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How To Stop Being Busy And Start Being Productive
Do you feel like a hamster on a wheel? Or perhaps just endlessly rushing from one place to the next? Occasionally, being busy can feel exhilarating; however, it can quickly lead to overwhelm. Constantly being busy leads us to keep pushing ourselves to the limits. However, the more we push ourselves to do more and be busy, the less we enjoy what we actually do.
When you are busy, you end up being mindless as you begin to complete tasks on autopilot. This means you struggle to find time to stop and think about what you are doing and make sure you are doing it well. Perhaps you don’t even really need to be doing the task at all, but you’ve been so busy you haven’t considered saying ‘no’.
Why we like being busy
In today’s society, being busy is an achievement and an aspiration. Society respects and admires people supposedly having and juggling it all. When you then compare your ability and results to what you see in others, you can struggle to see your own success. Instead, you may feel inadequate and dissatisfied that you should be doing more. You can often feel guilty for not accomplishing everything you want to.
Of course, it’s normal to want it all. However, building a career, business or family and making time for relationships, a social life, studying, and hobbies can lead you to spread yourself too thinly. You end up losing focus of what’s really important. Ultimately, you end up becoming someone who does, rather than someone who is. When you are always on the go, you can lose sight of who you are and what really matters to you.
The focus on being busy is hard to steer away from. It is easy to think that you should be doing more or you need to be a better person so that you can accomplish everything you want to. However, you don’t have to master being busy to achieve it all. Instead, you need to focus on how to stop being busy and how to start being productive.
How to be productive
Think quality over quantity
Being busy can reduce the quality of your actions. However, it is quality over quantity that matters. There is an old saying; a stitch in time saves nine. If you end up completing tasks on autopilot or mindlessly, you reduce the quality.
In some cases, you’ll have to repeat the tasks because of the mistakes you make when you are mindless. As a busy person, you don’t have time to do it again. Ultimately, it is better to give yourself more time to do something well than to do it quickly and have to do it multiple times.
Change the mindset
Does ticking a task off your to-do list feel like an accomplishment? Even though your task list is never-ending? To-do lists can be great, but they can quickly become endless and as a result, become overwhelming. To-do lists actually detract from the outcome of the task; perhaps you don’t feel pride at a job well done or what it will do for you. Instead, you simply want it off your to-do list.
Change your mindset to focus on what the task actually achieves rather than just the fact you get to tick it off. For example, don’t think about ticking grocery shopping off your list of things to do. Instead, think about the rewarding outcome of preparing a delicious, enjoyable meal and perhaps sharing it with friends or a loved one.
Less is more
The secret to productivity isn’t finding more hours in your day but instead choosing the right things to do and doing them well. Being productive doesn’t mean you should be doing more and more. In fact, to be productive, you need space, time and silence. This gives you the headspace to actually think about the task and what you need to do it well.
Being productive brings much more satisfaction than being busy. So start to focus on the essentials and be mindful about what you do. Start by eliminating all of the things on your to-do list which are unnecessary, then start to look at removing the tasks that don’t make you happy, or don’t help you to fulfil a goal.
Yes, it can be difficult to say no to people, but eventually, once that weight is lifted and the task removed, it is another thing you can stop feeling guilty about. People who care about you will want to see you happier and without stress, so will understand why you are saying no. What’s more, for people that don’t care about your wellbeing, you shouldn’t feel guilty about saying no to them!
If you do say yes to another responsibility, think twice about it. Remember, you are allowed to change your mind.
Make some space
To stop being busy and start being productive, you need space. Start by purposefully leaving empty spaces in your calendar and make sure you don’t end up encroaching into this time. To be at your best, you need to dedicate time to yourself. It can be helpful to schedule regular pause breaks throughout the day, to give you time to reflect on what you’ve done and to gear up for what you are about to do.
You can also make space by condensing your to-do list to a small space, such as a small post-it note. With a smaller space, there is only so much you can do. This will help you to prioritise what you really need and want to do. When you have written your to-list, rank each task from critical to irrelevant. Anything irrelevant can be removed from your list and then you have space for another task. Keep revising your smaller to-do list until the list is fulfilling and you feel happier.
Remember, every time you write a to-do list, do a review. It will help to make sure that irrelevant tasks don’t creep into your valuable time.
Focus on you
It is helpful to regularly reassess how you use your time. Ask yourself questions such as;
- What do I want?
- Is what I’m doing helping me to achieve my goal?
- What gets me out of bed in the morning, and what gives me energy?
- What brings me joy and happiness?
- Is there anything I absolutely have to do?
- What do I love doing?
It may also help if you impose some boundaries to help give you time and assess your priorities. These rules may be;
- Switching your phone off in the evening
- Not working at weekends
- Dedicate an evening or afternoon of ‘me-time’ a week
- Limiting screen time on holidays and weekends
- Dedicate time to goal-setting and reflection.
If you need help getting off the hamster wheel and focus on how to be productive and stop being busy, then my blended therapy techniques of hypnosis, mindfulness and meditation can really help. Let’s talk about your goals and what you hope to achieve with a free consultation. Book your free consultation today by calling 0207 971 7677.