Five Ways To Be More Productive Right Now
Stop using “busy” as your excuse
When I’m in a business coach mode, a giant red flag appears when someone says they are too “buuuuusy” (seriously eye roll). If you’re wondering “Shannyn, how do I stop being so busy?” then you’ve come to the right place, or blog post (ha)! In this blog, I look at whether “busy” is being used as an excuse for being unproductive or for avoiding fear, and then offer up my top 5 tips on how to get out of the “busy” and get sh-uff done!
“Busy” affects our reality
Any person who studies positive psychology, mindset mastery or personal development will have heard about the impact that the language we use has on our inner psyche. If you tell yourself the night before a big day that you’re going to wake up on time and energised, you’re more likely to… well wake up on time and be more energised. SIMPLE!
It’s all about how we communicate
As a business coach, I’m pretty passionate about communication, and by virtue of that, language. Communication is a tool that we use to teach, to lead, coach and to affect change. This is my fun space which is why I’m fascinated about the language that we use to describe, and sometimes justify, our reality.
If you’ve been following me for a while I do tend to get on my high-horse when it comes to being “busy” – “Neeeiiigh”. Why do we use the language of “busy” when our words can have such a profound effect on how we experience reality?
Now, before you tell me about all the things on your to-do list, and that you haven’t taken a holiday in years, I get it. The challenge here is to determine whether you’re doing your best to get out of the “busy”. To focus on what’s important in order to achieve your outcomes. And the first step in this process is to stop and listen to what you’re telling yourself.
Start by complaining less
There is a converse argument–if you want something done, give it to a busy person. I would suggest this is true. If your time is limited, then your brain looks for shortcuts and hacks to get more done in less time. It’s Parkinson’s Law, which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” ( hands up who leaves most things to the last minute?).
I was always fascinated with the Heads of Surgical Departments that I worked with back in my former project management years, where they would have a full surgical load, lead a medical department, be a lecturer, write a bunch of academic papers, and still manage to hang on a global call at 4 AM working out how to improve outcomes for men with prostate cancer.
How do you fit that in a man? Well, let me assure you: none of them were complaining about being busy, they just cracked on.
Stop using the word “busy”
What gets me on my high-horse as a small business coach is the use of the word “busy” to justify:
- Dropping the ball
- Not prioritising
- Not taking the lead and being prepared to say “no”
- Not delegating, and
- Not setting up systems to be more efficient and effective.
It’s a very different discussion if, instead of saying “sorry, I’ve been so busy”, someone says to you: “yeah sorry, I didn’t do that because it wasn’t important enough to me, so I didn’t prioritise it”.
Playing the victim…?
In fact, I’d even assert that using “busy” disempowers you, because it suggests that you’re a victim of your circumstances. That you’re not in control of how you spend your time and are at the mercy of everyone else’s agendas.
How does that sit? Bit uncomfortable? GOOD!
When “busy” is used as an excuse for why we aren’t achieving what we would like to achieve, my ears prick up.
As a business owner and business coach, I think every minute wasted is an opportunity wasted. Now don’t get me wrong, there has to be time for idle chit-chat, for diffuse thinking, and I’ll even give you leeway to spend time on Facebook scrolling to give your brain a rest.
But if “busy” has become your new norm, I want to challenge you to think about the impact that this language is having on your success. If you used more empowering language, would it make a difference to your reality? (*hint: it probably will).
Here are my top five recommendations to get out of busy and get more out of your time.
Plan what you need to get done, short and long-term. Plan the next day the night before so that your unconscious can prime your mind to get stuff done. When planning, prioritise activity based on Eisenhower’s matrix of Important / Urgent and stay in the important quadrants.
2. Minimise distractions and “shiny things”
That includes your team members. The number of leaders that have said “but I have told my team that I have an open-door policy”… and my response to that is, “and how is that impacting your ability to get through your work?”
Allocate time to catch up with your team. Make it frequent and always on time so you become more reliable. This also means that often left to their own devices, your team will often find a solution themselves. #winwin
3. Delegate, delegate, DELEGATE
We all go through growing pains when learning to delegate. The different brain space needed to follow up as opposed to doing can be challenging. But if you’re too busy to get home on time to see your little one play sport like you promised, you need to start offloading that work…NOW.
4. Find the bottlenecks of time in your business
Spend time “on” your business critically analysing where the bottlenecks of time are. Would implement a new system be more effective if invested in now for long-term benefit?
5. Check-in with yourself
Have a think about the ACTUAL reason you didn’t do what you said you would… could it be a bit of fear standing in the way? (*another hint: most likely).
Ready for a challenge?
In order to change NOW, I challenge you today to:
- Change your language and see how much more empowering it is.
- Remove any words such as “busy”, “crazy”, “out of control”, or “insane” when describing the environment that you’re currently working in.
- Have a think about what you might be avoiding and see the impact you have as a result!
- Check over my top 5 and commit to one action that you can take NOW to get out of the “busy”.
Feeling overwhelmed and need a little help?
If you’re too “busy” to achieve what you want, I can help. I specialise in small business coaching in Melbourne, and you can easily book a complimentary 15-minute chat with me to get out of the weeds and move into action!
Leadership Personal Development Productivity Time Management