- Posted by Donna Amos
- On July 30, 2015
- busyness, effectiveness
How many times have you heard business owners talk about how busy they are? Sadly, I often find that “busy” is just a form of procrastination. You can be super busy at work but still fail to handle the most important tasks. Maybe you get to the end of the day and think, “Wow, I was busy today” but the follow-up call to a prospect or going through your expenses is still unchecked on the dreaded to-do list. And then you forgive yourself because you were just “too busy” to get around to whatever you should have done.
You’ve probably heard the term “busywork.” They’re the kind of tasks that keep someone occupied without actually getting any significant done. If you are having a difficult time acquiring clients, or you have hit a ceiling that you can’t seem to break through, you probably aren’t doing what would increase your business most effectively.
A good way to determine whether you get sucked into the “busywork” trap is to monitor and then record everything you do at work for a day or two. How much time do you spend refreshing your email or doing research? What should you be outsourcing to other people? Then, make a list of the activities that would increase your income and help you grow your business. This could be finding new clients, launching a new product, or revisiting your marketing strategy.
Compare your two lists: Are you using your time properly, or just focusing on the busy activities? If you are doing too much busywork, you have some soul searching to do.
Why are you avoiding the most important activities? Fear? Do you doubt your abilities, or lack skills you think are needed? Or are you simply unfocused?
Fear can be overcome: The easiest way is to just take action — even if it’s just a baby step, you need to stretch your courage muscle and trust yourself. Don’t focus on the outcome so much as taking action. Once you are actively doing something, you can begin to evaluate your results and make tweaks. But without action, nothing happens! It sounds simple, but one of the big reasons people don’t make changes is because they don’t try. Not trying leads to petty excuses for why you aren’t getting what you want.
You can also overcome a lack (or perceived lack) of abilities. Seek out the training you need to polish your skills. It could be taking a class at a local university or community college, finding a coach, reading a book, or signing up for an online program — there’s no shortage of opportunities for entrepreneurs to learn and grow. You might begin with this article from Entrepreneur.
The unfocused feeling is a result of not having your eye on your goals. Take the time to identify your top three goals. Each morning, choose which goal you will focus your time and energy on. Identify three actions that will move you closer to that goal. Then put those three activities at the top of your to-do list for the day. The sense of accomplishment will help keep you focused and moving forward. If you’re still not sure where to start, author Brian Tracy claims in his book Eat That Frog that we should first tackle the most uncomfortable tasks.
Regardless of the reasons — valid or otherwise — you give yourself for being busy, it almost always comes down to being fearful of something. Maybe you’re afraid to let someone else handle some of the tasks you’ve always done. Maybe you’re afraid of failure. Maybe you’re afraid you don’t have what it takes to succeed.
You get to choose your future. If you aren’t happy with your situation today, try something different tomorrow. Refuse to stay stuck. Do better, and challenge yourself.
Busy is not effective.