How to Get Things Done

Everyone likes getting things done. There is a simple but rewarding sense of gratification once you can mark something off of your list.

Take for example making your bed. You might say in your head, “oh I don’t see any sense in making my bed, I’m going to move all of the pillows and get under the covers anyhow.” In the morning when you have a million things to do, you might not realize the benefit of making your bed and consider it something that doesn’t really need to be taken care of.

My brother taught me something a while ago, if you make your bed every morning, not matter how bad your day was, no matter how little you are able to accomplish, or whatever setbacks you face, when you return home to your bed to retire, you will be rewarded with one thing where everything is in its place, pleasing and relaxing. You will be rewarded for your smallest investment and it may be your day’s greatest achievement.

Making your bed serves as a good example of what you can accomplish when you commit yourself to your goals. Keeping track of them, though is another story. If all you had to do every day was make your bed, brush your teeth, shower and go to work, you wouldn’t have much trouble keeping track of it. Unless you’re playing Will Farrell’s role in Stranger Than Fiction, that’s probably not the case, though.

In order to accomplish of the millions of things that we task ourselves with, we need to keep track of them.

We know that the human brain is powerful, in fact it is the most efficient computing device in the world, capable of of processing 2.2 billion megaflops on only 20 watts of energy. However, despite its efficiency, it isn’t always the most organized means of storage.

Sometimes we need to rely on ancient technology to tackle of some the hardest tasks.

What am I proposing? Taking a drastic measure. Uninstall your apps, ditch the Task manager in Outlook, stop fretting over your Gmail tasks not syncing with your phone and leave Evernote to tracking minutes from meetings.

What I am proposing is that you get a sheet of paper and a writing utensil and write down the things that you need to get done.

Image Courtesy of Betsy Weber by Creative Commons 2.0

Nothing will give you the satisfaction of getting things done better than taking a pen and striking a line through them as you accomplish them. As more of your tasks become completed, you will see your progress by the growing number of strike-throughs on your page. Unlike software, those completed tasks that you spent your time and effort on won’t simply disappear or transfer to your recycle bin, they will remain on the page as a visual reminder of your accomplishments.

As the page grows and more and more is crossed out, give yourself a pat on the back, you’re getting things done.

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