Busy Being Busy: How to Be More Productive
If you’re like most ambitious and motivated people, then you are likely bogged down by a routine of “busy being busy.” Of course, it’s perfectly normal to feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up. But despite this common problem, being frantically busy is not a healthy mindset.
Staying constantly busy, with a long to-do list that never seems to get shorter, can be draining both mentally and physically. It can even lead to less productivity in the long run.
Think of how many times you felt like you were constantly active and working all day. Only to be disappointed by how little you accomplished when everything was said and done. If you have been in this situation before, remember that this isn’t an indication that you are lazy, disorganized, or ineffective at doing your job. It simply means that you could use a few pointers to be more productive and to work smarter instead of harder.
So, if you need a little assistance in streamlining all the things you need to do on any given day. Then consider these tips on how to be more productive and to put an end to the cycle of “busy being busy.”
The 80/20 rule (also known as the Pomodoro Technique) was developed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. It says that 80% of the results will inevitably come from 20% in any pursuit of the efforts. In the business or everyday realm, this means that you should focus on the most important 20% of your work or daily tasks. And find a way to minimize the remaining 80% of your schedule.
There is likely a big discrepancy between what are important tasks and needs to get done versus what can wait and be pushed to the back burner without guilt. To identify what is most important in your long list of things to do, start at the top to enjoy your work’s biggest benefits and rewards and ensure that the big items are tackled.
You know when you have an important project that you need to do, but get distracted by other incidents that kept popping up throughout the day? Maybe you get off track by checking your incoming emails and encountering a new crop of questions or problems. Or perhaps a phone call or request interrupts you and your attention constantly diverts elsewhere.
It’s not unusual for everyone in your work and social circles to accidentally “time steal.” And to divert your focus from the big things on your plate for the day. But just because someone calls, texts, or emails you with a new issue or problem to solve, it doesn’t mean that you have to immediately respond and put their needs ahead of yours!
Multi-tasking certainly sounds like a good idea on the surface. But more often than not, you are skimming from one task to the next without doing any real, deep work. So put an end to multi-tasking by keeping your attention on the task or project at hand. Only check your emails once or twice a day, (or even just once an hour), instead of looking at your inbox every time you get a “new message” alert.
Apply the same concept to phone calls and text messages. And know that just because someone reaches out, you don’t have to reply with an immediate response. By scheduling when you check your emails and phone calls, instead of sporadically checking throughout the day, you can eliminate unnecessary distractions and focus on what is important to YOU, instead of what’s important to everyone else.
Procrastination is another common roadblock to productivity, as it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when the work ahead seems too big, too time-consuming, or too difficult to handle.
But you can minimize procrastination by looking at the little picture, instead of the big picture. Take a big project you have been procrastinating on, and divide it into smaller tasks. This makes it much easier to accomplish, step by step.
For example, if your ultimate goal is to write a book, set aside 20 minutes to create an outline, research publishing options, or work on the first chapter. If you need to spring clean the house, designate 30 minutes to start on a single room. Those little tasks add up. And are inherently easier to digest, so that you can get rid of procrastination, one step at a time.
Burnout is a real phenomenon, and if you are trying too hard to be productive, your work may ultimately suffer. We work at our best when we are fresh and our cognitive abilities are firing on all cylinders.
So, allow your brain the opportunity to take a minute break and recharge throughout the day to ensure your peak performance. Stand up and stretch at least once every hour.
Or designate a couple of morning breaks to simply relax and focus on something pleasant and not work-related. By allowing yourself to rest, your brain and body can take a moment to catch up and to think clearly. Whatever the day brings.
It’s OK if you feel a little lost when it comes to being productive and determining what you need to do and when. Some of the most successful people in the world struggle with productivity and working too hard with limited results. This is why they reach out to professionals for an extra boost!
We offer a wide range of tailored management and training programs designed to allow you to work at your best with confidence and peak productivity. From finding smarter ways to stay organized. To understanding when to take on the hard stuff and when to delegate.
A little professional insight can go a long way in ensuring that you are maximizing your productivity. All while still having plenty of time to actually enjoy your life!
Contact us today, and we’ll work together to identify your training needs. And the optimal next steps that work best with your busy schedule. With a little help, you can stop staying busy being busy. And you can enjoy a healthier, more enjoyable, and more ambitious daily routine.