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How To Stay Productive and Get Shit Done

There are so any apps, tools and systems designed to help you get shit done. Hey, we’re so into getting shit done we created a notebook called Get Shit Done.

But the thing is, there is no Holy Grail for productivity.

While you can improve how productive you are, the end goal isn’t literally getting things done every hour you’re awake (and even while you’re asleep too).

For us, getting shit done isn’t about being a workaholic, scheduling your day from AM to PM. That’s just not sustainable (or fun).

Getting shit done means doing the right things, at the right time and for the right reasons. It’s about keeping your goals front and centre and working in a way that makes sense for you.

It’s also less about what you do, and instead more about what you don’t do.

And because we love a good (check)list, we’ve come up with our list of do’s and don’ts to get shit done.

Stop looking for the answer

If this is the twenty-second article you’ve read today on how to get shit done, stop! Stop reading right here, shut down your Google search, close all those tabs and just go start doing things.

The biggest barrier we see to productivity is people who are trying to find the perfect system to productivity. It’s like a vicious circle where the longer you search, the more you have to get done and the more important finding the right system becomes to you.

We’ve tried a bunch of systems, tools and apps in the Mi Goals office to get shit done and the one thing we can say without hesitation about all of them is that they only work if you do.

“Productivity systems only work if you do” - Tweet this

A simple list might be all you need. Or you might need something a little more robust if you’re dealing with multiple projects or clients. But whatever system you use, just stick to it.

Stop procrastinating in perfection

Just like trying to find the perfect system is the barrier to getting shit done, it’s also hard to get anything done if you’re always striving for perfection.

While we’re not advocating you go half-assed when it comes to doing your tasks, we also think it’s important to acknowledge when you’re procrastinating because getting something ‘right’ is too daunting.

Clean up your shit

While a messy desk might make you feel like a true creative/artist/action taker, science tells us that clutter actually reduces productivity. In a cluttered space, you have trouble staying focused and your brain also has trouble processing information as well as if you were in an uncluttered space.

While we’re not saying you have to work in a completely minimalist space, the key is finding a balance between having the stuff you need around you and not being overwhelmed by all your stuff.

Do the thing that’s been on your brain first

This is sort of our new riff on the “do the most important thing first” productivity advice. The definition of ‘important’ can sometimes be a bit unclear. Important to who? You? Your partner? Your boss?

Plus we believe that often what we think is important and what actually is important are two different things.

But what’s on your mind the most? The thing that you go to bed thinking about and then wake up thinking about? That’s the thing to do first.

It might be a business that you’ve thought of starting for ages but it has never seemed like the right time, because you have more ‘important’ things to do.

If it keeps on coming up and you can’t get it out of your mind, that’s a pretty big sign. So before you do the ‘important’  things, do the thing you can’t get out of your mind.

Close off tasks

Your brain hates open loops. Getting a task to the almost-end-but-not-quite just means it stays open in your brain, using up memory and constantly nagging at you.

There’s great satisfaction to be had in fully completing a task. This might be something as simple as putting away the ironing board as soon as you’ve done your washing for the week, or unpacking your suitcase when you come back from a holiday.

If you have open tasks right now that are one step from completion, just get them done. Then you can move on to focus on your other tasks without that nagging feeling slowing you down.

Just don’t do it

Okay, so this is meant to be a post about getting shit done. But sometimes you just, well, can’t.

We all need a day where the most productive thing you get done is watch an entire season of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix. And that’s okay.

It’s just not realistic to be productive all the time. Your brain needs downtime to recharge, refresh and gather new ideas. And this isn’t just important for your mental health. Planned breaks can also help you be more creative when you return to your task.

It’s also important to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Research has shown when you sleep, your brain is actually consolidating what you’ve learned that day. And the better quality your sleep, the more able you are to be creative and productive during the day.

Basically, the more you have to do, the more important sleep becomes.

Tell us what your top tips are for getting shit done in the comments below.

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