The Authentic Assistant

A photo of a tidy desk with the caption Be productive not busy

What does it mean to be productive not busy?

So many people are saying they are too busy. They seem to have no time to do anything. 

The question to ask is what are they busy about? Scrolling through social media soaking up all their time. FOMO and trying to keep up with the latest trends taking up their attention. 

Too many distractions with all that is readily available in our life? 

It is easy to say that we are busy and some people really can give the impression that they are running off their feet and always on the go. They may be the ones  who seem to be working the most in the office or workplace. The challenge would be to see what they are actually doing. Maybe what you are seeing in other people is not productivity. 

What does being productive actually mean?

Productive means producing or being able to produce large amounts of goods, crops or other commodities, or achieving a significant amount or result. 

Is that person really being productive? Are they efficient and effective in their job? Are they spending all day doing something that could be done by someone else in a short space of time? 

Work does expand to fill the available time allocated to it. If you want to read more check out the post here.

Do you find yourself with a lot to do and not sure how you can get it all done? 

How do other people make it seem so effortless and easy? 

If you know someone who seems to handle their work life balance with ease. 

Remember you are not them and how they work makes sense to them and they have found their routine or rhythm and that is great for them. They have found out how to be constructive and effective with their time.

It's time to focus on yourself

We all have different ways of working and what makes sense to you may not for your colleague or anyone else. 

You are just trying to figure out your algorithm. How you function and how to best utilise your time and focus on what you need to do and how to maximise efficiency. 

Sounds easy! Why not give it a try and surprise yourself. 

How to be more productive

Being more productive is not something that happens straightaway or even overnight. It is a process that you need to work on. It will get easier as time passes and you are not overthinking things anymore. Habits are quickly formed and why not introduce positive habits and routines that help you in your work and life balance. 

Write out a to do list

Make it a reasonable to do list.

If you are focusing on your job or work time then write up the list of your tasks and outline the details, job or project deadlines and what other tasks may be involved with it. 

Highlight the deadline dates to keep track of them. No more missing those targets. 

Seeing it all written out may seem overwhelming at first but it will help. 

Set small goals for tasks

Break down the jobs that you need to do into small goals or tasks. 

Take your time and note the steps you need to make. Break down the large tasks into small steps or goals. 

Focus on one goal at a time

Don’t rush through it, take one step at a time. 

This is also a way of slowing things down and focusing on one job at a time. 

This could mean a checklist of the things that you need to print. So you are printing all that needs to be done that day. 

Or filing paperwork. It does not mean bringing one piece of paper to the filing cabinet and back for the second. 

It is about being smart and thinking about what tasks are really one goal. 

Sorting through the email inbox is one goal while ticking off a few tasks. Deleting the junk mail is decluttering your inbox. Allocating the urgent ones and the pending ones. 

This makes your job easier as you have moved them into the relevant files making it easier for you to track. 

Stop multitasking

This ties in with the previous one. Trying to do numerous things at once, well we are only human and it would be so easy to forget one thing in the whole juggling act. 

Slow down and group the work if that makes it easier for you to get things done. Don’t start two or three different tasks at once.

Group similar tasks together

This is also a personal thing as you find your work rhythm you will notice that while you do a specific task you could be doing another one. Waiting for a reply email from someone, is there a phone call you need to make in the meantime, or you need to reply to another email. 

Delegate if you need to

If you need to delegate parts of the job that you are doing then do it and don’t forget to follow up with the tasks. You may need the final report back from them to complete the project itself or just to keep track of the progress of the delegated work. Keep an overview of the job itself. .

Find your personal work patterns

Once you have done this for a while you will notice that you have a work pattern that you enjoy doing or seems to make sense for you. Embrace that and grasp the positive energy. You understand more about how you enjoy working so build on that. 

You will have found out steps that make your job easier and without overthinking things you have become more productive with your time. 

Find your best two hours of work in the day

It is also time to think about what part of the day are you most efficient with your time?

Is it the first thing in the morning when you start work? Later in the morning or the afternoon. 

Whichever it is for you that is the time when you allocate the tasks that need to be done with a tight deadline

Self care is important in all this

When you are learning how to be more productive it does not mean that you now take on more work and responsibilities. You need to think about yourself and learn to say no if it does not suit you. This of course is more for the personal side of life and in work we can’t always say no. Not always. 

It is important to make sure that you get enough sleep and rest, eat healthy and exercise. Even if this is just taking a walk at lunchtime . Some form of movement and fresh air and hopefully some sunshine. 

Taking breaks is also important to clear the mind and prepare for the next tasks. 

Beat procrastination and become more productive

Do you find yourself putting off work and not having enough to complete it?

Well it is time to confront things and ask yourself why are you procrastinating on this task.

You know it has to be done and why are you putting it off. 

If you realise that a specific task is slowing you down, think about it and why this is so. Are you confused as to how it is done or why? You may not understand the task and if you know someone you can ask to explain it better or if you need to allocate some time to learn how to do it then that is a priority. Note this down and plan your time to learn it. 

Investing in yourself and learning the new task only means allowing yourself the time to master it so the task can be completed more efficiently from now on. You find you are not procrastinating about it anymore dreading it. You know what has to be done and how to do it. This boost in self confidence can spread out from just learning to master one task to focusing on another one. 

Freeing up some time to spend on other tasks . 

Allocate some time each week to learn something new to help you from now on. 

It is all about learning how to be productive and not just busy

Starting out is always the hard part but once you have the momentum going you will easily find your own rhythm and learn what works for you and how invigorating it is to be productive in your day. This boost of motivation is just what you need to inspire you to become more efficient with your time and improve your overall work life balance. 

It is time to simplify your life and win back some time for yourself. What would you do with more free time for yourself?

So when is the best time to start organising? Read the post here and find out.