5 Ideas to Pounding Out the Work

Here’s a comment I love to hear: “Wow, Chris, you really get a lot of things done.” A close second is a follow up, “And you do things well.” I like to think these things are true, but to be honest, I’ve had to learn efficiency. Let me explain, and if you have the time, watch this video:

I read Getting Things Done years ago. It’s a good book, and the one principle that has stuck with me through the years is the idea of getting my “stuff” off my mind. I pound out the work because I want the work behind me. When it settles on my desk or in my email box, it’s on my mind.

When too much is on my mind, I get exhausted. Almost depressed. Totally counterproductive, I’ll browse news sites or watch movie trailers. Go figure. When my work is stacked up, I am prone to waste my time. How crazy is that?

Here are five ideas I’ve come up with – sort of hybrids of David Allen’s ideas – that I’ve applied over the years…

  1. Quit whining. “I’m soooo busy” only goes so far. So is the busiest man in the world – which you aren’t – but he still gets things done in the same exact 24 hours as you have. So quit whining and start moving.
  2. Reschedule. You don’t need to get all your projects done today. Put them in a schedule and commit chunks of time to them.
  3. Have a hub. This is where My Sweet Home Office Suite comes in. I have my office space – my sound proof corner of the house – to get set up and pound out work. (I wrote a book on that. Get your free copy here.)
  4. Turn off the noise. Music is soothing, but noise includes Facebook, Twitter, email, the cell phone, etc. Multi-tasking is a myth, some have argued. For projects that require my full attention, I need to give it my full attention.
  5. Faste. Seriously, intermittant fasting from food is extremely productive, but I’m talking more than food. I have to “fast” from news sites like Drudge Report and Wall Street Journal. They tug at my mind when I need to focus elsewhere.

Yesterday, I totally pounded out work like nobody’s business. I finished editing a new book, I connected with five of my coaching staff by phone, I pushed along a camp program for California, and I secured an awesome keynote speaker for the event.

I’ve got another day lined up, so much off my mind from yesterday morning, I’m feeling like King Kong taking it all on. I’m looking forward to the good work ahead of me.

Question: What ideas do you have to getting things done? Do share by posting below.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • theworkingdiva

    “Pounding out the work” caught my eye. That’s definitely when I feel the most productive–when I get into that groove where tasks are just getting accomplished, right and left. Lists help me immensely. I’m the type of person that gets great satisfaction from crossing an item off a list–you should see me at the grocery store! I’ve also discovered that music helps, but only instrumental. Otherwise I sing along, which most definitely DOESN’T help my productivity. I tend toward orchestral versions of movie soundtracks, or a “pops” classical-type station. There’s enough variety to keep me going in those.

    • Funny you mention instramentals. My most listened to Pandora tracks are “Rush Instramentals” and “Guitar Instramentals.” They keep me pumping along, too.

  • Judy Jeub

    When I have a project that will take unlimited hours, I may commit to giving it an hour per day – the time doesn’t matter as much as showing up. I did this when I sorted boxes of unlabeled family pitures a few years ago. It took months, but the project eventually got done. The perfectionist in me had to let go when there were days other duties prevented me from doing my one hour.
    Another thing I have done is take one task and give it my utmost attention to its completion before I go onto another task. It is the opposite of multi-tasking, which tends to scatter my brain. It may not be useful when there are deadlines, but I like the calmness of it and the sense of completion I get. As a retired person, I am able to do this more often.
    A third thing i have done…back in my work days…I note the deadline for a project, such as an event, then create a calendar working backward from that, creating smaller deadlines and schedule blocks of the time required to get these interum tasks done.

    • Great ideas, Mom! I feel like I’m truly a chip off the semi-old block.

  • The book you mention sounds like a good one. Great points. I found turning off distractions so I can focus on the task at hand important when it comes to quickly getting it done.