Being a busy fool

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As we all know, the pressure to run faster can come from different sources. It might be clients who want everything yesterday or staff who always seem to want us to deliver more in less time. But for many of us, the biggest source of pressure is ourselves – because we like to busy but aren’t always clear what we need to be busy doing!

The busy fool works long hours and can’t turn their phone off.  They are a hive of activity but ask yourself this – are they moving their business or project forward?  If not, then they are being busy for the sake of being busy – the busy fool.

Understanding what is VITAL v what is IMPORTANT

Many people start their day/week with a “to-do list” which they diligently work their way through from top to bottom. Forget it. Instead, identify the top three vital actions on the list (which are often the hardest things) that can only be done by you. What are the real priorities? Focus on those first and then tackle the next three priorities and so on.

Doing nothing (procrastination) is rarely a safe option. Yet sometimes doing nothing and giving yourself some breathing space to think, stand back and prioritise, is exactly what you need to do!

What is the impact on the business? The danger is we become purely focused on the short term rather than the bigger picture and you get a sense of ‘1 step forward and 1 step backwards’.

Some organisations seem to work harder and longer but productivity goes down.  A business full of busy fools!

So here are 7 useful tips to help you be busy doing the right things:

  1. STOP and take time to plan – the hardest but most useful part of your day
  2. Focus on the VITAL items in your plan – is this task going to move your business forward?
  3. Delegate as much as you can – either internally or via outsourcing.  Ask yourself if someone else can do this task?  If yes, then delegate
  4. Systematise. Find ways and processes to streamline those repetitive tasks. Beware of re-inventing the wheel each time.
  5. Push back on ridiculous deadlines.  Everyone says their task is urgent but is it really?  What will happen if the deadline is moved back (and if everything is coming to you as urgent then your colleagues/clients need some help planning!).
  6. Don’t procrastinate. Do it, delegate it or dump it. Be decisive. Don’t sit there wondering where to start. Get started. I like the acronym JFWDI – you can work out what this means or email me and I will tell you!

Focusing on the right things to do to move your business forward might seem like an obvious statement but you won’t be surprised to learn that this is a common topic of conversation with clients (hence this blog post!).  Have a read of my eBook on ‘winning back time’ (complete the box below to get instant access).

Please leave a comment if you have any additional favourite tools and tips to share.

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Rob Da Costa

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