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The difference between being busy and being productive



There's a difference between being busy and being productive

There's a difference between being busy and being productive

There's a difference between being busy and being productive


Lockdown and more time at home has given us all a chance to understand what is really important. Family, health, quality of life, good food, friends, a good support network, a job you enjoy… and the resources you need to support all of the above are what I am hearing about most.

Working more from home has given many of us the chance to see things differently. Many people I have spoken to have enjoyed significant unexpected benefits from lockdown - more time with their children, more time to get their home the way they want it - time to catch up on various jobs and for self-reflection. The list goes on.

It has also been a time where there is nowhere to hide from our usual excuses of being too busy to xyz. We have also learned that a lot of the things we used to spend our time on - can be done without… and in some cases that we don't really miss them or that they were not as useful or critical as we thought. Those many 'essential' meetings you used to go to. You can fill in your own blanks for what you have learned - about what is not important and also some of the things that seemed small but made a big difference quality of life and productivity. With the schools going back soon - most of us will have a new opportunity to reorganise our lives, as work routines change yet again.

There is a new book coming out on August 20th called THE EXTRA HOUR, by Will Declair, Bao Dinh and Jerome Dumont with a lot of insights from highly successful people about productivity and time wasting habits. Here are some of the key insights shared.

Imagine if you could reduce your working week - This would leave more time for the better things - spending time with family, hobbies, gardening etc. While most of them will only result in small wins - cumulatively they add up.

Don't multi task. We can only do one thing at a time. Carlson's Law tells us that it takes less time and energy to complete a task in one go than if you stop and start. Productive people focus 100 per cent on what they are doing in a given moment.

Meetings: 'If you're not turning down at least 20 per cent of meetings, you're not managing your time properly.' Time wasting Meetings can be a tremendous source of frustration in companies. They suggest to ask yourself before you agree to a meeting: : 'If I were sick, would this meeting be rescheduled? If the answer is no, think again re whether it is worthwhile to go.

Write things down. One study showed that people who write tasks down (rather than just thinking about them) achieved, on average, 40 per cent more of their goals.

Remember the Two-Minute Rule by David Allen. If a job will take you less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately.

Where possible check emails 3 times per day. Interestingly, most employees check every 15 minutes! Shifting gears mentally uses up a lot of energy.

We often feel we need motivation to do things. However it works the opposite way. Getting things done generates momentum and motivation. If you want to motivate yourself to write an article, start by writing the first paragraph. This is enough to get you going.

Take breaks and don't work when you don't have to. Charles Darwin apparently worked 3 blocks of 90 minutes per day. The rest of the time he was walking in the forest or reading.

Wish you a productive week.