Have you ever set out to accomplish an important task and before you know it, you’ve been watching YouTube videos of Michael Jackson impersonators doing magic tricks for four hours? Yeah, me neither. Asking for a friend.

I used to be the biggest procrastinator in the world. In my heart I still am. But through a lot of practice and learning and observing high output production peeps, I have started to get things done.

Take my friend who is in charge of a large business with hundreds of employees. Let’s call her Courtney. She always seems to have time to do the things she wanted to do. I asked her how she was able to achieve this. She told me there are 3 questions she asks herself at the beginning of every day:

1. What is the most important thing I have to do today?
2. What are the things that only I can do?
3. Can anyone else do anything on my to-do list 80 percent as well as I can? (If the answer to that question was yes, she delegated it to them.)

How do you manage your time? First of all, the language we use around time is misleading. Everyone has the same amount of time. The president of the U.S., babies, CEOs, entry-level interns, students, etc. all have the same 24 hours per day (168 hours per week). You can’t buy more, and you can’t wish for more (well, you can try, but it won’t work). We all need to make the most of what we’re given.

Think about the last time you said, “I just don’t have the time.” We all say it (or think it), but it’s not true. We do have the time. We’ve just chosen to use our time in other ways.

You have exactly enough time to do what you’re supposed to do today, if you will seize your time and take action. Don’t prioritize your schedule; schedule your priorities.

3 ways to accomplish more of the right things in 2018

1. Prioritize. Put the big rocks in first. 

Ask yourself: What’s the most important thing I should do today? Then go after it with everything you have. Right away.

–Start big tasks with the first step. Don’t put “Do project” on your to-do list; use “Start project.” Sometimes just a tweak as seemingly small as the language used can make a big difference.

–Prioritizing is like a muscle. When you first start, it’s awkward and feels uncomfortable and sore. But when you begin to figure out what’s important, you exercise it every day and decisions are more easily made because you know your priorities.

2. Cut back on the hours given to a project or task to increase overall efficiency.

Have you ever noticed that your work is like a liquid? It expands or contracts according to the time allotted for it?  Tim Ferriss has some great things to say about this in his book The 4-Hour Work Week. It’s worth a look if you’ve never read it.  Also here is Michael Hyatt discussing how to cut your To Do list in half.  

–Meetings should always have an end time. When they do, it forces the participants to get done what they need to get done in the time allotted.

3. Develop a headquarters.

This is somewhere that you write everything down. It’s your hub. Doesn’t matter if it’s on paper or in your phone or on stone tablets, but you need somewhere that you keep every task, project, appointment, note, idea, etc. I love using the notes section of my iPhone and Evernote for docs/note-taking. They are my digital brain.

Portions of this post are taken from the new book Adulting 101, set to release on April 1.  Andy Stanley said it’s a “must read” for anyone entering the real world.

Here’s wishing that 2018 is your best year yet!  And that you get done what you want to get done, and what you should get done.

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Pete Hardesty

Author Pete Hardesty

Pete Hardesty grew up in Baltimore, MD and graduated from the University of Virginia. Pete then joined the staff of Young Life in 1997 till present. He lives outside of Washington D.C. where he leads the college division of Young Life for the eastern part of the U.S. He loves college students, beach volleyball, and his 2 nieces very much. Likes: His nieces, Ravens football, college people (even though they make him feel old), movies, cigars, Thai food, the Middle East. Dislikes: Country music, tomatoes, shrimp, rice crispy treats, and wet socks. Pete believes because we only get one shot at this life we need to figure out what matters and give ourselves to it. Let’s make it count. If you have a problem with this, he challenges you to meet him behind the dumpster after school to fight.

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