At the end of the day, are you exhausted? Have you been running around and staying super busy but can’t see the fruits of your labor? If so, you’ve probably been sucked into the dreaded busywork vortex. This frustrating trap can be hard to escape. Especially if you don’t even realize that’s where you’ve landed.
Busywork is anything that keeps you moving, engaged and distracted from your real work. Busywork feels like real work, but it gives you no beneficial or profitable outcomes. Engaging in busywork means you have gotten off track and might need to reorganize your priorities. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. So many of us get lost inside unfruitful busywork.
First, start your day off on the right foot because what you do in the morning will set the pace for the rest of your day. Not everyone is a “morning person,” but for many people some of the best, most productive, and creative work can occur when the day is fresh and new. Avoiding social media and emails, at the beginning of your day, will prevent you from being distracted by other people’s agendas.
I know this sounds counterintuitive, but having an out of control to-do list usually adds unnecessary tasks to your day. A to-do list can be a mile-long reminder of things that may or may not get accomplished. Most people tend to put unnecessary, unproductive, busywork tasks on their to-do lists. Learn to delete and delegate those tasks. Go from To-Do to TaDa!
We tend to believe that people who multitask are efficient and effective because they seem to complete multiple tasks in the same amount of time it takes other people to only complete one task. Not true. The American Psychological Association says there is something called “switching” costs that can cost multitaskers as much as 40 percent of their productive time. Focusing on one task at a time is actually more efficient.
Finally, when you have finished a task or project, move on to something else. Don’t drive yourself crazy with being perfect. It’s a waste of time and creates more busywork. Nothing is perfect. Nothing. If you are obsessing about how to make a project better, hire someone else to help you so you can move on to more important things. Hiring an expert to review your work might give you a sense of completion and peace of mind.
Being busy doesn’t always mean you’re being efficient or effective. Try to find a good balance in your busy day. Only work on what is important to you because it’s a great feeling to see the fruits of your labor at the end of a productive day! Use this Productivity & Time Management Planner as a great guide on your journey to productivity.