I hear this sentiment too often these days: “I’m super busy and I just don’t have enough time.” When asked how we are doing, we often just instantly and thoughtlessly respond: “I’m busy.”
It appears that being busy, overbooked and frazzled is seen as a sign of success. Perhaps it shows that we are wanted and needed. It could be that it makes us feel important. Or, maybe it’s our way of projecting our productivity. But being too busy and being productive are not necessarily one in the same.
Time is one of our greatest treasures and how we use our time is critical to improving productivity. Are you spending your time on the most important things? Do you find time slipping away without getting anything done? Are you running around all day but not accomplishing anything meaningful?
So, what’s most important? When considering taking on or starting a new task think about these questions to determine if it’s a good use of your time:
- How does doing this task benefit you?
- Does it fit within your current goals?
- Are there any dependencies or deadlines?
- Can it be done later?
- Could someone else do it?
- What is the impact of deciding not to do it?
- If you do it, what else won’t get done?
Based on your answers to these questions, pick your top three tasks for the day and then plan when you’ll get them done. By going through this process, you may still be busy but you’ll also be more productive in terms of accomplishing the things that matter most.
Keep in mind that it’s not about not having enough time, it’s just a matter of how you decide to spend your time.
TRY THIS OUT: As a next step, review your calendar for last week and assess which things were a waste of your time and figure out how to eliminate them going forward. Then, look to the week and ahead and plan how you’re going to spend your time on the tasks and appointments that really matter.
After 25 years in the corporate world, working at Lotus Development, Ernst & Young, The Weather Channel and Play On! Sports, Monisha Longacre has founded her own company, Productivity101 and created priorigami: the art of productivity. Her mission is to provide simple, actionable and easy-to-use tools to help busy adults track, prioritize and complete tasks, to better manage their time and become more productive. Her goal is for priorigami to become the "FitBit" for productivity to help people lead more meaningful lives.