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How to be Less Busy and More Effective

ilonacodes profile image Ilona Dee Codes Originally published at foundsiders.com ・4 min read

In our hectic modern world, we believe that rushing from one task to the next and managing multiple priorities shows everyone that we are productive.

Indeed, because of this cult of busyness, too many of us feel overwhelmed, overworked, and behind their “busy” schedule.

You, just as many other ambitious people, follow some productivity and time management tips for high-level performance and time optimization.

However, the result that you are doing more but achieving less.

What's going wrong? What is the one million secret on how to be more effective than productive? Which powerful techniques can multiply your productive hours?

Let us have a look at some tips and hack from successful people on how to stretch your time, your effectiveness, and answer these questions in this post.

🛑 Quit complaining about how much you have to do

Usually, we complain because we feel powerless to get what we want—just excuses for not doing anything to help your situation. So what we have to do is analyze our complaints before talking about them.

When you complain, nobody wants to help you.
—Stephen Hawking

Folks are looking for people who can impact their lives positively, who can inspire them for more. If you complain about your problems most of the time, you have a negative outlook on your situation and life.

On the other hand, you can complain to yourself about feeling overwhelmed with the demands on your time.

There is no need for any study to be presented to understand that in general, we spend around 4-5 hours per day on our daily routine tasks like getting dressed, eating, gym, household chores, etc., along with the full-time job. No wonder we cannot get everything that we planned for a day.

And the #1 question is here: how can we manage our time better?

The secret is that you should

  • Work only on important tasks.

  • Don't overload your schedule.

  • Take your daily routine into account.

  • During execution, don’t think about all your planned items. Just focus on your current task at hand.

  • Once that’s done, move on to the next one. Thinking about your whole day of work will drain your mental energy needlessly.

Be busy, but not stressed.

🤹‍♀️ Eliminate unimportant activities from your life

Of course, it's easier to say than to do.

Human nature craves the satisfaction of achievement. We are seeking for results but rarely progress. That's why we often tend to engage in trivial activities first. For example, by taking a course and get a certificate for the accomplishment, learn new 100 Spanish words in a month, and so on.

It explains the pointless accomplishments of a random activity that does not lead towards our goal—our success.

The most productive people among us regularly ask themselves which tasks they can eliminate because they focus on results and know that success is not about the number of tasks you finish, but about their significance.

The advice here is, to begin with

  • Multiplying your time by going through everything you do in a day with eliminating mindset;

  • Cutting off unnecessary distractions like the TV, Netflix, or video games to return to the effective mode of operation;

  • Organizing and prioritizing first the tasks and needs that have to be done to fulfill urgent commitments and are important.

What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.
—Dwight Eisenhower

With that being said, and with a little bit more effort by using the Eisenhower Matrix, prioritizing your tasks based on their urgency will be more comfortable.

Eisenhower Matrix

➗ Enhance productivity using the 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto states that in any pursuit, 80% of the results will come from 20% of the efforts.

And highly productive people are

  1. Trying to identify the most important 20% of their work to maximize efficiency.

  2. Looking at ways to cut down the other 80% of their schedule.

  3. And finding more time for things that make the biggest impact.

More about the Pareto principle, you can read here. This method will help you focus. The next step is to take the right action to solve your issues.

✨ Start working on getting the motivation to continue

Motivation comes after productivity and not before.

As soon as you planned and prioritized everything, do not try to look for motivation and inspiration right after. Instead, focus on getting started—whether you are motivated or not.

You don’t need to tackle everything at once.

The trouble of getting motivated, it’s often because we are looking at the massive scope of a task or problem at the first glance.

Just start doing something, and you will find it easier to keep going because taking action is what leads to motivation, which in turn leads to more action from your side.

The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
—Confucius


⏳ Use your “lost” time

Last but not least, and more effectively, is to do your chores while you cannot work on essential tasks.

Listen to podcasts on your commute. Reply to Whatsapp messages while waiting in line. Read a book while on a plane. Call your doctor for an appointment while waiting for a meeting to start, etc.

There are endless examples of how you can use “lost” time to get required (but not vital) stuff done.

Conclusion

Gain control of your daily schedule by carefully evaluating your daily activities and determine what can be eliminated, what can be delegated, and what should become a current or future priority.

Know when to take action and when to be patient, focus on your current priority without distractions.

Because productivity will increase with your efficiency and proper time management. You must have heard the phrase:

Winners don't do different things. They do things differently.
—Shiv Khera


I hope this post will be useful for you and your success journey.

Perhaps, you would like to share your tips on improving work efficiency, if yes, then don't hesitate to approach me on Twitter or leave a comment below.

Make your best life,
Ilona


Photo by Rudolf Kirchner from Pexels

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Ilona Dee Codes

@ilonacodes

I help developers to condense finance + investment knowledge via my tiny newsletters (+1000 readers) 📨 Get top-15 tips on how to save more cash monthly 👇

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We ❤️start-ups! We are creating new online products from scratch, building them in public, and making ideas happen! 🚀

Discussion

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💯💯💯 "Motivation comes after productivity and not before"

 

Excellent article.

"Just start doing something, and you will find it easier to keep going because taking action is what leads to motivation, which in turn leads to more action from your side."

This advice is so valuable.

 

Take care of yourself first. Eat well, sleep, remember nobody is likely to die today because of anything you do. Meditate. Take long walks in nature, be with your loved ones.

Watch that tricky urge inside yourself to "do more" and learn to build a relationship with it. Question its motivations - why does it insist on that?

And yes, productivity first, then motivation - Just Do It, as the slogan goes! I have a lot of success with this.

 

The biggest distraction and time-consuming topic are from my point of view missing in your post, it is the direct environment. Modern offices are open (open-plan vs. single office), allowing ad hoc communication if required. As a line manager, you should say things like: "My door is always open for you!". And even if you're not working in an open office, it becomes virtually open nowadays (think of all that messengers).

This is not bad in principle and definitely good for internal communication but makes it hard to keep the focus on specific tasks. The main problem is, even if you perfectly manage your time and you are able to focus exclusively on a single task, you get an additional aspect in the game that is nearly impossible to manage (especially if you are the key knowledge). But even if you don't know if you will be asked by colleagues one, two, ten or twenty times a day, add this to your planning as well, simply cause, you will be distracted and it will cost your time.

 

Great article IIona.

For me, one of the big reasons I have difficulties to progress in my projects is my tendency to always start working on big tasks without breaking them first into small atomic steps.

I wrote a piece to showcase a possible solution to this issue.

 

"Winners don't do different things. They do things differently."
Nice quote, I will be remembering this one!

Great post, useful tips :)

 

The way you concluded the article 💯

Make your best life