Determined to stick to your New Year’s resolutions this year? Erin Falconer, author of HOW TO GET SH*T DONE, has written the perfect book to help you accomplish all those resolutions you just set… by doing LESS. Read on for 7 easy tips and tricks to help you get started and make 2018 your best year yet.
- Intentional mornings. To mimic top performers, don’t just set an early alarm: you need to also set your mood. There’s been a lot of talk recently about morning rituals, and many leaders rely on them. Studies show that feeling happy allows us to get more done and work more creatively. Whether you exercise first thing or meditate before jumping in the shower, committing to a routine that you know will put you in a positive state of mind matters. Whatever your path to feeling positive is, do it every day so it becomes nonnegotiable, like brushing your teeth.
- First things first. Tackle your top priority first. This seems so obvious, but many of us are in the habit of blowing through some easy, mindless work to ease into the day. Few things are as motivating as progress, so crossing off your big-ticket item on your to-do list will boost your whole day. As well, self-control diminishes as the day rolls along, meaning you’re more likely to avoid a challenging task later on.
- You’ve got mail. Don’t check emails first thing.Answering emails is by definition a reactive task and we want your mornings to be proactive. I’m not going to lie: this is an extremely tough rule to follow at first. What if it’s the job offer you’ve been waiting anxiously for? Or your ex, realizing he was a damn fool? But it’s probably not those things, right? In fact, you know what most of your emails are before you even look at your phone. Gap jeans are 40 percent off, again. Your mom has a hilarious joke to share with you. And the rest can really wait. It’s just not worth it to get wrapped up in what other people want you to do in those important couple of hours in the morning.
- Avoid people. Particularly for people who work in offices, distractions are everywhere. If you can find a quiet spot, like an underused boardroom, grab it for those critical first hours of the day. If you can’t, then use other, not-so-subtle hints to get people to leave you alone. Put on headphones, even if you’re not listening to anything. If you’ve got a side hustle, get up even earlier and dedicate an hour to it before you head in to work.
- P.M. meetings. Use the later—and less sharp— part of the day for meetings, emails, and other busy- work, if possible. Not all of us have the freedom to shape the course of our workdays, but if you do have that freedom, take advantage of it. And you may have more input than you imagine. Share the concept of only-afternoon meetings with your boss and she might like the idea of a more productive team.
- Make a list. End your workday by writing down goals for the next day. This is a powerful tool for turning off and enjoying your evening. Once the next day’s list is down on paper, you no longer have to worry about it. Use your time off to boost your well-being— hang out with friends, get outside, exercise—rather than just zoning out online or in front of the TV. Having a list of priorities already decided on when you start your day means less friction and procrastination.
- Get to bed. Giving yourself a bedtime is a radical act of adult behavior. Science is not having it with your “I don’t need more than five hours” nonsense. Lack of sleep leads to lack of productivity. End stop.