Yesterday, I spoke about the difference between being busy and being productive.
It can be difficult to call ourselves out when we say that we are “busy all the time”. There are always things to do and there’s no doubt that we can feel like there are a million things going on. This is what we call busy.
But being ‘busy’ shouldn’t be the norm. We should be focused, productive and engaged. If we are applying ourself with intent, we are likely to get less overwhelmed, feel less anxious and get more done.
Here are some strategies that I use to be less busy, and more productive:
- At the beginning of each day, set your intention. Write down what your focus will be for the day and your 3-4 highest value actions
- Set aside 60-90 minute blocks or ‘sprints’ of deep work. I’ve spoken about this in previous posts, here and here. Turn your phone on flight mode, put yourself in an environment that is conducive to work and get stuck into one task.
- Use project-based work. We tend to work better when we consider our work as ‘projects’ (i.e. something with a clear deadline/ end-date and clear measurables).
- Limit yourself to focusing on only a few ‘projects’ at a time. For example, I have three projects that I am currently working on:
- Power of Change workshop,
- Group connection work at Virtus, and
- Developing a developmental coaching program
- Give yourself regular breaks. Go for a walk outside, meditate, train, have some lunch or go out for coffee with a friend. Disengage from the work.
When we create these boundaries for ourselves, we are not only setting ourselves up for success but we are protecting our down time.
Ultimately, if we feel busy, we need to reset, check in with what is important and what we are trying to achieve. This might help to clarify the things that might be occupying our energy that can be let go.
P.S. Thanks to John Marsh for providing inspiration for these strategies.