Are you being productive or just busy? One vast difference between being busy and being productive is the achievement of an end goal like getting stuff done. However, despite giving our best efforts, being productive can be harder that in sounds. Many of us can relate to the overwhelming feeling of having lots to do, but not actually getting anything done, and we often find ourselves with a seemingly endless stack of tasks that we just can’t seem to put a dent in. Here are some valuable tips on how to reduce that busy feeling and yield productive results.
A body without food is like a car without fuel…except that is where the analogy ends. A body is far more complex. Our brains need specific nutrients to function productively, so source them from whole-grains, low-fat protein and plenty of fruit and veg. Smaller, more regular meals also take far less energy to digest, helping you to avoid that dreaded post-lunch lull.
Create a checklist
We all know a person who gets an immense thrill out of making lists, strange right? But the truth is, this savvy individual is actually onto something brilliant. Writing everything down not only prevents details from being forgotten, it allows you to categorise and prioritise tasks to set realistic and achievable goals. Not to mention the smug satisfaction of ticking them off…and done!
See the Bigger Picture
With a narrow vision, getting bogged down in the trivial details can be overwhelming. On both a personal and professional level, an inability to see the bigger picture, or end goal, can cause us to waste time and energy. So, when struggling with decisions over seemingly menial tasks simply ask yourself, does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
Take walk breaks
It is no secret the benefits of regular exercise on general health, but how can it improve your productivity on a day-to-day basis? A study from Stanford University showed that a person’s creative output increases by an average of 60% after going for a walk. So, make the time, chase those good endorphins and harness that productivity.
Say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ Choicefully
In a society consumed by the fear of offending, telling people ‘no’ can seem like hard work, and for some, even daunting. But saying ‘yes’ to everything is not productive, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Turning things down allows you to make space for the tasks that really matter, and most importantly guarantees you a little rest – fresh mind, fresh ideas.
Cut Meeting Times in Half
A colossal detriment to your productivity, disorganised meetings drag out potentially very simple discussions. Get the ball rolling and cut your meeting time in half by setting clear objectives, only inviting necessary attendees and never starting late. If you’re desperate, try standing meetings; bringing a literal meaning to ‘thinking on your feet’ studies show it takes people 30% less time to make decisions when stood up.
Do Not Disturb
It’s hard to put a dent in your workload when being constantly bombarded with questions and emails. Interruptions to workflow, no matter how brief, make you feel busier and reduce productivity. So, spell it out loud and clear with a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your office door, or the electronic equivalent feature on your phone and emails.
Learn to Delegate Effectively
The concept of relinquishing control is somewhat alien to many of us, but as a method of reducing busyness, it is truly second-to-none. The key to successful, productive delegation is an established support network of trusted individuals. Set boundaries, keep track of progress, and provide sufficient support, just make sure you restrain the urge to micromanage.
So, think about the past few weeks or months of your life and ask yourself this question: Have I been busy or productive? Whether you lean more towards the “busy” or more towards the “productive” side, do not panic. Know that you can start to change and get better with over time.