How to Be Ruthless (The Ultimate Guide + Image Quotes)

There are a million and one demands on your time, and whether those demands are legitimate or not, it is difficult to carve out the time required to take care of your responsibilities. You must be ruthless with your time — you must prioritize important tasks over issues that aren't critical. You must establish your own rules for deciding how to spend your time, and those rules may not be acceptable to everyone around you. But you are the only one who can decide what you will do today — make a ruthless decision and get your work done.

No, please. Extend beyond what you were told and say ‘no' to any time-consuming requests that do not advance your work. You can be polite about it, but you should avoid taking on new projects. I know you're thinking that you can't just go around telling everyone that you're not going to help them, and, sure, there's nothing wrong with lending a helping hand if you have some time to spare. However, your work must come first before you can help others.

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Stop pressing the snooze button. I'll fight my alarm clock until the day I die. But succumbing to the snooze button's allure will only waste your and my time. It's a bad habit to get into and a difficult one to break. However, as long as you are getting enough sleep, you must get up when the buzzer sounds. Why would you spend an hour dozing in bed after your alarm goes off if you needed an extra hour in the day?

Procrastinate. In fact, I recommend that you procrastinate openly. As a freelance writer, I make it a point to complete projects in the order in which they are due. This means that I'm frequently finishing projects hours, if not minutes, before they're due. It also means I won't have to worry about incorporating last-minute changes because I'll be able to do it the first time. I've also had a number of projects canceled in the middle of them. I can save time by procrastinating instead of doing work for which I may not be paid.

Prioritize the most important tasks. Get your most important task or project completed first thing in the morning. The big projects will take up the majority of your time. Small tasks (even important ones) can be completed in the fifteen minutes between meetings or while waiting for the bus. Develop your ability to estimate how long it will take you to complete a task: do you need to sit down and spend some time on it? Or can you do it on the way to your next destination?

Leave as soon as possible. Even if you arrive a few minutes early, you will almost certainly have to wait — which is a waste of time, right? Wrong! Remember those small tasks you meant to complete today but haven't yet? Use those few precious minutes to return a phone call, write a memo, or plan out your day for tomorrow. You may need to bring a few office supplies with you — I personally keep a notebook and pen with me at all times — but you'd be surprised at how much you can get done. Consider sitting in your car with the windows down if the weather is nice. You'll also benefit from some extra fresh air.

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Irrelevant details should be ignored. As difficult as it is to turn off your email for even a few minutes, it is most likely unrelated to the project you need to be working on right now. Turn off your email and other distractions and be harsh with yourself (instant messenger, phone and anything else). You can always respond later — and if it's a true emergency, such as the building catching fire around your ears, someone will most likely come into your office to inform you.

Maintain vigilance. Every afternoon around two o'clock, I feel like the only thing I want to do is nap. But I know that taking a walk outside in the fresh air and downing a soda will make me more aware — at least enough to concentrate on my work. Keeping yourself focused is essential for completing a project: if you're not paying attention to what you're doing, you not only risk making a mistake, but you'll also take much longer to complete your project. And the more time you devote to a single task, the less time you have for everything else you want to do today.

Make a plan for your day. While you may need a flexible plan for your day, you still need a day outline. List what you absolutely must do today, any meetings you have scheduled, and any other notes you'll need for the day. While you don't have to be rigid to the point of refusing to do anything that isn't on your schedule, having an actual schedule for your day can help you be ruthless with others' requests on your time: “I'd love to help you out, Jane, but I'm completely booked today.”

Just as you must be ruthless in how you handle how much responsibility, you must also be ruthless in ensuring that you complete your own work. You can't tell yourself that you'll only slack off this once, because one time becomes two, then three, and before you know it, you'll be wondering where all your free time went.

Staying Focused at Work Is Simple, and Getting Things Done Quickly

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