Many of us are good at being busy but not so good at being productive. It can seem that the more one rises in their career, and reaches certain levels of success, they might have the opportunity to take on more roles and wear just as many hats—whether that might be growing the business, thinking of a new start-up, or even accepting a position on the board of a charity.
Our roles vary and expand with our age and experience. But it can come with a price. As our to-do lists become more linear, many of us can find that we are running around striking things off never-ending to-do lists. At the end of the day you could feel drained and exhausted, but still feel like you haven’t achieved anything. Being wildly busy can be the very thing that is holding us from achieving our goals.
Work smarter not harder: Asian Wealth looks at how you can avoid being too busy to be productive.
Once you have reached a certain level of success, it can seem as if everyone wants you to be their advisor, mentor, be on their Board, or deliver a speech at one of their events. Fact is, being all of this to many people will ultimately take you away from your own goals. You will cease to do what you want while you fulfil other people’s needs. While it is always commendable to extend yourself to others, it would be wise to be selective about how much you commit to, or it will end up being a disservice to yourself and others.
How many times do you find you’re being pulled into meeting after meeting which just adds to your mounting list of things to do? Question it every time. Do you really need to be at every meeting? Is there another way to get things done? Could you achieve the same result using the phone, email or even a web-based meeting? For the few meetings that you must attend, make sure you have a cut-off point and a set agenda and goal.
While being busy can pull a person in many directions with no clear aim, productivity means to be clear and focused. Being selective about which courses of action are most important for you and focusing the right amount of time and resources on those actions will result in more productive work being done in less time. The key to this is to identify what the most important actions are. Make a list of your most important priorities and goals to ensure that whatever you do and whoever you meet works in synergy within that paradigm.
“There’s perfection, and then there’s deadlines”, says J Swami, editor and publisher. He suggests that while we may strive for absolute perfection in every piece of work, you need to give that job a life span. Though deadlines are seen as if they were adding to stress, they ultimately help you to focus on the project at hand within a certain time frame. And rather than over thinking and planning too much, there’s a greater sense of achievement in completing the task at hand and moving on. Obsessing over the little details or micro managing your team will slow you all down. Productive people keep the bigger picture in sight.
Carve out some time by actually putting yourself in your calendar. We book meetings with many people, so in the same way, you need to consciously schedule time to work on your goals. Just as we might have a list of things to work through in a meeting with others, block out time to prioritise and make plans for yourself. Investing good planning time in yourself will help you to be more focused, efficient, and productive.
Taking time out means to step away to take stock of what you’re doing. Actively schedule breaks in your working week. Get away from your phone and the computer and go for a walk, or to the gym…anything that will be replenishing for the body and mind. It is equally important to get away for a few days regularly. The change of scenery and break in your routine will refresh the mind, help improve concentration, realign your priorities and help you to take stock of what is most important to you.
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