5 Tips for Getting Things Done (Even When You’re Too Busy)

overworked woman at her desk

You can be super productive and still not hit the necessary check boxes. It’d be great to slow life down so you can chill out and enjoy the small moments, but that’s not always possible. Short of dropping it all to move to a remote island, the best thing you can do is implement some life hacks to make the day-to-day grind a little easier and get things done.

1. Shake Protein Powder in Your Morning Coffee

If you’re anything like me, you struggle to fit in the recommended eight hours of sleep and have to wake up extra early to get things done. I drink an alarming amount of coffee to make it through the day. Typically, I drink so much of it that I don’t have much room left for actual food.

To make myself feel a little bit less guilty for this bad habit, I use protein powder as creamer. It adds a nutritious element to all of my java and means I can skip the sugar I would normally swirl in my cup. This doesn’t fully replace a meal, but it does help keep you full on those days when you can’t stop drinking coffee and don’t have the time to sit down for a full breakfast.

2. Always Have a Notebook

When you’re constantly on the go, you need a place to write down the random things that come up throughout the day. Phone numbers, tasks, and shopping lists all come to you sporadically as you buzz around, and if you don’t write them down, there’s a good chance you’ll forget them entirely. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve believed I would remember something only to smack my forehead later.

A small notebook in your purse or car is a great defense against this. Even though you have a Notes app in your phone, you probably forget it exists just like I do.

3. Don’t Take off Your Shoes

Nothing will derail your productivity as quickly as feeling the carpet beneath your toes at the end of a long day. Taking off your shoes tells your brain it’s time to chill out. Who What Wear agrees the key to being productive from home is wearing shoes. Putting on shoes is a sign that your day is beginning and it’s time to get work done, even if that work is simply scrubbing the kitchen counters or vacuuming.

You probably don’t want to wear your heels or dressy boots around the house after a long day at work, and I don’t blame you. However, you can change into some sneakers when you get home. This way you’re comfortable, but also able to zip around with a little pep in your step. This is the best way to keep yourself from lying on the couch overwhelmed with your to-do list. You’ll be glad you handle so much the next day.

4. Be Sneaky with Exercise

There are days when you don’t have the time to exercise no matter what you do. It sucks, but it can’t be helped sometimes. Instead of feeling like a failure or accepting the fact you just can’t exercise, get creative with it. A busy day is a great opportunity to do mini workouts in-between appointments and during tasks.

First of all, you should always take the stairs and park as far away from the door as possible. Yeah it feels inconvenient, especially if you’re running late. But it’s the best way to get in some low-intensity, steady-state cardio to burn calories. You can also do some exercises while you get ready in the morning.

On the days when I wake up too late to go to the gym, my favorite solution is to do bodyweight exercises while I do my hair. I do squats, calf raises, and even standing leg lifts while my hair is wrapped in the curling iron or while I brush my teeth. You can also work your core by clenching your abs for 10 seconds and then releasing for 10 seconds. This is a good exercise to do when standing in line, sitting in your car, and even working at your desk.

5. Combine Tasks

Multitasking might be getting a bad rap these days, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Don’t try to do this with really important tasks; save multitasking for the small things. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks in the car or while you’re in the shower. Call your mom while you’re dusting the house. Walk the dog for 30 minutes and count it as your workout. Download music while you watch a TV show.

By combining the small tasks, you can get more done in less time. There’s nothing wrong with maximizing the small amount of time you have by doing more than one thing at a time.

You can only do so much in a day, but you can make these harried hours a little more productive with these tricks. Do what you can with the time you have, and learn what works best for you through trial and error. If multitasking drives you crazy, then don’t do it. If you need a solid hour in the gym to feel mentally relaxed, then make sure you get that workout in.

Now go out there and slay.

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