How many times have you described yourself as being “too busy” only to draw a blank when someone asks you why you’re too busy?
Humans do this all the time. We confuse being busy with working inefficiently or taking on too many of the wrong tasks.
This is good news. It means we’re not actually as busy as we think we are, and that means we can reclaim invaluable time and invest it into more productive and profitable areas of our lives.
Here are five super-simple tips for getting yourself out of the trap of being “too busy”.
1. Bring calmness to your day
If you immediately assume you’re too busy to do anything else, you’re not giving yourself time to think.
So, just as you begin to feel overwhelmed, step back, breathe and calm yourself. By bringing these periods of calmness to your day, you’ll be able to look at things far more subjectively.
It’s a great way to take stock, reassess your to-do list and make changes so that you’re no longer overwhelmed.
2. Re-think your to-do list every evening and every morning
We all get our to-do lists wrong from time to time. Certain projects are entered without being broken down into their constituent elements, and we even set ourselves tasks that we shouldn’t be undertaking.
This is why to-do list management should be something you invest time in at least twice a day.
At the end of your working day, review what you’ve completed, but also look ahead to tomorrow. Does it look realistic? If not – make changes. And do the same thing in the morning to check you’re still on-point.
3. Don’t set a culture of overworking
You might feel proud when telling your mates you “pulled an all-nighter”, but in reality, you’re doing neither yourself nor your business any favours.
Overworking cultures lead to two things: unmanageable stress and poor output.
It’s that simple. Don’t set that kind of culture for yourself. Instead, build strict parameters around your day which dictate how long you work for and when you need to relax and rest.
4. Let stuff go
Next week, track the time you’re spending on every task (there are loads of apps for doing this easily). Then, at the end of the week, take a look back at where you spent most of your time.
If it was productive – great. If it appears as though you’re investing time repeatedly in tasks that you shouldn’t be undertaking – it’s time to let go.
Delegation is a lost art, but it will help you reclaim time and realise that you’re not quite as busy as you thought you were.
5. Turn stuff down
This is arguably the hardest task in this list, but it’s absolutely essential if you’re to free yourself from busyness.
If you don’t believe you can do something, turn it down. Saying “no” to jobs you can’t physically undertake will do your business, mind and reputation the world of good.
The more you do it, the better it feels, and the more your output and productivity levels will improve.
The next time you think you’re too busy to do something, take a step back and remind yourself of the strategies above.
Ask yourself honestly: are you really too busy or are you simply mismanaging your time? The answer is usually the latter, and now you have the answers to get yourself out of that rut!