September 05, 2013, 2:52 PM — "No."
Ta-da, we just solved all of your time-management issues. Go forth and be more productive.
Seriously, though, saying "No" is one way the perpetually overworked and overwhelmed can get more done, says Suzana Simic, manager of career services at Computer Systems Institute.
People who can't say "No" to others traditionally put those tasks ahead of their own. If you overextend yourself, you will never be able to make progress on your own priorities, Simic tells Business Insider's Vivian Giang.
Another piece of advice? Make a realistic to-do list. The key word: realistic.
"Setting goals and achieving them will boost your morale and get you fired up for the next task," she notes.
Keep your to-dos small, simple and specific. Goals that are small and simple will be relatively easy to accomplish, which will lead to A) good feelings of solid progress and B) more productivity. Accomplishment will beget accomplishment. Failing to complete tasks leads to negative feelings, especially that you will never get anything done.
Also, turn off distractions.
"Put on your blinders," Simic adds. "Eliminate or reduce all the things that you don't need to complete a complicated task. This means exiting out of emails, closing your office door and switching your phone to silent."
And lastly, get to know your internal clock. If you're super energetic and motivated in the morning, that's when you should work the most. If you're a night owl, aim for the evening.
"Forget about the 'normal' way or 'typical' way things are done, and find out what way is best for your goals," Simic notes.