8 Secrets How Successful People Get Work Done

16 March 2016
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8 secrets successful people get their work done

Have you always feel frustrated at the end of the week that you have accomplished nothing despite being busy for the entire week?

I was inspired by Barking up the Wrong Tree to write how using an issue tracker can improve the way of getting work done by incorporating behavioural science theories.

1. Attention is equal to Time 

First, you need to be aware that your smartphones and inbox are huge time suckers to your productivity.

Each new email or a notification is likely to distract you from what you are doing. Mobile notifications is the new evil with a constant flood of notifications from your group chats and apps.

According to research, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task after getting interrupted

People who do a lot of attention switching, they believe they can focus when they need to, but the reality is they have lost that ability.
When you give them a task that requires focus, they perform worse than people that don’t spend a lot of time fragmenting their attention.

Bakadesuyo: How to focus

Therefore, you might want to check your mails and mobiles after completion of a task. 

2. Maintaining a list 

According to research, an average human can only keep track of 7 ± 2 tasks in working memory

Therefore it is better to use computers to keep track of your tasks. It helps to keep you organised and ensure no tasks get missed.

3. Setting up a routine 

Have you ever wondered why people will always remember to log in to check their Facebook or to play their mobile games?
Well, they all send you notifications periodically to remind you to do so.

So you can set up a reminder for yourself to check on the tasks that you need to do at the start of the day/week.

4. Create small wins for yourself 

The biggest difference between working and studying is there aren’t regular tests to tell you how good you are performing and to let you move to the next level.

You need to create small wins for yourself to and your team have the feeling of progress.

People’s inner work lives seemed to lift or drag depending on whether or not their projects moved forward, even by small increments.
Small wins often had a surprisingly strong positive effect, and small losses a surprisingly strong negative one.

Bakadesuyo: How to be motivated: 4 new insights from research

Start having a report to see how many tasks you have accomplished at the end of the week.

You will not feel nothing is done at the end of every week.

5. Start to reduce shallow work 

A mentor once shared with me the concept of “Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts”

Similarly, small insignificant tasks consume your time and distract you from getting the real work done.

Shallow work is little stuff like email, meetings, moving information around. Things that are not really using your talents.
Deep work pushes your current abilities to their limits. It produces high value results and improves your skills.

Bakadesuyo: How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

Instead of spending time to compile reports and filling time sheets, use tools to automate this to free up time to do meaningful work

6. Learn how to say no 

Do you know that a common characteristic of successful people is that they know how to say no at the right time.

By asking your co-workers to log a task in the system for you, it makes them think harder whether it is necessary.

This either helps you to filter unnecessary tasks or prepare the information for the task upfront.

It also helps your superior to see your workload and balance the assignment accordingly. 

7. What gets measured get done 

Usually most of us work together as a group. Sometimes you need someone to complete a piece of work before you can work on it.

If the task is passed over to you late, you will have less time to work on it. The worse scenario is that it interrupts you 

Try to set a due date when assigning out a task and send automated reminders to chase them.

8. Use the correct tool 

A major limitation of using the Inbox to keep track of your tasks is that emails are sorted with the latest first.
It creates a natural tendency to read and react to newer emails than to follow up on the earlier emails.

Work should be FIFO (First In First Out), not LIFO (Last In First Out).

If you keep on reacting upon those newer incoming tasks, your older tasks will eventually become urgent and get on top of you.  
Then you will be pressured to rush finish those late tasks. 

You might want to use a To-do list tool or issue tracker to manage your tasks.


You can find more useful tips and related information for the quotes and links referenced in this article below:

  1. http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2015/01/how-to-be-motivated/
  2. http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2015/12/how-to-focus/
  3. http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/08/how-to-stop-being-lazy/
  4. http://lifehacker.com/how-long-it-takes-to-get-back-on-track-after-a-distract-1720708353
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two
  6. http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/4-steps-to-say-no-like-the-super-successful.html