6 Ways To Catch Up On Your Work Now

Do you ever have those days when there’s so much work to do that it seems you get nothing done?

You might stress about it, which only gets in the way of getting anything done. You might work nights and evenings to catch up, which only leads to working more nights and evenings when you fall behind again. Or worse, you might avoid your work all together – which only creates an even larger backlog of work. All of these lead to the treadmill of running to always be behind.

But we didn’t start our businesses to work long hours and weekends or to stress about work overloads. We started our businesses to avoid overtime and the stress of working for a boss. We’re working for ourselves because we want to make money and have time; time with our family and friends, to take an occasional day off or to spend more time with our hobbies.

We’re working for ourselves because we want to enjoy our lives.

Yet, again, we’re faced with the mountain of work that imprisons us in the cage of being self-employed. And we certainly can’t enjoy living in a cage – neither can our families.

So what can you do about it?

Well, remember the famous Benjamin Franklin saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?” Well, it’s true. If we go about our work in the same manner while expecting things to change, we’re insane.

So the only way to have things different in our business is to do things different in our business.

While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I do have a few tips to share which are working for me. And, I have a few resources I can suggest that might work for you. The rest, let’s talk about in the comment box.

  1. Turn off your email – really. I know this is going around lately with Tim Ferriss’ book, but it does work. Set specific times during your day that you’ll check and reply to email – twice if you can – and otherwise close it. This, alone, will help you get more work done.
  2. Stop Social Networking – Now, remember, this comes from someone who helps people utilize social networking for business growth so I don’t say this lightly. Yet, if you’re behind, you want to cut out using MyBlogLog, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc – just until you catch up. They’ll all be waiting there when you have time again.
  3. Voice Mail – Let your calls, unless they’re scheduled, go to voicemail AND check it once-per-day. Your voice mail will catch your messages for you so you’re not going to miss anything. And don’t even think about taking personal calls during your business hours when you’re behind on your work.
  4. Choose one task at a time – Trust me, I can multitask with the best of ’em. But I know that when it comes to getting a quality amount of work done in the least amount of time, I have to do one thing – and one thing only – at a time. It might not seem to make sense, but every mountain in the world is scaled step-by-step – even Everest.
  5. Take short breaks – Even when you’re behind you need some balance to your day. So schedule short breaks in your work. Leave your work space, get a fresh beverage, walk outside for a few minutes, even play with the kids (as long as they and your spouse know that you’re only out of your office temporarily). Don’t check your email, or blog or do anything else related to your business during your breaks. Instead, get away from work.
  6. Enhance your productivity – Reclaim how you work. Look at your approach to getting things done. If you need help, check out LifeHacker’s 50 Ways to Increase Productivity or Ben Yoskovitz’s series, Ultimate Guide to Productivityedition 1, edition 2, edition 3, edition 4, edition 5, edition 6, and edition 7. There are 137 posts from bloggers with some great suggestions. This is a great resource.

So here’s my ideas. Now let’s here yours. What works for you…what doesn’t?

Hi, I’m Dawud Miracle. Professionally, I’m a blogger and marketing consultant, business coach, educator and web developer who helps people use their websites to grow their business. I’m also a devoted husband and father to two, soon to be three, children. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

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  1. says

    nice tips Dawud. I guess blog-reading could be added into the same category as email – once or twice a day.

  2. says

    Thanks Duwad,
    Such good advice. it really can be a challenge to turn stuff off, especially when you are starting out and establishing yourself. I had just decided today to spend time in mybloglog getting up to date with some of my social networking. As i am running to catch up, maybe i will follow your advice

  3. says

    Dawud, I absolutely agree on #1 and even went 1 step ahead to turn off my internet access totally. It increases my productivity by almost 50%! With the use of the Unschedule, a tool recommended in the Now Habit book, I’ve managed to incorporate more play while maintaining a higher quality of productivity. Excellent.

    For those who’s interested, do read this article that I’ve written on the Unschedule :

    Want to be Productive? Play More


  4. says

    I, for one, have suffered a bit in my business by being too accessible – thinking it was the best way to serve my clients. What I’ve found is that being fully accessible doesn’t serve my clients, really because it makes it too easy for them not to work things out on their own – which ultimately erodes their autonomy with their business. And it certainly hurts my workflow, which, in turn, hurts both my business and my clients because I have less focused time for them.

  5. job guy says

    What do you mean turn off email? In many companies, instant email communication is assumed, even meeting are organized through mails. So it is essential to keep it open!

  6. says

    Hi Dawud –

    I just came across your blog the other day. I am a marketing research consultant and work out of my home-based office.

    One of the best tips I’ve found is to leave something unfinished at the end of the day. I find it’s easier to get into something that’s already been started the following day, then to start from scratch.

  7. says

    Remember, we’re talking about getting things done. Email is a huge time waster for just about everyone. I’m not saying don’t check or respond to your email. I’m saying control yourself around your email so it doesn’t dictate your workflow.

    And Jay, you can respond immediately – once people understand that you check your email only a certain times per day. What will happen is they’ll either wait to email you or wait for your response once they understand that when you’ll be checking email.