Just two weeks ago, I announced that I would stop using social media. By this, I mean specifically the digital platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Yet in these two weeks I’m already noticing the time benefits, and here I would like to point out how I plan my days so I can get more done in less time.

The reason why I gave up on social media is to have less on my plate. With using any of these services, I always feel a certain peer pressure. There’s no need to lie about the fact that one of the main forces behind social media is its competitive factor. Achieving goals in less time is simply working more efficiently. A while ago, I began to time myself on certain tasks. After a while, I learned how long certain tasks require. For me, writing articles is the top priority on most days, among other quotidian tasks.

Since I’m familiar with what I do, it’s easy to predict how long it takes to finish one article. It all depends on how many words I decide a particular subject needs. It all depends on what feels right at any given moment.

Writer Scott Young wrote an insightful blog post on working less and getting more done at the same time. “Once we know how we actually spend our working time, we should try to incrementally improve it and not pretend that we’ll be superheroes tomorrow.” This quote encapsulates a philosophy that so many more should be incorporating in their lives. Let me be honest with you and say that I have so often believed that I could change the world in an instant. That’s impossible. Yet it’s not impossible for anyone to accomplish a lot if that person does it effectively.

I’ve never been a friend of time-logging or intricate planning, or even to-do lists. This doesn’t mean that they can’t help you. I just never read them again after I finish a nice list of things I must/should do. Everyone is different, though. For this reason, I agree with a lot of what Scott writes on his blog. The nature of counter-productivity, in most cases at least, can be distilled down to one very specific trap: overestimation. Knowing one’s limits proves to be helpful information down the line.

Time is another crucial element, because change doesn’t happen instantaneously. Even if you decide you strive to become more productive, you can’t do that in one day. It requires preparation, and above all it certainly requires the will to change. My decision was to stop sharing, stop spending time communicating, and instead spend all my time creating. Successful people aren’t necessarily smarter; they aren’t faster, either. Yet they manage their time more efficiently, which allows them to do more in less time.

Unfortunately, there’s no formula for this. It’s a rule that bends itself to fit all personalities. The beauty about humans is that no one is alike, but successful people all think alike. Make lists, if you must, but this alone won’t help you overcome the obstacles that you place in your own way. No one can move those for you.

Everywhere on the Internet, one can read about this app and that app, this list and that list, but personally, there is only one remedy for ineffectiveness: hard work. Can’t get done what must be done? Focus on one thing, and finish it. Then move on to the next. Don’t even think about checking your friends’ latest status updates on any of the usual social media sites. Once you do that, you’ll have lost 30 minutes already. In half an hour, I can pretty much finish an article of this length. That’s just pure writing time, of course.

Image by Alfonso Silóniz through CC