Slow down- you’ll go faster

If you are anything like us, you lead a very busy life, too busy in many ways.  We juggle work,  kids, exercise, romance, bills, sports, grocery shopping, housework, the list goes on.  I am at the point in my life where I am trying to balance it all out.  For me it begins at work.  I have come to realize that just because I am busy, it doesn’t mean I have accomplished much.

     Being busy for some of us is just a bad habit. We put in a lot of time and effort, secretly hoping that at the end of the day, something important has gotten done. If you were to really analyze it, though, about the only thing that usually happens after being busy all day is that you suddenly realize that you have just been busy all day.
     I see this tendency in myself … big time. Here is what struck me as a solution:
  • Before I head home each night, I make a short list of what must absolutely be accomplished tomorrow. The shorter the list, the better. Three is about the max. If there are more than three things on the list, I delegate specific tasks to others. In the end, the items on the personal list should be things that only I can do.
  • I have a tendency to also take one or two tasks home with me, which does not let me relax at home.  Big no-no.  I do not let myself move on with the day until my tasks are done, even the boring ones.
  • When I arrive at work the next morning, I focus all of my time and energy on the one, two or three tasks on my list until they are done. I do not take phone calls, check e-mail or sometimes even let anyone know I have arrived at work. I start with my least favorite task, get it done, and then move on.  Then I make my list for the next day.
     Then I am free to do whatever I want for the rest of the day with a clear conscience and no time pressure. I might want to coach my staff, socialize with our guests or go to our kid’s magic show– whatever gives me pleasure. It is hard sometimes to resist the urge to keep working on “stuff” just because there is still stuff to work on, but I know that there will always be stuff to work on.  Slow down. Un-busy your mind. Give yourself quiet time.  My best ideas and inspirations arrive when all is quiet, when I am at the park with my kids, or even just driving home.
     Read something new. Work out. Go home early and have dinner with your family. In short, have a life.  If you can complete 1-3 essential tasks a day, my bet is that you will be far more productive and expend far less energy in the process.

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