours in the day and you don’t know where to find them. Well, I’m here to help. It all starts with a list.

Write a To-Do List

To-Do List

It’s not that easy, you say. I’ll lose it, you say. It’s pointless, you say. I say, you’re wrong. Whether you want to use Google Calendar and Tasks, Apple Mail and Evernote, or a little moleskin book you store in your underwear, keeping a to-do list is a great way to get more stuff done. Make sure it is always accessible, so you can add to it while you’re at the grocery store or on the treadmill. You should always, and I mean always, include things you’ve already completed, or have almost completed. This way you can write the list, and start your day by crossing a few things off. You can even add meals, just so you feel productive. Either way, that little high you get from crossing something off that list will help you work your way through the rest of it.

The More You Do, The More You Can Do


If your teacher gives you five homework questions, you’ll probably do them at the beginning of the following class, right before the lecture begins. If she gives you 500 questions, you’ll probably start answering them as soon as you walk out of the classroom. If your body and brain are active and awake, and you’re challenging yourself, you’re going to be more capable. You know, idle hands and the Devil’s playground and all that. If you have more to do, you will get more done. It’s all about momentum. Instead of saying you’ll do something if you have time, simply make time. What are you doing with your lunch break? Do you really need to spend 3 hours watching TV at night? Are you sure it makes sense to make meals-from-scratch 5 nights a week? Instead of keeping your free time “free,” you should schedule in things you need or want to do – like taking that pottery class, or attending a book club. Sign up with a friend, and you’ll miraculously find the time to go.


Turn off the Television

Turn off the TV

You will be surprised how much time you can reap from your day when you turn off your television. It’s easy to let 30 minutes of relaxation turn into 2 hours on the couch “taking a break.” Opt for music instead. Listening to music is very conducive to multitasking, and can certainly improve your mood and increase your brain waves. Turn off the Kardashians, and hang out with your friends on iTunes instead while you fold laundry, prepare meals, or organize your address book. Better yet, listen to the news, informative podcasts, or audio files for learning a language! Multitasking at its finest.


Prepare For “Waiting” Time

Waiting Room

Taking advantage of spare moments is a skill I’m proud of. We’re talking writing papers on my work break, studying flashcards on the bus, and drafting emails without Internet. Do you sit for 30 minutes in the doctor’s office before you’re called? Do you spend hours on public transportation, or sitting in traffic? What about at work? Do you have lag time when you’re not expected to complete tasks? Find these empty hours in your day and fill them with productivity.

If you’re studying, bring notecards with you everywhere. If you’re learning a language, have your iPod loaded and ready with audio files all the time, if you’re just a busy person in general, update, organize, and schedule your to-do list during this time, or draft emails on your device so they’ll be sent next time you have Internet.


Finally, the Calendar


Use a calendar or planner to organize your days at the beginning of the week, or even several weeks in advance. If you see that you have 2 extra hours of time on Thursday, schedule activities, errands, or a nap.. Get up earlier and knock out a few to-do items while the rest of the world is resting, then if you have 30 minutes here and there, plan for a power nap or even some “me-time” with a book.

Now get off the Internet and go be productive!