When was the last time you said, “so much time, so little to do? However will I pass the day?” In all likelihood, it’s been a really, really long time. If you can ever remember that happening. More likely, you are overcommitted, overbooked…running from training session to team meeting to client phone call to networking event, with your text messages, social media and emails filling the spaces in-between.
It may feel like so much of your worth as an individual, an employee, a business owner, is defined by just how busy you are. How much you accomplish in any given day.
Productivity is not, I repeat not, about topping anyone else with your to-do list or the number of tasks you cross off of it each day. Trust me, as a recovering checklist junkie myself, I can tell you first-hand that the only reason to bother with productivity, to give any thought to efficiency, is to treasure the space in-between the doing. In between the pushing and the accomplishing and the fighting for more, faster, better. To do what you need to do as smartly as possible in order to move beyond it to do what you really love – to treasure time with your family or your favorite hobby with a clear mind and the time and energy to soak up every moment of it.
Time is finite. It’s the great equalizer, putting you on the same ground day after day as everyone else on this planet. Some people reach the end of the day feeling fulfilled and at peace, while others are exhausted, having been run ragged over and over again. What’s the difference between these two groups of people? Intentionality. The first group prioritizes what really matters and commits to completing it with the appropriate time and energy expenditures. Saying “no” to anything that does not align with those priorities, and making space every day for life outside of work. Outside of the hustle and the flutter of activity to play with the kids, go for a walk around the block, curl up with a good book or take a yoga class. To pursue whatever it is that nurtures you and fills you up.
Because if you don’t have that, all you have is busy. And what kind of a life is that?
Here are ten tips to boost your productivity in order to savor the in-between:
- Make time for planning and prioritization.
- Be realistic about how long tasks take.
- Say “no” to anything that does not align with your priorities.
- Leave blank space in your calendar for recovery time.
- Work on your most important tasks when your energy is the highest.
- Implement a reliable and automated system for repetitive tasks.
- Make it easier to do each task right than to do it wrong, and do it right the first time, every time.
- Eliminate distractions during focused work sessions.
- Commit to no more than three to-do tasks each day — the three most important items that align with your priorities.
- Find a coach or partner to help you maintain accountability.