It seems that with the rapid advancement of technology and our perpetual connectedness with our smart devices that it is easy to become so busy, yet so ineffective. The easiest way to be effective is to just to it, but how do we just do it when it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day?
The following 6 tips may just help you get a jump on Increasing Your Productivity and Lessening Your ‘Busy’.
1. Make a List and Take an Ax to It! – Time management experts have long touted the claims of making lists, prioritizing, and the sense of accomplishment as you cross items off your list, but what they don’t tell you is that you really need to be ruthless at times and take an ax to your list. Yes, hack and chop away at the items that really don’t need to be on your list. Ask yourself, “Can this be delegated? Does this really need to be done now? Or can it be postponed or even eliminated?” There are certainly times when we realize that the hours in the day are not nearly as big as our appetite for busy. A packed calendar does not equal effective or productive- it just means busy. Are you spending time that you can’t get back efficiently?
2. Reboot- Your computer freezes. The mouse won’t do anything. The keyboard keys are useless. What do you do? A hard reboot. When we are busy, just plain busy, a forced reboot is vital to a fresh perspective, new thinking, and a new approach. Walk away from the computer, from the stack of papers, from that ‘thing’ that HAS to be done right this second. If even for 5 minutes, walk away. And when I say walk away, I mean away….like out of the building, down the street….grab a coffee….REBOOT. Believe me, your work is still going to be there, but you need to power down for no less than 5 minutes, 15 is better and if you do a 30 min reboot, more power to you! The key is to unplug, power down, and then turn it on. Don’t short circuit from over processing… simply put… chillax… then come back and hit it hard.
3. Fun Size It! - What?! You heard me. Fun size it. Just like Snickers fun size bars, break down your bigger tasks and projects into bite size morsels. Make it feel satisfying that you just accomplished that portion of the project so that you look forward to the next portion. And like #1- it’s okay to introduce portion control here… maybe you need to go on a diet and ax some stuff off your plate! However, when you create smaller size tasks, projects, and goals you seem to miraculously gain more hours in the day as less time is wasted on trying to do it all and efficiency is gained in getting it done!
4. Get Over Yourself- Sure, you have some great ideas, approaches, and strategies, but the phrase “two heads are better than one” is really a key to your success. Sometime we get so hung up and stuck in the way that “it has to be” that we don’t realize that is what is making us so busy and ineffective. Stop for a moment and bounce an idea off your colleagues head. And if you can do this while you are doing #2 and going for a power walk, you my friend are catching on rather quickly! Get out of your head, that whatever it is you are a working on has to be done in this way and by that group…talk it out…vent. Have you ever tried explaining something to someone and just by explaining it, the solution became clear? Stuck makes you busy…not effective. Get out of your head and solicit input from others. You will be amazed at how efficient and effective you become!
5. Ready… Aim! Goal! - If you don’t have daily goals, you will just keep being busy and not necessarily effective. Make your list, make it fun sized, add in some reboot sessions, and time to pick others brains, but most importantly set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Set fun sized goals- easy wins and some that are a bit of a stretch. Don’t give yourself a monumental list that you would need to clone yourself over and over to achieve. Set a few easy win goals and some that stretch you over the period of a month. You will be amazed at how the fun sized goals add up over that time period and how much you accomplish. One thing is for sure, when you start seeing how many tasks you achieve in a day, week, and month that contribute to your goal, your momentum seems to increase and it seems like there are more hours in the day. Strive for accomplishment of the bigger picture. Busy is an unfocused view of the big picture where everything blurs from the activity, but nothing really gets done.
6. Be the Big Kahuna- When I have you imagine a surf competition with historic waves in Hawaii what do you imagine? An insane surfer attempting to traverse the massive face of a wall of wave, right? But what you don’t think about is that the surfer is being observed and ranked on his/her performance while attempting to ride the wave. In business we need to be like that big kahuna surfer and be held accountable for what we are attempting...is your form right? Or are you just all over the place? We need someone who can hold us accountable for what we say we are going to accomplish and who might be able to point out flaws in our execution- flaws that just keep us ‘busy’, not necessarily conquering the wave.
Just remember that successful people are not gifted or lucky, they just work smart and then succeed on purpose.