3 Crucial Things Busy People Know

“If you want something done, ask a busy person.” Even though that statement seems so backwards, we all know it to be true. People with packed schedules always find the time to squeeze in one more thing. But is it possible to harness that level of efficiency without a crammed calendar? Absolutely. You just have to learn the time management secrets that busy people know.

1. We have more time than we realize

Much like people on a diet account for each calorie they consume, busy people account for each minute of their time. They know about Parkinson’s Law, that work expands to fill the time we have available, and therefore don’t give themselves two hours to get ready in the morning, or an hour and half to check email. When they sit down to work, they work efficiently and with the utmost focus, eliminating Time Killers that try to make their task take longer.

2. Don’t wait to want to do something

Sometimes there are tasks on our list that we aren’t looking forward to doing. When we don’t want to do something, we put it off hoping we’ll feel more like doing it tomorrow…as though enjoyment of a task was a necessary prerequisite. Busy people don’t think like that. They know their time is limited and it’s better to just do undesirable tasks now and get them off their plates and off their minds.

3. Put your head down and start grazing

Busy people know that worrying about a big workload is a waste of resources. Remember the story about the two cows:

“Two cows were both faced with an immense pasture of grass to graze. The first cow looked around and said, ‘Oh my goodness. There is so much grass here. How will I ever get through it all?’ While the first cow stood and worried, the second cow said nothing, and put her head down and started grazing.”

If we spend less time worrying and more time doing we not only lower our stress level, but we find that worrying was taking up a lot of time and energy that we could have spent on being productive.

The point of working efficiently is not to make time for even more work. The point of working efficiently is to get our work done quickly, so we can have more time for the enjoyable Desserts in life that are truly important.

Connect with The Time Diet and receive weekly blog and event updates

Stop Being Busy

One of the single biggest time management mistakes people make is to confuse being busy with being productive. When you are busy, all you are doing is filling time. You are working, so it gives the temporary illusion that you are getting something done, but you’re not.  If you want to actually make progress on a goal you have to be productive.

(Check out my video about being busy and productive Here)

When school let out last week, several of my colleagues asked me how I planned to keep busy this summer. I don’t plan to “keep busy” this summer. I plan to be productive.

This summer, I have many goals but my biggest one is to prepare my book for publication. My manuscript is finished but as I’m quickly finding out, writing the book is one of the easier parts of the publishing process! I’ve decided that the only way I’m going to finish this summer is to find time every day to devote to the book. I could spend this time reformatting all of my headings and playing with the cover font. I am technically “working” on the book, but I’m only being busy. I’m not taking concrete steps to move toward my goal. Sure, the cover font needs to be dealt with at some point, but the more pressing issue is finding an editor and researching publishing outlets. If I want to be productive on my book right now, I need to work toward those goals. (On that note, if you know of a trusted editor, let me know!)

Busy is Easy, Productive is Hard

The problem we have is that being busy is easy. Being productive is hard.   Here are three simple steps to make sure your work sessions are productive:

1)      Have a Goal- Without a goal, our work has no purpose. Have a concrete goal that you are working toward.

2)      Have a Plan- Your goal is worthless if you don’t have a plan to get there. What small thing can you do each day that will move you toward your goal?

3)      Re-assess Your Plan – After you create your plan, you can’t blindly continue down your path. If something isn’t working, re-assess and change your approach.

Remember, sometimes your plan won’t always work and it might feel like you are taking a step backwards, but that’s OK. A step backward means you’re learning from your mistakes and sometimes that’s part of being productive. When you’re busy, you’re only taking steps sideways. You’re still moving, but you’re not going anywhere. Only productivity actually moves you toward your goals.

Did you enjoy today’s blog? Click Here to join The Time Diet mailing list and have weekly blog updates delivered straight to your inbox!

“Like” The Time Diet on Facebook and follow it on Twitter