How to Get More Things Done Every Day

By Mark Inboden

Do you ever wonder why you get so much work done the day prior to going on vacation? It's something called hyper-focus!

Here's an example of hyper-focus: Last January, you booked your flight and lodging reservations for a one-week Hawaiian vacation in June. You have had six long months to think about your dream vacation. Suddenly, it is June 1st and you are leaving in a few days. You have two solid days of meetings, and practically no time to get “what needs to be done” accomplished before you leave in three days.

I will wager that 99 percent of us get everything we “have to get done” before we leave town. Having a goal (“Going to Hawaii”) and a time-frame (“leaving in three days”) has a profound effect on the ability to focus and make decisions.

If you are like me, you make a list and prioritize those items on the list. You figure out what are the most important things that have to be done, and those that can wait. You delegate what you can, and work on the one or two things that “only you” can accomplish.

Every interaction in the course of delegating work, asking others for information to complete your tasks, and speaking with people is in “hyper-focus” mode. You often start out a conversation with “I am leaving for Hawaii tomorrow, and I really need to get this information in the next 30 minutes” or “I will be out starting tomorrow, and I really need you to call and set up this appointment for July 1." Amazingly, most of the items on your list are completed or in the process of completion by the time you leave that evening.

Why don’t we work like this every day? 

Try an experiment this week: pretend you are leaving for a vacation in two days, make a list of what needs to be accomplished, and hyper-focus on checking things off of the list. And one more thing: make sure “Scheduling your next vacation” is somewhere on that list!

Mark is the President and CEO of UCEC.