When someone says they’re “too busy” or they don’t have time, two pieces of information can be obtained:
- that person’s schedule cannot hold anything extra
- the specific task doesn’t have priority over others
What we have to understand is that the term “busy” is relative to the individual. Your definition is not the same as your colleagues’.
Now let’s talk about being productive. Productivity comes from making excellent use of time, whereas you can consistently check off items on your to-do list. The goal of most people is to be productive, not busy. However, the line gets blurred and sometimes we have to get back on track.
Here are some signs you may be “busy”:
- You’re always working, yet you can’t seem to get anything done
- You’ve used the word “busy” five or more times today
- You get anxious when people ask you for any kind of help
- You’ve become an addict at taking on new projects before understanding your schedule
Here are some signs you may be “productive”:
- In a normal week, you get tasks completed
- You don’t feel pressured or anxious when people come to you for help
- You have time to work on personal projects (always a good thing)
- Planning your day has become routine
Being busy has to do with time management and perception of time. When managing your schedule, it’s important to give your tasks weight by prioritizing them. Give yourself a break by scrutinizing deadlines and timeframes for projects. By understanding your schedule, you put your mind at ease about what needs to be done. It also helps to have reminders either in your phone or on an old fashioned piece of paper. Something to refer to when you need to stay on track. The reality is that you have more time in the day than you think. It’s just a matter of perception.
Of course there are situations when you’re hyper-focused on a project and you turn off devices — this is fine. When you get back to normalcy, you don’t want to be the antisocial friend or the knowledgeable person in your circle that no one can ask for help. Having a misperception of time can cause undesired anxiety and stress. When you know your schedule, you know how to operate, thus your perception of time is accurate, allowing you to function without mental and physical overload.
Obviously everyone’s schedules and work habits are different, which is why the terms “busy” and “productive” are relative. Once you define these terms in your life, you’ll be amazing at handling day-to-day challenges.
Share some of your tips on time management and being productive!