It’s funny you know. The more people I talk to, the more I keep hearing the phrase “Sorry I can’t do that. I’m too busy”.
I have a few questions I like to ask anyone making this statement:
– what are you busy doing?
– are you missing out on anything because of it?
– and is that OK?
It’s no one else but you that needs to decide what you work on. My only hope is people may use a little more thought on why they are doing what they are doing. It’s ok to be busy if it’s working for you or you don’t care too much.
But spinning your wheels being busy is something that can be easily done if you are not careful.
There is a law that describes why you can be sucked into a vortex of time as you go about your day. It’s called Parkinsons Law and something I am hoping to get more people to be consciously aware of as they go about their day.
The law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
Crazy isn’t it.
I have a couple of tips that I hope can help reduce that time-suck, if this is something you want to change. Nothing new. Just a good mix of old idea’s into a cool way to decide what to work on.
The first thing I like to make sure I get is Down Time. I don’t know about you but the thought of working 100 hour weeks is just not my cup of tea. So I like to Schedule my downtime.
As an example, I like to leave Mondays open as a day that I can work on whatever I like. No one can book any time in my calendar on Mondays to talk to me or will be able to reach me on these days, unless I choose to reach out to them.
It’s a simple decision. I’ve decided to schedule in a day that I can do what I like. Can you imaging what this does for my motivation on other days? It’s like magic.
Another thing that I find helps is to define the type of work I want to do. And for me, that is the Right Things to work on. I’ve got certain goals I want to achieve so I make sure I am only working on things that can help me get there and say not yet.
I use a tool that Eisenhower came up with called the Urget/Important matrix to help me determine the right things to be working on. Here’s an awesome article on the tool: https://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/
How I use the tool is I take a white board, divide it into the four quarters of the matrix then using Post-It notes, I note everything I am currently working on or waiting to do, Then I stack each Post-It note for starting with the Least urgent and important. I now have a list of stuff to work on, one at a time.
It’s a simplified imlementation but if I am focused on a Lot of Urgent and Not Important things then I am always going to be busy and never get any results.
If you feel stuck doing a lot of Busy Work, I highly recommend you give this process a go and see how you feel.
I also challenge you to book a time in your calendar next week for some down time. Doesn’t have to be a big time but make sure it’s a bit of a stretch.
If you start thinking about how you are going to get everyhing doen so you can take the downtime then you probably have a big enough chunk of time. I’d say just take the time off and forget about all the other stuff you need to do.
You will be amazed at how much the world doesn;t blow up if you don;t get things done and how more motivated you are on other days to get your stuff done.