Busy people always have the time. That’s what they say at least, right? Obviously we all have the same 24 hours each day, however there are ways you can maximize each precious moment. As someone who is a busy person — two jobs, two kids, volunteering, etc — I can feel really pressed for time to get it all done (at least done well!), plus leave ample time for quality moments with my family. While I can be the worst procrastinator of all time, I have a way of cranking out work and other efforts to maximize the minutes that matter.


Since I often get the question, “how do you get it all done??,” I thought I’d share here six effective strategies that maximize my hours.  Do you have any other ways? I’d absolutely love if you can leave your recommendations below in the comment section so we can all benefit! 

1. Use Your Brain Power Strategically: Totally crazy at work? Don’t carve out your best hours of the day on something that’s literally, a no brainer. If there’s something you can do at night while watching your favorite reality show or when you know you’re least productive, push it to the side and get to the important, more complicated work. For example, I noticed last Thursday that my spam filter wasn’t activated so thousands of spam comments were all over this site (no joke!). I started working on it, and then halted myself. I was eating away at productive hours when that could have been done later.

2. Lunch time/strategic multi-tasking: Use that hour wisely! My favorite: pedicure dates with friends! Whether you do that on your lunch break or one night, catch up with a friend who’s equally busy while enjoying time at the salon. Bring your lunch from home, or grab something quick and eat while working. While it’s not recommended daily, I’ve cranked out 5-6 errands (returns, dry cleaning, bank, gift purchases, you name it) in the shortest time periods.

Or, sit in car pool line each day? Save your biggest emails until then, do meal planning, catch up on news, and make the doctor appointments or weekend reservations.

3. Learn to say NO: This is a big one, people! People are asking you to do things to get it off their plate (and this feeds into the next one, too). I am sometimes helpful to a fault, however saying no has become one of the best things I’ve done, both from time management and business growth. Saying no gives you the bandwidth to say yes to something you really want. Never forget that.

4. Stop Interruptions from Others: Interruptions are the death of productivity. You think you’re busy and cranking out the work because you’re multi-tasking through projects, answering emails, replying to a text, and answering co-workers questions all at once. Wrong-o! You’re accomplishing everything yet nothing all at once. Close your door, close your inbox (even for just 30 minutes), and put the phone out of arms length. Perhaps this won’t work if you’re in charge of social media strategy at your company however this works for everyone else. Even if you don’t realize it, you’re likely instinctively picking up your phone more often than you realize — I see it happen all the time — and that’s distracting your focus and eating time.

DO NOT let someone else’s priorities become yours. Someone is texting you because they want an answer. Someone is knocking on your door because they want to get their assignment in on time. Someone is emailing you because they are crossing that item off their to-do list. Say no (rule #4!) and shut it out until you’re ready.

5. Run errands during off hours: I can crank out errands at the mall in half the time simply by not going during peak hours on the weekends. Hit the mall up right after work, or even on a Saturday night. It’s so quiet so you don’t have to deal with crowds and lines, and you benefit from extra attention from employees. I can do the dry cleaners, bank (ATM for company deposits) and UPS (for my Poshmark sales) within 15 minutes, max, all because I do them at 9 am.That would be 30 minutes, plus during lunch.

6. Update your to-do list at the end of each day. This is a must. This way you start your day with a fresh to-do list, instead of taking the first 20 minutes to see what you crossed off yesterday, updating, yada, yada. Valuable time. Hit the ground running, plus it’s also a great way to leave each day confident you’ve accomplished everything you need or to get out that last email, or document before you dash out the door. This works whether you’re heading to the office, or are CEO of your home. The list is everything.

7. Order online: I’ve made Amazon Prime my bff and you should, too. It started innocently with some big items and now it’s everything — big like strollers and car seats and small like shampoo and small like scissors and post-it notes. I now also order clothes/shoes from online retailers like Shopbop and Piperlime, plus Nordstrom, which allow for free shipping and returns. Ultra convenient.

8. Wake up Earlier or Stay up Later (& learn your most productive time of day!): which time of day is best for you? When you really need to create more time, it’s as simple as this. I know I am absolutely not a morning person so I could wake up earlier, go to the gym, try to work… none of it gets done great. I’m better off waking up at 7 am (or as late as my kids let me sleep!), and staying up until the work gets done at night. I blog at night instead of the morning for this reason.

9. Make time for you: You know those times when all you do is give, give, give. It’s exhausting. While sometimes you just need to get through a crazy patch, remember that it’s healthy and helpful to take a mental and physical break. Whether that means beach time, gym time or a luxe dinner, carve out time for you.

10. Get rid of the clutter: the more clutter, the more distractions, the more cramped you’ll feel. It’s just not a good working environment. Read this post about purging now, and then ensure your desk or home space is a place that inspires and motivates. It makes an impressive difference in productivity, and productivity means better work product done faster. Victory!