How many times have you got to the end of a busy day and wondered what you actually got done? Busy work and productive work often look similar on the surface, but the two have a very different impact on your goals. The first occupies time, and the latter leads to outcomes. Do you want to discover how to stop being busy and start being productive? If so read on.
Create an Action Plan
Busy work is usually reactive work. We start doing without thinking about what’s priority. It diverts your attention from critical tasks and usually feeds your need to tick boxes and achieve quick wins. This busy work can manifest in many forms, excessive email checking, organising and reorganising, and scrolling through social media or the internet. A lot of busy work is mechanical, allowing you to drone out mentally.
Creating an action plan with your priorities for the day helps you set clear objectives and reduce the risks of working mindlessly. Setting a purpose for yourself keeps you present and focused on working toward small and large goals. An action plans lays out a specific path and list of things to do that’ll keep you on the right track and hopefully away from detours.
Set Timers and Alarms
Tracking time with timers and alarms allows you to better grasp where you spend most of your time and hold yourself accountable. Timers and alarms improve productivity in several ways:
- Allocates focus periods
- Prevents you from getting carried away with one task
- Gives you deadlines that generate a sense of urgency
- Reminds you to take breaks, minimising burnout
You don’t have to do this every hour of every day but it can help significantly when you are trying to stay focused on a particular project or piece of work. The Pomodoro technique can help to focus you.
get organized and productive
Are you constantly wasting time looking for or reorganizing your work essentials? Organise your work space and make sure there is a place for everything. When your environment is disorganised it is difficult to stay focused on the task you should be focused on. One way to stay organised is to have a good productivity daily planner to keep track of your goals, tasks and habits. Another way to feel more organised and in control is to have a good workbag that keep your items organised and accessible. I love having a space for all my bits and pieces and always knowing where things are.
Distractions can lead to a lack of focus or procrastination. Minimising distractions increases your focus and ensures you spend your time intentionally. Turn off email notifications, keep your personal devices out of reach, and use specific apps and programs to limit your access to social media and the internet. Apps like Freedom or Cold Turkey Blocker. You can use headphones and listen to websites like Focus at Will or Brain.fm. You cut out distractions from your workday in many ways, you just have to first set the intention and then you can follow through.
Reflect and Evaluate
Self-reflection and evaluation can give you insight into potential hindrances and improvements you can make to your workday. Reflecting back on your day informs you whether you droned out or made progress on outcomes.
Evaluations and reflections allow you to assess and alter your workdays to ensure you remain productive.
Staying on track and avoiding busy work generates beneficial outcomes and reduces your chances of burnout from constantly feeling exhausted and unaccomplished. So stop being busy and start being productive with these top tips, and make every workday count.