It’s a busy time of year in the Lowcountry. If you feel your email in-box is overflowing and there just aren’t enough hours in the day, you’re not alone. A study done by Princeton University found that almost half of all employees felt that their jobs were very stressful or extremely stressful and left them feeling a little overwhelmed at times.
It’s frustrating to reach the end of a busy day with not much to show for it except a task list without enough check marks in the “done” column. I read a great article recently about the difference between busyness and productivity and how we often tend to confuse them. The article described the difference between busy and productive:
“Are your days frantic and rushed? Do you frequently feel overwhelmed? Do you spend your days reacting to events? Do you feel as if you’re constantly in motion but that you never seem to get anything accomplished? Then, you are busy.”
And on the flipside…
“Are you calm and focused throughout the day? Do you feel as if you have your day and its many demands under control? Are you able to be proactive in dealing with situations and events? Are you making progress on mission-critical tasks and projects? Then, you are productive.”
Eye-opening isn’t it? I thought it offered a great example of what it feels like to be in the productivity zone vs. that harried, rushed busyness we all sometimes experience. Over the years, I’ve come across some great advice on productivity:
1. Focus on the task. If morning is your best time, then use that time to focus without distraction on what needs to get done. You’d think technology would make it easier, but often it doesn’t. Technology serves as a distraction and many of us simply need to spend a few hours each day without interruption to accomplish what needs to get done.
2. Trim the to-do list. This one sounds counter-intuitive, but by putting less on the list rather than more, we tend to do what matters. Ask yourself the question “What can I do today that will have the greatest impact?” Studies have shown that a short to-do list is a common trait among those who are successful in business–they focus on those core items that make a big difference.
3. Step away from the email. Email may be one of the biggest culprits of distraction, yet it’s also one of the most useful business tools ever invented if you manage it well. Some experts recommend you check in with your email at set times during the day and avoid responding each time a new email hits your in-box. Find what works for you and stick
I hope your busy week ahead is a productive one!