Productive Or Busy?

How often do you answer the question “how are you doing?” with “I’m so busy”?  Think about it…. as wives, mothers, and business owners, we often wear busyness as a badge of honor.

But is “busy” really a label you want to wear? Does it mean, your business is doing well?  Does it mean we have it “all together” as moms?  Does it mean we are reaching our goals and being successful?

Or does busy just mean being occupied? You are doing stuff. I’m not saying some of it may not be purposeful but I am sure some of it is not.  Yes, some of it necessary while some of it we do simply out of habit.  Does being busy mean you are being productive?  Does it mean you are getting things done which actually need to get done?

Think about it… do you have a plan in place for the day or the week? Do you have a clear picture of what is important or what matters most?  If you are “busy”, the answer to both of these questions is probably NO!

What if you were to say “I’m productive” instead of “I’m busy”.  What’s the difference, right?  Semantics?  The reality is, it makes a HUGE difference in how you go about your day.  You become purposeful in what you are doing.

When you’re busy, you take on new tasks without considering whether you even have time to complete them. You are less likely to delegate the task to others.  You are less likely to ask for help.  Why delegate? Because when you delegate, you take time to think: “Do I really have to do this myself? Who could do it instead? When can I ask them? How long will it take to explain?” In many cases when you are busy, the response is “never mind, I’ll just do it myself.” In the long run you waste more time and get less accomplished. Being busy generates a more stressed and hurried way of life so doing it yourself is an easy answer.

What if you were to look at “hurrying up” as the one thing which is actually slowing you down? Yes, if you took just a moment to slow down, you could actually get more of the right things done in less time and be more productive. WOW!  I know it is crazy but it really does work.  It is a great way to de-clutter your life.

I find the weeks I am more productive are when I follow a simple process of planning out my week. I make a list of everything I’d like to accomplish this week. If a week is to overwhelming, do it just for a day.  Now, put each item into one of four categories: Do it. Delay it. Delegate it. Delete it.   Stick with me, it really does work and it can all be accomplished in about 10 minutes.  Yes, you have 10 minutes to spare when the end result is feeling more productive.

So, first pick the stuff you choose to do is important. It is a priority.  I know, right now everything seems to be a priority BUT try to limit it to no more than 3 things.  I hear the groans!

Now, move on to the stuff you can delay. These are things which are not urgent and may actually be causing you stress.  Maybe you really don’t have time to do it right now, and frankly, it doesn’t yet need to be done now. Add it to your schedule for a later date.  This is where my planner comes in handy.  I list things at the bottom of the week in the space called “infinite possibility”.  If I have time, great!  It may get done before the delayed date but most times, it doesn’t.  It is okay!

Here is the tough one – the stuff you delegate.  I will admit, I struggle with this on a regular basis.  Health challenges have helped me to put this in perspective.  Delegate things which do not require your personal attention. Someone else can handle it just fine. Okay, they may not do it your way BUT it will get done.  Does it really matter as long as the end result is the same?  Maybe it is tossing clothes in the washer.  Maybe it is putting labels on the catalogs.  Maybe it is putting out the trash or emptying the dishwasher.  Learning to let go and delegate things has made life less stressful for me which is a plus as some days the health challenges are a struggle.

The last list is the stuff you delete. It is those tasks which serve no important purpose at this time. We all have them.  So, give yourself permission to take them off your to-do list.

The truth is hurrying up or busyness is actually slowing you down. What can you change in order to be more productive?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

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