“Beware of the barrenness of a busy life” ~ Socrates
Becoming overly busy is usually a gradual process that we become caught up in, and for many reasons cannot see our way out of it. Now being busy is not bad, if one is productive. You need to ask yourself the question “am I just being busy or am I really being productive at accomplishing what I want or need to?”
It is so easy to become caught in the “busy cycle”. We jump on the carousel of life, work, home, play, and as we start to go around, we begin to look for the “golden ring” to pull and just as we draw close to it, our horse begins to go up and down, as we pass by the ring and it is just out of our reach. So around we go again hoping the next time we will be close enough to grab it.
In the last decade, more people seem to struggle with this busy cycle and you would think with the advances of technology our lives would be somewhat simpler. Surveys are showing more often than not that the new tools of technology can be draining us of our time and we are distracted by it.
For example, the endless time consuming task of filtering through, reading and answering email. Our smart phone dings and we immediately pick it up to see who has emailed, texted, Facebooked or twittered us. These things did not exist to this extent 10 years ago. And why is it that we feel that we must immediately look and answer unless that is our job?
Along with allowing ourselves to constantly be interrupted by technology there are a few other things that will cause us to be busy, but not productive;
- Poor planning – Flying by the seat of your pants just does not work if you want to be productive.
- Overburdening yourself – We have all been given the same 24 hours in a day, be realistic at what you can produce.
- Procrastination – Spending more time complaining and contemplating what needs to be done than actually just doing it.
Riding the carousel is fun at first, but after a while of not being able to reach the golden ring we really want the ride to just stop. What can we do to get off the busy carousel and increase our productivity?
- Assess the current situation – What are your hang-ups, time-sucks, and distractions?
- Adjust what needs to be done – For example I needed to keep my phone in my purse while working. Setting how much time you can allow for email, blogs, or surfing the intranet. Give yourself timelines and deadlines.
- Act to implement a new course of action – Finding your high productive time and doing bigger or harder tasks during that time. A recent study showed that people who were early birds were more productive than night owls. Find what works for you and then set your course of action around it.
- Allow yourself the freedom to revisit, adjust and implement often if needed. Things change and what works today may not tomorrow.
“We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with an end in mind” ~ Stephen R. Covey