Just saying that you are busy has become a badge of honor! There are folks who feel pride in it but, are they productive?
We respond to questions about how we’re doing with an automatic, “I’m good. Life’s been busy!” And it’s completely normal to do so since society has long glorified busyness as something, we should be proud of.
We tend to feel like we’re measured by how busy we are and not about how productive we can get. Why are these terms the gold standard of our value, and what if we measured our productivity and success in other ways — say by the quality of our relationships, getting the work done that matters the most, our quality of life, our health, and our personal growth?
We tend to feel guilty or lazy when we’re not busy, in the traditional sense of the word, as if our worth and value as a productive member of society is dependent on just how much we “get done.” What’s missing in this busy paradox is balance.
Keeping yourself (or someone else) busy doing meaningless or unnecessary tasks, simply for the sake of avoiding idleness, seems like a pointless waste of energy.
The study of human behavior is full of such paradoxes: People are happier when they do X. If you ask them, they’ll even tell you they prefer to do X. Unfortunately, people often don’t actually do X — they do the opposite of X. And they have no idea WHY.
On the contrary, one could be busy with no sight of the results or an end goal. We can all start work and then, leave it in-between or half-baked or unfinished — remember, we were BUSY DURING THIS TIME FOR SURE 🙂
and like they say…
Winning horses are any day better than running donkeys!
As it turns out, always being busy isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect anymore. Among many reasons for this, there are a few that stand out to me.
It can actually be a sign of an inability to manage our lives well. Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, few people have a legitimate need to be busy ALL of the time. For the rest of us, we simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize correctly, or say no.
“Being busy is not the same as being productive,” and is more often used as a guide for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions. Being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
So, what should we do to be productive but stay away from busyness? (6 TIPS)
- When you’re busy, you opt out of opportunities. When you’re busy, you often miss opportunities because you only see them as distractions, not spaces for you to grow and advance.
- When you’re busy, you don’t prioritize effectively. It’s KEY to focus on the Most Important Tasks (MIT) and prioritize them based on the end result, monetization, scope, or any other factor that matters to you.
A Most Important Task (MIT) is a critical task that will create the most significant results. Every day, create a list of two or three MITs, and focus on getting them done as soon as possible.
- Adopt the right tools. There are many tools available these days that we all can use and adapt to prioritize our tasks.
Yes, a paper and pen will also work but make sure you have the right template available in front of you.
I am a constant user of Eisenhower Matrix every time I have multiple projects or tasks to be managed. Here is a quick glimpse of Eisenhower Matrix that you can use anytime.
- Post prioritization, manage your tasks. Make sure you have all your tasks listed and categorized based on each initiative or project. Set-up a duration, assign to yourself or to a specific person or teams, and set-up reminders.
A few tools or apps worth mentioning here are Todoist, Evernote, Notion. Do checkout Evernote and Todoist for sure.
- Re-prioritize your tasks. Remember that we will have new tasks coming in, priorities will change based on our interactions, communication, and emergencies. Do set-up time and re-assign these tasks and act accordingly.
- Manage your procrastination! It’s easy to postpone your work or chores but here are different ways you could manage your procrastination.
Being busy requires a consistent shifting of focus, which takes you away from using concentrated effort to complete the tasks you need too.
You can only execute when you have the space to develop ideas. Being busy takes you out of that space.
“Innovation is rewarded, but execution is worshipped.”
Shift the way you talk about your schedule from “busy” to “full.”
It’s funny how much wording can shift the way we feel. When I go from the phrasing of “busy” to “full,”
I feel so much more purposeful about how I look at my schedule. Living a full life involves doing things that fill us up and add value to our lives. I don’t want to simply be busy, but instead, fill my time with meaning, and do things that serve my greater purpose in life.