5 Tips for Getting Stuff Done

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.




There is so much we’re trying to accomplish, isn’t there?

I mean, we have work, family, community, friend, and personal commitments. It can be difficult to fit everything in.  This is definitely true for me!!

My commitments might be different than yours.  Yours might be different than everyone else’s.

But, you know what?  I don’t know of anyone (anyone!) who just wakes up each day without any type of responsibility.  Maybe you’re taking care of children.  You’re studying for a class.  You’re preparing for a competition.  You have a project at work.  Whatever.  There IS something you need to get done!


I read a fantastic article the other day covering 5 things we can do in order to FOCUS on what needs to get done.  I thought the perfect time to share this would be Monday.

Now, before we address the steps, for illustration purposes, let me tell you about just 3 of the things I’m working on, and why creating an environment of focus is so important for me personally.


  • I want my human resources business to continue to be successful. It’s been a lot of work creating this company

    My businesses are a priority.

    from nothing. It is a lot of work staying up with constant travel, and changes.  I need to read regulations and proposals, constantly.  I need to keep my handbooks and presentations current.  So far today (I’ve been up for 6 1/2 hours) I’ve written 3 proposals – they take 45-60 minutes each; set up complete travel arrangements for 3 trips; reconciled credit card reports; taken half a dozen phone calls; and answered e-mails for one hour (I set a timer…most of these have required research.  I’ll save the easy ones for later when I’m tired and don’t need to apply so much brain power. )

  • Not only does this provide my income (it’s my “job”) but I also know, based on constant feedback that I receive, that I am making a difference with the training I provide and that’s important to me.

I am a helper.

Always have been. It is what drives me, at my very core.

I am motivated (in all things) by being able to make things just a little easier for others. That might be by making things easier to understand; and, therefore, less stressful.  It might be helping to carry the load.  It might be helping someone with their diet and exercise so that they can feel better and worry less about their health.

For the human resources stuff, when I get feedback, like I did two days ago, from a former Pennsylvania dairy farmer turned government employee (because of some serious medical issues, he was forced to sell the farm) and his wife, it quite literally brings tears to my eyes. This is why I need to focus on being comprehensive and accurate.  He said, “Debbie, we simply can’t thank you enough. We were very worried about making these decisions. They affect our lives.  We’ve talked for hours and my wife has done tons of research but that only added to our confusion. You’ve made it so easy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You didn’t make it more complicated than it had to be.  You didn’t tell us what to do.  You didn’t even give us your opinion.  You gave us the facts, and told us how to think about it and make our own decision. What you do is invaluable. We are now confident in making the best choice for the two of us.”


  • My clients are a priority.

    My clients are a priority.

    I want Family & F.I.T. to become a resource for people.  Helping people realize they can stay healthy, and fit, without spending hours in the gym everyday – no matter how busy they are – no matter how crazy their life, is super important to me.

  • Today I kicked off my #GetB2B program so I’ve been writing content and responding to personal e-mails.  I had to re-do and re-submit my LLC registration paperwork, wrote new plans for two clients, and spent 45 minutes working on the membership site that will open on 1 September.

Here, too, I’m helping.

I’ve given a lot of time, some money, and a few sleepless nights managing this page. It’s a passion. Sometimes I wonder if it’s making a difference at all. Last Thursday, I received two messages; and Friday three more (perfect timing!!!!!!) affirming that it IS helping people.

That’s enough to keep me going.

To do so, though, I need to find the time to research information, stay up to date, post blogs, and answer questions.  It doesn’t “just happen”.


  • I need to take care of myself, or I can’t help anybody else.

    Box Jump

    …and I am a priority!

  • I exercise pretty routinely because I KNOW how important it is to my body and also my mind!  I make time for this!  Throughout August though, I’m participating in the #20x20challenge as an added layer of personal accountability.  I have (another) coast to coast flight tomorrow so I need to prepare some things to bring with me as I travel.  I refuse to leave this up to chance.


How do I get stuff done?  How can you?


1. Schedule your solitude.

I love this quote, “Collaboration and connecting with others is a beautiful thing, but in the end, creation is done in solitude. All great art is done in isolation. All creative work must be done by shutting out the outside world, sitting down, and creating.” – Leo Babauta

From a work perspective:  With my travel schedule, this is a challenge for me.  Either I’m exhausted, or I am finally getting some down time and don’t feel like doing anything.  Sometimes I have a headache.  Sometimes my brain is just fried.  It’s hard to think when you’re tired or stressed.  It’s hard to be creative when you’re merely attempting to put out immediate fires.  It’s hard to consider new ideas when you are inundated with too much.

From a workout perspective:  Find the time to fit some exercise into your schedule.  Remember, that this can be whatever you enjoy.  It might be going to the gym, going for a walk, taking a jog, doing an exercise video in your living room, or dancing around with your kids/grandchildren.


Solitude has to get on the calendar.  It has to be non-negotiable!  

I am not a morning person.  I don’t like to get up, regardless of how long (or short) I have been sleeping.  The only time I can fit this in, though, is super early in the morning.  As soon as I get up, I set my intention for the day.  Perhaps for you, it’s during your lunch break or once you’ve put the children in bed.



Here is a snapshot of my desk at this very moment.

2. Clear your desk, and work in an uncluttered area. 

From a work perspective:  I’m not going to lie.  This is a challenge for me.  I excel at pile management.  I always
have 8 million things I’m working on, and they’re piled up all over the place.  I know for a fact, that I’m more productive if I work in an uncluttered space.  Thank goodness for so much time in hotels!!

From a workout perspective:  This is the easier part for me.  I go the gym (either the “actual” gym or in my basement home gym).  Get out of your typical environment.  Again, it’s fine to workout at home but have a specific place where you do that.

When you’re in your space, focus on what it is you’re attempting to accomplish.  Nothing else.  


3. Disconnect from the Internet.

Yes, shut it off!!  Everything.  No FB, no e-mail, no Pinterest, no automatic messages popping up on your cell phone.  We’ve gotten to a point of thinking we need to be available every second of every day.  The world is not going to end if you’re offline for an hour of so.  I promise.  I know, it sometimes feels like that.

I talked about this in my To Don’t List blog.

From a work perspective:  When you get on the computer to accomplish something, shut down all of the other programs.  That incoming e-mail notification is going to be a distraction, whether you actually go to the message or you don’t.

From a workout perspective:  Resolve to use nothing except your workout log and/or music.  Trying to workout while checking email, texting, or playing solitaire (I’ve seen it…..please just don’t) is a waste of your time.

As you start your project (work or workout), shut off the cellular service function of your phone.  

Take it one step further by hitting “do not disturb”.   


4. Focus on just one thing.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 11.07.58 AM



I’m working on this one.

The way that I handle it is by setting specific blocks of time throughout the day.  This 30 minutes is only for checking e-mail.  This hour is only for working on a blog.  This hour is only for preparing proposals.

“It’s not ONLY one thing.  It’s only one thing at a time.”  – Gary Keller.


5. Use simple tools.

This, too, is about limiting distractions.

Jon Goodman shared this quote the other day.  “Apples have fallen on people’s heads since man first stood upright on two legs and walked under apple trees. But Isaac Newton was the first one to perceive the significance of this event.” – Rollo May

Think about that for just a second.

How many apples have fallen on your head without you thinking about them?

How many opportunities have come your way (even yesterday) which you missed because you were too distracted to even see them?

From a work perspective:  I had a perfect example of this last week.  One of my customers placed their order for handbooks too late for the production plant to get them out prior to our scheduled class.  I was too busy to give this much thought.  It crossed my mind but I was too fractured to actually think….until the morning of class.  I had finally had a good night’s sleep.  I finally had 10 minutes to truly focus on the issue.  I came up with a solution at 630.  Class started at 730.  “Disaster” averted.  While everything worked out, it sure would have been nice to have had the time to figure this out a few days in advance.

From a workout perspective.  Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be.  There are a lot of things advertised out there as “new” but the fact is your “old” standard exercises work.  You don’t need a new program.  You don’t need some fancy new gadget.  You don’t need the latest video.  You need to move your body.  Someone sent me a text yesterday.  “I can’t afford to go to the gym right now.  If I workout at home, is it as effective?”  YOU bring the intensity to your workout.  You can have effective workouts or be wasting your time in the gym.  You can have effective workouts or be wasting your time at home.

I have a notebook.  Yes, you read that correctly.  An actual lined-paper, coil-bound notebook. Several of them.  One for my to do list, one for my workout (plan and log), one for miscellaneous thoughts, one for blog ideas.

The notebooks are simple.  I can use them, even on the plane or if my laptop/phone batteries are dead (which is sadly, quite common).  There are no distractions.  I don’t have to be continually logging into some tracking app on my phone.  There are no flashing lights, no pop-up messages, nothing competing for my attention.


Stay focused.  Implement even one or two of these tips and see if it makes a difference for you.  I’ve been completely honest in sharing that I don’t do all 5 on a consistent basis.

We all have something we can improve on.

Do you have anything you would add to the list?  

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