Are you a busy fool?

Do you run around here there and everywhere, mobile phone in one hand, documents in the other? Do you hear yourself telling everyone you are ‘too busy’ to do something or that you ‘haven’t got enough hours in the day’? Are you working from morning til night, and even on weekends?

If this all sounds like you, I don’t think you are alone. I’m not sure if its down to the economy and people being desperate to survive, or if it is a competitive thing that has got out of control, but more and more I see people just like this, people who leave you feeling exhausted after just a few minutes in conversation with them.

If this is you, do you really feel, at the end of your 16 hour day, that you are achieving? My view is that people like this are busy fools, people who convince themselves they are really busy but in actual fact are just avoiding making time for the things they really should be doing.

I have known people who spend the week plodding along in the office, making regular cuppa’s, going for a stroll and then they moan that they have to work all weekend. It’s like a form of self flagellation. Instead of knuckling down and methodically working through their ‘to do’ list, they prefer to work all hours so that they can tell people how busy they are.

But surely it has the opposite effect? People wont think ‘wow you’re busy’ but are far more likely to think, ‘you haven’t got time for me’. In a business sense this can be very damaging as potential clients may perceive you are at capacity and then decide to go elsewhere.

At times we can all be busy fools, I know I have run around like a headless chicken convincing myself that I didn’t have time to stop and think about what I really needed to do next, it becomes a hamster wheel that is very difficult to get off. The most important thing is recognising this and addressing it before it damages your business and maybe even your personal life.

So how can you stop being a busy fool and become more productive? Here are a few ideas:

Plan your workload – write a to do list and stick to it, prioritise what has to be done, what will generate income and what is of most importance to you personally.
Do it – so you’ve written a 300 point to do list, now what? Easy, get on with it. Ticking things off one by one is really satisfying and will keep you on track. If something crops up, add it to the list and then decide how urgent it is to deal with. This kind of self discipline may seem awkward to begin with but will eventually become part of your everyday life.
Check – Make sure you are on track by referring back to your list
Review – Think about the last hour, how much time was actually spent doing productive work? Did you go on facebook to write an oh so humorous status? Did you tease the cat with your pen for a bit? Review what you have actually achieved and you may be surprised at how much time you wasted.
Focus – Distractions are everywhere, a friend rings for a chat, facebook, twitter, the radio, an invite for coffee etc. Give yourself blocks of time to complete the tasks on your list and then reward yourself with one of the distractions for a few minutes before you start again.
A busy fool will never achieve what they set out to, so make sure that you are not working all hours with very little result.

How will you ensure you stay on track and don’t act the fool?

Written by Lianne Dupre

Lianne Dupre

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