This week’s post is coming to you from my organizational expert Crystal Nerpel of Cloud Nine Organizing. As a busy mom with two active kids, and a business owner, Crystal knows a thing or two about staying focused and getting things done.
At the end of the day, are you exhausted? Have you been running around and staying busy but can’t see the fruits of your labor? You’ve probably been sucked into a busywork trap. These traps can be hard to escape. Especially if you don’t even realize that’s where you’ve landed.
Here are four ways to avoid the busywork trap.
Set your goals for the day and focus on those goals. Don’t worry about what is going on in other people’s lives during your productive hours: stay off social media. That is a big time sucker. Remember what your personal/professional goals are for the day and accomplish them!
Don’t have a to-do list.
I know this sounds counterintuitive, but having a to-do list usually adds unnecessary tasks to your day. My own to-do list used to be a mile-long reminder of things I “had to do” for other people. Things they were capable of doing themselves. I also had “obligations” that I didn’t enjoy doing. These are unnecessary, unproductive, busywork tasks. Learn to delete and delegate those tasks. Go from To-Do to TaDa!
We tend to believe that people who multitask are efficient and effective. They can complete multiple tasks in the same amount of time when other people can only complete one task. Not true. The American Psychological Association says there is something called “switching” costs that can cost multi-taskers as much as 40 percent of their productive time. Focusing on one task at a time is actually more efficient.
Don’t try to create perfection.
When you have finished a task or project, move on to something else. Don’t drive yourself crazy with being perfect. It’s a waste of time and creates more busywork. Nothing is perfect. Nothing. If you are obsessing about how to make a project better, hire someone else to help you so you can move on to more important things. Hiring an expert to review your work might give you a sense of completion and peace of mind.
Being busy doesn’t always mean you’re being efficient or effective. Try to find a good balance in your busy day. Only work on what is important to you because it’s a great feeling to see the fruits of your labor at the end of a productive day!
Crystal is the owner of Cloud Nine Organizing – a home organizing service. She works one-on-one with clients to help them implement systems that work with their lifestyles. To find out more about Crystal and her services, check out her website.