(5 minute read)
Busyness is someone who always works overtime. Someone who always has lunch at their desk and skips breaks. Someone who is constantly multitasking thinking being busy equals being important.
Busyness is killing productivity.
We work in a digital age where working harder does not imply you are more productive. In the industrial age being busy meant you were more productive. Working in production you can increase your output by working harder and/or longer. This is not the case anymore: us millenials need to work smarter instead of harder and we have the knowledge and tools to do so.
It might sound counter-intiutive, but if you want to increase your effectiveness: Slow down! Start thinking about what you want to do, and do it with care and attention. I like to use an easy workflow. I's childishly simple, but it creates focus and direction within a couple of minutes.
Let's get cracking!
Start collecting anything that could become a task. The obvious inputs are e-mail, colleague's requests, client requirements. There are also not so obvious inputs: Ideas that need to be thought about, long and short-term priorities, but also learning objectives. Gather inputs on a daily basis, but keep the bigger projects for weekly or monthly planning. There is only one exception: Do not gather tasks that take less than 3 minutes to complete, do them immediately. This makes sure you grab low-hanging fruits immediately and it keeps the total list shorter.
The result could look something like this:
Now you have your list, DO NOT start working on it from top to bottom! Why not, you say? You have not prioritized the list yet, so let's do that now and decide the importance and urgency according the 'Eisenhower Box'
Place all items on your list into one of these 4 quadrants;
The time has come to act. Start with quadrant 1 and get these out of the way. Delegate quadrant 2 whenever possible and start working on quadrant 3 as soon as possible, Use your agenda to start planning these properly, as these usually require thinking and planning because these are often long-term goals. I assume quadrant 3 will be pushed back or deleted entirely.
Let's not celebrate busyness, let's celebrate the thoughtful! They are the ones who look for smart solutions. They are the innovators, the early adopters and longterm visionaries that push technological and entrepreneurial advances. We need to get rid of the social appreciation for busyness and praise the slow!
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