The Secret to Getting More Done in Less Time

Let me start by saying that, yes, there are too few hours in the day. Your to-do list is never empty, you’re not getting home as early as you’d like, and you don’t feel like you accomplish everything that you want to get done.

Here are two simple steps to get you started:

Step 1: Imagine Your Ideal Week

  • What are your work hours on an average day and week?
  • What are your standing meetings—or things that must be done at a certain date and time?
  • At which time of the day are you most productive? (e.g., Do you get a lot done in the mornings, then have a lull after lunch?)
  • Are there days of the week that are more or less productive for you?
  • Are different types of work better accomplished on different days or times?

Use an empty calendar to actually plot out that schedule. Include blocks of time that are best for focused work (ideally chunks of time when you feel very productive), blocks that are best for meetings and, of course, blocks for answering email.

Step 2: Reverse Engineer Your Calendar (By Making Others Fit Your Schedule)

Now, things come up, and you might not be able to stick to this schedule every week, having a handful of uninterrupted blocks where you can really work is invaluable in squeezing more time out of your day.

Treat those periods of work like any other meeting on your calendar. When someone asks you if you’re free then, you’re not

Let people know what times work for you as soon as humanly possible—and ideally, before anyone else has thrown out a time.