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(B)usy Is Not Always Productive

Posted Jul 26 2008 10:18am

Do you work with people who are completely exasberated.  They aresobusy they didn’t have time to take a lunch.  When approached, their desk looks like Fort Knox with piles of paper and books, their face glowing red as they talk on the phone, instant message and write frantically on tablet paper.   At the end of the day, where did the time go since what they accomplished was not productive.  They retire to sleep for the next day only to find that their mind is swimming with the to do list that was never accomplished.  Then awake to a headache and a body that feels like they had a date with a Mac truck.

Sound familiar.  We’ve all been thereanddone that.  The physical results are headache, migraines, increased blood pressure and stress hormones as well as insomnia wrapped up in a to do list a mile long.  Is this busyness healthy?  Is it productive in the long term?

Some organizations breed this type of busyness into their culture.  “That’s just the way we do it around here”.  On the flip side, we are responsible for bringing it onto ourselves. At the workplace, time is of the essence.  As we are ask to do more and more each day to achieve personal and professional goals, we don’t have time to waste. 

Below is a partial list of what we can be doing to improve our mental and physical workplace wellness state.  The list also includes the famous WIIF (what’s in it for me).  Read on.

  • I set specific “next day goals” at the end of each day (phone calls, meetings, followup, desk-time, etc.)
    • Setting goals for the next day clears our mind of all that happened today, allows us to move forward daily to monthly/quarterly/yearly goals and sets us up for a running start when we return the next morning.
  • I have an easy filing system so that I don’t waste time looking for things.
    • Easy is the key.  Folders that indicate the content and its use all within easy reach.
  • I have a level of calmness when approaching a task, meeting or person.
    • Productive people tend to approach an event with calmness as if it was the only thing they were doing.   This helps them keep their focus and organization skills at a high level without a rushed or angry feeling.
  • I use effective time management techniques to block out time or batch similar tasks.
    • Developing time management skills keeps our focus and limits the distractions we are willing to allow into our day.
  • I evaluate non-managerial request for my time in the form of formal, desk and conference call meetings as well as additional job responsibilities.  If they do not fit into my overall goal for my position, department and company, I kindly decline.
    • Some of our co-workers have a habit of wanting our time in workplace events that have little or nothing to do with our job accomplishments.  Set boundaries you are willing to stick to.  Then list your job responsibilities and know what is important to get the job done.  Afterall, that’s the job we are being paid for.  Everything else needs to be evaluated against this list for productivity and time constraints.
  • I have a “perfectionist percentage” I am willing to be satisfied with.  Instead of 100% this level allows me still to feel accomplished and productive.
    • Alot of us have a perfectionist streak when it comes to our job responsiblitiles.  If it can’t be done at 100%, then we feel that we have failed in someway.  Productive people want to strive for 100% but have an alternate percentage so their focus and professional selfworth are still positive.

We hear the term “busy as a bee”.  Bee’sare busy and productiveat the same time.  They have one driving goal.  To seek out nectar and bring it back to the hive so honey can be made.  They are driven with a sense of gentle urgency. 

Be the bee!  Develop a gentle sense of urgency in your workplace.  Take control of your busyness and turn it into productive professional time.

 Be healthy and fabulous!


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