We need to stop glamourising this always-on working environment. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you are being productive and it’s important to realise the difference between the two. Being busy means you are working hard and not utilising your time properly, which is stressful for any business owner. Being productive means you are working smarter and you’re focusing your time more efficiently.

Being too busy can negatively affect your life outside of work. It can lead to stress, depression, anxiety and is a huge cause of burnout. Being busy can also harm your body by an increased heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.

If you are unable to replace the word “busy” with “productive” in your vocabulary, then keep reading as we guide you through how to be less busy and more productive.

Start with a realistic set of goals

Making a realistic set of goals is the first step in how to be less busy. This immediately creates awareness around what needs to be completed, what you should be focusing on and what needs to be achieved within a timeframe. Setting realistic goals helps with time management and avoids being blind-sided by unexpected tasks.

 

A cup of coffee and a notebook with a set of goals

 

Here is our advice on how to set realistic goals.

  • Compile a list of tasks that need to be completed.
  • Be specific with your tasks so you know exactly what you need to do.
  • List them in order of importance and most challenging so you can attend to the hardest ones first.
  • Allocate a time for each task so you can realistically see how much time each task will take and prioritise them according to how many hours you have in your day.
  • Batch tasks to help complete similar tasks in one go and to avoid back and forth between them. Grouping tasks helps to stay motivated and on track.
  • Now you can easily set a realistic deadline or goal for your tasks according to all of the steps taken above.

Multitasking isn’t always the best solution

While multitasking is a good skill to have, it’s not always productive.

Instead of breaking your concentration trying to juggle multiple tasks, focus on a single task at a time to make sure it is completed before moving on to the next. It’s easy to get distracted and once we break our concentration it’s harder to get back into it. Focusing on one task at a time can help achieve higher quality results.

Just get it done

Stop procrastinating and just get it done. Distractions are the evil cousin of procrastination and before you know it your day has ended before any of those important tasks have been ticked off the list. Turn off and put away all those sneaky distractions and get cracking with your day.

Overwhelmed by those challenging tasks? Attend to them first thing in the morning. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and will help you feel satisfied and motivated for the duration of your day. Once it’s been ticked off your list, you’ll find it wasn’t so bad after all.

 

A diary and laptop on a bed showing how to be less busy

 

Break up your day

Schedule regular breaks in your day. Being on the go constantly leaves no time for the brain to switch off and recharge. If the brain can’t function around the clock, neither can you!

Taking regular breaks allow your creative juices to flow and assist in productivity instead of leaving your desk feeling drained and exhausted. When we are feeling more energised, we can approach problems clearly and find solutions quickly instead of being wrapped up in something and watching the time tick by.

 

A man looking at his watch sitting on the couch with his laptop

 

Learn to say NO!

Stop being a “yes” person and learn to say no more often. Saying no creates boundaries and protects you as a business owner. Overcommitting leads to excessive amounts of work, which means tasks are often rushed and not completed as well as they should be.

If you’re too busy, take a step back and see what can be eliminated from your schedule or learn how to delegate. This brings us to one of the important ways of how to be less busy and more productive.

Delegate

 

Why overwhelm yourself with trying to do too much at once when there is a simple solution? Focus on what’s important and delegate the rest. Delegating to employees or outsourcing tasks that are too time-consuming help produce more productive results while avoiding burnout.

Delegating is the easiest and most efficient way to free up time to focus on new goals and strategies, which has a positive impact on business growth.

 

Three woman sitting at a desk with their laptops learning how to be less busy

 

Focus on life outside of work

If work is your be-all and end-all, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate your priorities. Focusing on life outside of work is a crucial step on how to be less busy. Slowing down refreshes the mind and body and helps bring a new outlook to your workday.

 

A mon and daughter sitting on the floor doing yoga

 

Being busy is not something to be proud of. It’s considered a shortcoming and emphasises that you lack good time management. Decide whether you’re busy because you have too much to do or you’re not utilising your time productively.

We need to realise how important it is to take a step back and re-evaluate if the way we work is productive and how we can avoid being less busy to achieve a greater work-life balance.

Switch your mindset to being productive instead of busy, and you will see how much more you can accomplish.

 

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