Busy, but not productive?

So, you’re wearing many different hats. Do you find yourself being so “busy” but never feel like you’ve actually achieved anything useful by the end of the day?  You feel like you got nowhere and wondered where all the time went?

All of a sudden, it’s 5pm, because you’ve been in and out of meetings all day but then you’re plagued with guilt from that huge pile of paperwork. Hundreds of texts and emails await you. That mounting pile of paper weighs your desk down. You should’ve completed these things two weeks ago. So now, you’re tied to your desk till midnight…it’s a long day.

Keeping up this cycle is tiring. It will result in your stress levels rising and health levels diving, lowering your energy, focus and motivation. Surely you’ll end up being counter-productive. What’s causing this?

Here’s some reasons why you get too busy but are not being productive:

  • being overloaded with work and responsibilities, because you couldn’t refuse or say no to it
  • spending far too much time on a project or team that could have been delegated out to others
  • sorting out conflicts and problems that are beyond your skillset or authority, draining you
  • being unwell, emotionally and/or physically, so you’re tired and not focused
  • poor/lack of communication
  • failing to get results/things done well or on time

Priorities, people.

It could also be that you’ve not made the time to prioritise your day so you’re tackling all the “urgent” stuff instead of focusing on the “important” things first. Prioritise ‘what’s really important’ down to ‘this can wait.’  But then…where’s the time to do that, to think clearly, without being constantly interrupted and bombarded?

Procrastination – is that really the problem?

Then there’s procrastination –  sweeping all the ‘too difficult’ or ‘don’t know what to do’ things away into a corner,  ignoring them til the task or someone pressures you into dealing with it.

Add that to more stress and frustration…or maybe a crazy adrenaline rush from last minute-itis! Oh dear.

You get the picture.  All these situations eat into our precious time, draining the very last bit of our attention from the team or tasks that need it the most. If you don’t make intentional changes, you’ll be running around in circles, going nowhere…. fast.

Keep this up for long enough and you could say hello to burn out. Doesn’t this call for some drastic action? But, there’s just been no time to think through processes or what’s truly important, because of the pressing deadlines screaming out at you!

Let’s fix this.

It’s time to fix this –  take a break! Yes, a break, away from all that work and noise. Disconnect. If even a short 2 day holiday isn’t possible for you right now, take the time to re-evaluate your priorities and processes.

How would you know what the problem is if you’re being summoned by so many voices to do this and that? Firstly, you need to invest that precious time into getting some clear head space…oh and coffee too. Did I mention coffee?

Here’s what you can do to re-evaluate your time to be more productive:

1. Disconnect

  • Get away from all that noise and busyness!  Yes you need to just go do it. Go somewhere QUIET by yourself, where you can disconnect from the world, where you can think clearly and calmly.
  • Turn off your phone, take a pen and paper. Relax, the business isn’t going to fall over without you being there!
  • Do something relaxing, take a walk, sit down with a coffee,  listen to some relaxing music, maybe go to a spa. Anything to unwind.

2. Reflect

  • Now that you’ve got clear head space, take the time to think through, the #1 root issue. You might see all the connections (peripherals) to the root problem. What are those connections?
  • Most times, it is emotions like frustration, fear or guilt that’s driving our decisions. Identify the negative emotion.
  • Write down the negative emotion and think what’s the root issue deep down? Eg, the feeling of guilt of not doing enough = deep down you fear failure = you’ve tied your identity to what you do instead of who you are.
  • Replace the root issue/belief with the truth.  Write that down, confess it, till you believe it!

3. Change

  • What action or task do you need to change to reflect that change?
  • Make and commit to a plan (set deadlines) of making the necessary adjustments and changes.

Are you too busy while not being productive? What do you need to prioritise or change right now? How can you take the time to disconnect, to reflect and to change?

Remember, nothing will change unless you see what you need to change and that takes a commitment of time to see and to process. Invest in that time now.

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