Are You Being Productive or Just Busy?
People keep asking me how I get so much done or where do I find the time to do so much. Well, I have a little secret I’d like to share with you. I used to spend a lot of time being busy but not very productive and at the end of the day I would look back and see that not much had been achieved – it was soul destroying.
So, last year I decided to make some big changes and to get really focused on quality rather than quantity. And I found I was spending far less time on my business and getting much more done. Here’s what I did …
I looked for other people who were doing what I wanted to be doing and then I modelled them (that is, I copied their actions to get the same results).
One of these people was Helen Raptoplous (aka Helen Rappy) who is an expert in productivity. She has lots of fabulous free information on her subject and I was hooked immediately.
She taught me one really important thing and I want to share it with you. She taught me about Parkinson’s Law. Have you ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? Formally stated, Parkinson’s Law says that your work will expand to fill the exact amount of time you make available.
Simply put, if you allow a whole day to complete a task, it will take all day. Studies have shown that just 20% of what you do will produce 80% of the desired results. That means that 80% of what you do is just “filler” and won’t amount to much.
All along I had been confusing being busy with being productive and that’s why I could spend all day working but not be completing the important things that would move my business forward.
Helen taught me to focus on just 4 things a day. And those 4 things should be the 20% that produces 80% of the results.
Now, the key is to decide exactly what those 4 tasks are going to be. They need to be important and they need to be work that will bring most results and move the business forward.
I had to decide what work was important and not just urgent. The email that says “please get back to me as soon as possible” is urgent but may not be as important as working on my business plan for the next 3 months!
Once you’ve got your 4 tasks for the day, the trick is to get to work immediately. Helen says to just jump right in and work on them. Don’t be sidetracked by the phone or email. Distractions lead to procrastination, which is the number one enemy to completing your 4 tasks for the day.
When you’ve tackled your first task, give yourself some breathing room; take a break, go for a walk, have a snack, or whatever refreshes you. Whatever you choose for your break, get away from the computer! Your eyes will thank you and it will give you time to refocus on your next task.
Now, it’s time to work on your next task. Then take another break, and then finish the third and then the last task. If you don’t allow for distractions, and you didn’t procrastinate, you should have these things finished long before the end of your workday.
Then, you can take care of the less important things that still beg for your attention – BUT, it will be without guilt or pressure because you already have the important things done.
Imagine what a great feeling that will be! I just love that feeling of knowing I’ve done the important things every day – it’s such a relief. I knew I was capable of achieving so much more, I just never knew how to do it.
I’d love for you to connect with Helen for yourself. Have a look at her free productivity training. You will learn the top 8 productivity tips to help you move your business forward. Check it out right now, it's completely free: Helen's FREE Productivity Training