What's that old adage? If you need help, ask a busy person! So, how come busy people get things done? It's an attitude thing.
Busy people are exactly that. The word busy means "actively and attentively engaged in work or pastime; not at leisure; otherwise engaged". And these days, we are often so busy at our leisure that we don't value time as a commodity.
Busy people are distracted - they fire fight. Does that mean they are productive though? Essentially, productive people get things done. So, how do you make sure you are truly productive? Here's what we try to do in TwoSpoons:
Make a list: it focuses the mind; it prioritises the issues and alleviates the reliance on memory, which in itself becomes liberating.
Reduce your priorities - too many just leads to chaos, so limit yourself to 3 or 4 and don't start a new list until you have those ones done.
Stop saying yes to everyone! It doesn't make you clever, or popular or even remotely successful. It just piles on the pressure and more than likely, means you will miss a deadline. Choose the things you say yes to with your head and not your heart; think before you say yes, because yes means you will really deliver.
Work out your goals - both short term and long; this week's and next year's. By all means, get the emails written and the phone calls made, but take time to sit down and map out where you want to go. You won't make it without clarity and planning, so set time aside and create that strategy, even if you are only a one-man band.
Consider thinking time to be productive time. Ponder the issues and mull over the consequences of the myriad of responses you could give before you answer. Time spent in thought is an investment in effective decisions making.
Lazy, hazy Sunday mornings always seem so elusive. We spend Sundays doing the chores - mowing the grass, doing the washing, catching up on the ironing. We feel guilty we didn't spend more time with the loved one, the children or (heaven forbid) the housework.
But what if we spent our Sundays doing stuff that really matters? Having breakfast with the spouse creates that opportunity to talk about what happened over the past week and more importantly, what the pressure points are in each other's lives for the week ahead. Walking the dogs with one of the twenty-something year olds allows that angst to come out about boyfriend troubles, whilst the dogs go safely nuts chasing some imaginary prey. Doing the customer response phone calls whilst driving that ungodly distance to get the teenagers to the only party that everyone is talking about, means you're scoring double points for sorting logistical and emotional needs simultaneously. Visiting elderly parents and listening - really listening - to what they need, miss, want and are afraid of not only affords comfort but gives clarity to the things that we need to feel to be nurtured and help us to grow as individuals. So, does that mean the secret is in multi- tasking? No, not alt all! The real answer to being productive lies in starting - just starting - whatever it is that needs doing. After that, things that need solving so often take on an energy of their own that you couldn't have possibly fathomed at the start when you were faced with wall-to-wall problems.
And lastly, bounce! Bounce your ideas off anyone who is interested enough to listen. Hear why they think your idea is rubbish. Hear what they think is a better way of doing it. Hear the voice of reason and the wisdom of other's experience. And when you've bounced so much that your ball is dead flat, go and research how others did it better, failed at doing it , never started it or are out there really doing it - and then do it way better. Work out what it is that is still needed, still missing, still wanted and put those concepts - as action points on that damn list.
And, if the rains is still on hold, (as we say in Ireland), take the dogs for a walk and go back to the start and get that list out:
Dog walk - time for thinking
Gardening - time for creativity
Family - time for conversation and debate
Kitchen table - time for prepping
Workroom - time for producing results
Go, get busy and be productive!