Do you have days where you feel like you’ve never stopped?
Are your days frenzied and rushed?
Do you repeatedly feel overwhelmed?
Do you spend your days responding to situations?
Do you feel as if you are continually doing things but never seem to get anything accomplished?
Do you finish your day tired and discontented?
Do you feel like you are getting anywhere?
Don’t you hate that feeling, when you’ve never stopped but achieved nothing. With all those responsibilities on your shoulders, your days so often just seem to get so “busy.” Yet many of you frequently get to the end of a very busy day without accomplishing anything productive what so ever.
Think back over the past few days. Were you busy or were you productive?
Do you wake up with a plan for your day but end up being busy doing other things? You get none of what you planned done, and at the end of the day you have nothing to show for all of your time spent being busy. You already know that you can fill a 40 or 50 hour week with activities to keep you busy, but that doesn’t mean that you are actually being productive. Well it does achieve one thing, it leaves you feeling over-whelmed, under pressure and unfulfilled.
A great deal of our lives, and our valuable time and energy, is spent being busy, but to no end. Being busy doesn’t always mean we accomplished what we set out to do. How much time do you waste doing unproductive things?
Busy can be defined as when you are ‘Engaged in action or activity as work, occupied, being in use or full of activity’. Where as Productive means ‘Having the quality or power of producing especially in abundance, effective in bringing goods, yielding results, benefits, or profits. Involved in the creation or making of goods and services to produce wealth or value’.
Busy people spend their time running around trying to do everything they can, but achieving nothing. Productive people actually get things done.
There may be many things you want to do. You could easily fill your day, but there just isn’t enough time to do it all. If you have goals you want to achieve, that will have a major impact in your life, you have to accomplish more, and to do this you have to learn to be productive where you will achieve more each and every day and successfully be able to realise your goals.
When you are always in a busy, frantic state you are unable to clarify and focus on what will really make a difference in your life. You just fill your time with things that, in one form or another, you will do for the rest of your life, moving you not a step forward. Is this the type of life you want?
It is not enough if you are busy. The question is, “What are you busy about?” -Henry David Thoreau
Be sure to spend most of your time and energy on activities and things that really matters in your life. Being productive means you are putting your energy where it matters most.
Focus on being productive instead of busy. Timothy Ferriss
To achieve success and be more productive, you have to keep working on improving and developing yourself. Well, that I guess is why you visit my blog.
Nothing is easier than being busy and nothing is more difficult than being effective. Alex MacKenzie
So now let us look at how to turn your busy days into productive days.
Step 1: Get Your goals Clear
How can you decide what’s the most important thing for you to do, if you don’t actually know what it is you want to achieve. To make sure you spend most of your time each day productively, you have to keep your goal in mind at all times. It will drive you, make your effort feel worthwhile. You will want to push yourself forward, when you know where it is you want to get to. Without goals you are more like the chicken without a head. When we are not clear about our goals, we often run around feeling overwhelmed because all we are doing is keeping ourselves busy, with no direction.
Step 2: Get your Priorities Right
To achieve productive results in your daily life you have to learn to prioritise. If you do this you will find your Daily To-Do List will be far shorter than normal. Now you will plan and prioritise your day in the most effective way possible. Your daily to-do list should include no more than three to five top priorities for the day; two at least are those things that will have the most positive impact on your life. Ask yourself this question: “What can I do that will get me the most return on my time?”
Step 3: Focus on one thing at a time
Concentrate all your efforts on the task you are performing at that very moment, don’t multitask. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. To the best of your ability. You can only give something 100% when you focus on it. Complete what you are doing before you move on to the next task. Get it finished! If you multitask you may think that you are being more productive, but in reality you are not.
Step 4: First Things first
Do essential tasks first. If you’ve got a list of things to do today, and one or two of them are truly essential, do those items first thing in the morning. Don’t wait until later in the day, because they’ll get pushed back as other urgent things come up. Get them out of the way, and your productivity will benefit.
Step 5: Don’t over do it
Don’t commit yourself to more than you can handle, and don’t under estimate how long things will take you. Take on each day what you know you can achieve, and leave the rest to another time. When you know that you have important things to get done, you have to learn to say ‘no’ to any other tasks or responsibilities.
Step 6: Give yourself time for a break
Don’t let yourself get run down or exhausted. You need to get away from work for a time. You need time to clear your head. Take an hour, or lots of 5 minute breaks (not to many mind) The time you take off will be well worth it. Tell everyone that you are unavailable, shut off all communications, shut yourself in somewhere private.
Step 7: Avoid Distractions
You can be really well intentioned, knowing what you need to get done, yet distractions can so easily push you off your path. To name a few things that can really eat away at your time I’d include telephone calls, emails, and for us bloggers social media sites where we end up chatting for way to long to our friends. My personal pet hate is text messages. There I may be totally absorbed in my creative flow of writing a blog post, my phone beeps telling me I have a text message. If I ignore it, 15 minutes later another arrives asking if I’m still alive. Thank god for the silent button. Without these distractions you maybe surprised by how much more you can get accomplished. .
Step 8: Master the moment – Be Present
Stay present with whatever it is you are doing at every moment, whether you are working, spending time with your children, or your friends, be totally focused on what you are doing. Always focus on the task at hand. If you’re with somebody on the phone, do only that. Be there in the conversation. If you’re in a meeting, be present. If you’re doing a task by yourself, focus on that. Forget everything else.
Step 9: Get Organised
The more organized you are the more time you will have because you will not waste time looking for things, and you will be more efficient.
Step 10: Don’t Procrastinate:
When you procrastinate something important because you don’t want to deal with it you try to get busy with other things that don’t really matter. You get busy talking on the phone, dealing with other people’s problems and issues that are not yours, walking around the office or the house trying to find something else to do. Don’t procrastinate; you have to do something important and urgent to do, as the advert says ‘just do it’.
Step 11: Reflect on what you have accomplished
At the end of the day, reflect on and celebrate what you have produced today. This reflection is important to your sense of achievement.
These steps will help you strike the right balance between being busy and getting things accomplished!
Every time you catch yourself busy doing things that don’t really matter, say this to yourself: ‘Is this being productive, if not I must stop and move on’.
As a productive person your level of satisfaction is going to be so much better. You go to bed at night knowing that you had a great and productive day and that you are going to make tomorrow even a better day. Life can be so great.
“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” Tony Robbins