• Jennifer Nilsson

How to Get It All Done WELL

Updated: May 24

(This post may contain affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.)

As an artist, illustrator, and farm-gal who grows and preserves a large majority of her food, along with baking all breads and making all pastas from scratch, you can imagine how many questions I get about my processes in creating. Many ask the how-to’s of drawing, coloring, painting, and baking. But the question I get MOST often is this one: “How do you get it all DONE?!”

Short answer: I don’t.

At least not all at once or even all in the same day.

Only a super-human could and I am not that human.

But it IS possible to get all the things done that NEED to be done (emphasis on need and not on want) by following a few simple guidelines like the ones I am sharing below. This is my process on “How to get it all done WELL.”

Step one: Do a Brain Dump

I like to do this at the end of my week – Saturday night – for a fresh start on Monday morning.

hand holding pen making list

Take a sheet of paper or a notebook page and write down EVERYTHING that needs done for the week.

Start with writing down all of the MUST-DOs. These things might be household tasks that happen on a regular schedule like laundry or pulling out the trash can for pick-up. The tasks might include things that happen monthly like batch cooking (in my case making pasta) or cleaning the ceiling fan blades. Do you have a special occasion that a card needs sent for? Write it down. If you work from home your tasks might include sending out invoices, blog writing, or emailing a client.

Whatever needs done THIS week – add it to your brain dump.

Then section off all of the tasks that coordinate. One of my favorite ways to do this is to give each type of task its own color. Using blue for household, pink for personal, yellow for work tasks, etc. Once I can clearly see by color all of my tasks that coordinate by type, I move onto the next step which is PLAN.

hand holding highlighter markers in blue, orange, pin. and yellow

Step two: Plan it Out and Prioritize

Whether you use a beautiful structured planner like this or like to make your own from plain or cute decorative grid notebooks like this, it is time to plan your week.

(*please note, the above are affiliate links which adds no additional cost to you if you purchase. I do make a small percentage which helps keep this blog going.)

open daily planner on a desk with a jar filled with flowers beside it

Looking at your color coded brain dump sheet, determine which tasks need done on which days. And which tasks are high on the priority list. It may help to write an abbreviation next to each task on your brain dump that coordinates with the days of the week. “M” for Monday, “T” for Tuesday, etc. While determining your days, also think about which tasks can be “stacked.”

For instance: Laundry is a task that has very little hands-on time involved. If laundry needs done on Monday, what other task for that day can be done while a load is washing or drying? If you have to pick up the kids from school and wait in a car line, use this time to write out greeting cards, then drop into the mailbox on the way home. Have an online lecture that needs to be listened to for school or work, but does not require notetaking? Perhaps you can listen to it while washing dishes or preparing dinner or doing food prep.

SET REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS – know your limitations in time and ability. Avoid over-extending yourself and scheduling more than you can truly get done.

Now that you’ve color coded and sorted by days and possible “stacking,” write it down in your planner or notebook in a way that makes total sense to YOU.

TIP: feel like you are always short on time to get tasks completed? What might be taking up your time that in no way contributes to your goals? Identify time wasters and get rid of them if possible. Recently I deleted ALL the games from my tablet and now turn off instant messages while I work. This has greatly helped me to ditch distractions.

Step three: Cross it Off or Reschedule

There is a true sense of satisfaction when you cross that task off the list and know that it is DONE. But there will be times when not every day’s schedule will be able to be 100% completed. Things happen.

Do you have a task at the end of the day that was not completed? Was it due to lack of time or lack of priority? Determine if that truly NEEDS to be scheduled and if so, can you find time to complete it today or can it be moved to tomorrow? Was it not completed because of a time waster sneaking in?

Meeting with a friend you haven’t seen in a long while for coffee is not a time waster. Connection with others is important. However, spending 30 minutes in a Tetris Duel IS a time waster. (And why I deleted my game apps).

task list with items crossed off

As you settle into the routine of brain dumping, sectioning, prioritizing, and stacking tasks you will begin to find ways to be more efficient. Recognizing limitations and time wasters go along way toward a less stressed schedule. Realize that not all the things need to be done in one day. You are only one person – and unless you wear a cape, don’t pressure yourself to be super-human.

This is how I personally go from having so many things to-do and doing them in a way that makes others say “How do you get it all DONE?!”

I hope this helps in some small way.

Feeling stressed? Here is another post I’ve written for when you’re feeling overwhelmed and how to get your day started right.

Comment below – how do YOU personally stay organized? Is it similar to what I do or different? Share any tips you have to encourage others in the comment section below.

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#beingefficient #gettingitalldone #organizing #prioritizing

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