Ten ways to get the most out of a short work day!

Written by  //  February 17, 2014  //  Daily Juice  //  4 Comments

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 0 Flares ×


I have a short work day. Kinda squeezed in between school drop off and pick up. I do work early in the mornings too but when all’s said and done, it still ain’t much time. Over the past few years I’ve got a lot better at making the short days work for me (better, not perfect!) mainly through doing these ten things. Thought you might like them too!

More on this at the end, but if you’ve got tips for making a short day work can you share them with us? Pop them in the comments together with your business name. Later we’ll do a NEW post full of all YOUR tips too!

1. Plan the night before

Sometimes I can’t be bothered to do this, and I always regret it the next day. Planning the night before is tops! Not only does it saves time in the morning, it also means I get on with the planned tasks rather than the ones I feel like doing!

2. Use the 1-3-5 way to get stuff done

When I’m doing my night-before planning I use the 1-3-5 way to decide what to do! It’s such a help in getting the mix right between hard/important stuff and annoying/urgent stuff.

3. Exercise early before work

This is a bit of wishful thinking as I don’t always get to do this, but when I do I have such a better day. Exercise really does give us more energy!

4. Start with tuning-in time

This was quite revolutionary for me! Previously I’d get cranky with myself for faffing around rather than getting straight down to work. Now I give myself tuning-in time and it works! I kinda need less tuning-in time if I let myself have it than if I don’t. Weird but true!

5. Turn distractions off

OK, so even with 1-3-5, pre-planning and tuning-in time I still get distracted! So now I turn off email, social media and my phone at certain times of the day. (See next point for how to make this work!) As I’m a little lacking in discipline I use this self control app to turn off all distracting websites!

vintage clock and short note

6. Set aside a specific time for email and phone calls

This took a bit of getting used to. And my FOMO* was huge! But I soon learned that no-one expected me to be waiting on the end of the phone/email to reply immediately!  And anyway it felt so GOOD to get important stuff done on MY agenda that I quickly stopped worrying about the odd missed message!

7. Get the toughest thing done first

Although I’d read this a million times, I still liked to ease myself into the day by starting with the easy stuff. Doing 1-3-5 helped me break this little habit! And it’s true! Starting with the toughest thing totally makes the rest of your day go swimmingly!

8. Timeboxing

This is magic. And super-simple. The details are here but all you do is:

1. Pick a task you want to get done
2. Decide how long you want to spend doing it
3. Set your timer for that amount of time
4. Start doing the task and stop when the timer rings

I know. Not exactly rocket-science. But often the smartest things aren’t!

9. Keep a timesheet

Timesheets are the most totally fabulous way of working out where you’re spending your time and how you can be more efficient! I know it’s a bit of a pain to do, GROAN, but it works. More on how to do it here.

10. Stop doing something

Yes! Cut something out! Ask yourself “Do I really need to be doing this?!” It’s amazing how many things we do out of habit rather than because anyone actually wants us to do it! More on how to do this here!

So they’re my top ten tips. Have you got one (or more!) to share with us?! Pop them in the comments (together with your website details if you’d like us to include a link) and we’ll do a new post on here of all YOUR tips to get the most out of a short day!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


new snacks2

Fancy getting a weekly Snack of sweet stuff for your small business? Just pop your details in below.



4 Comments on "Ten ways to get the most out of a short work day!"

  1. Pips February 23, 2014 at 10:38 am · Reply

    Love it! I always try and do the toughest thing first, referred to in our house as eating the frog.

    • Julia Bickerstaff February 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm · Reply

      Love it Pips, it’s that very fab Mark Twain quote isn’t it?! “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Must get that saying into my house too!

  2. Suzanne September 24, 2014 at 6:05 pm · Reply

    I found point 4 interesting. When my children were younger, my work day started at 10 am. This was so I could get a bit of housework done. Then I’d make my coffee and start work. I never thought of it as a transition, just a way to get things done in the house in peace.

    Nowadays, One is away at Uni, and the other is at college, there is less mess to clear up, So it’s less of a routine, and my younger daughter helps out alot too. I do have that “not wanting to start” feeling.

    I am building new routines using some of your excellent posts as guidance, and when fully established, I hope they will become the transition. (meditation, learn a language, yoga).

    • Julia Bickerstaff September 24, 2014 at 8:54 pm · Reply

      Transition is interesting isn’t it Suzanne – I like to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it! x

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 0 0 Flares ×