No, not the derogatory name for a female dog. And no, not the abbreviation for the greatest performer of all time (Queen Bey herself). A short, pesky, four letter word that frequents most professional’s lips – Busy.
If you’re like me, this word and (associated feeling), has begun to weigh on your days as a deterrent from positivity and productivity. But does it have to be? Why is being busy a bad thing? How can we fuel that “busy” feeling into a place of productivity, opportunity, and growth? After copious amounts of dare I say, “self-help” reading & talking to some of the most positive (and productive) people I know, I’ve come up with a list of five questions that helps guide my perspective, renew my energy, leave room to see the everyday joys in my life.
- What’s my POA (Plan of Attack)? Before opening my email in the AM, I’ve started to outline my POA for the day and week. This POA includes a lists of tasks that need to get done that day and prioritize by the time of day it needs to be completed. I then make another list of my weekly projects so I know what’s on the horizon. I’ve found that the simple tasks of writing items down brings a larger sense of order to a sometimes unpredictable day and week, as well as helps shed light on the type of resources I’ll need to pull in to accomplish different tasks.
- What’s the end goal? Every task, no matter how large or small, should play an important role into the larger objective of the business and having a clear understanding of that goal helps to renew the energy and focus you put behind it. Not sure of the goal? Whether with a manager or client, make sure that goals are clearly outlined.
- Does the effort outweigh the impact? To reference Facebook’s CFO Sheryl Sandberg, it may be time to let go of perfectionism and start deciding when being done is actually better than being perfect. You can slice, dice, analyze, question, review, and think about a project until you go blue in the face, but at what point are you losing productivity and taking energy away from the larger tasks that need your attention as well?
- Is this an obstacle or an opportunity? It’s easy when feeling busy or overwhelmed to fall victim to your to-do list, pulling you even further from a state of productivity. What if you flip your perspective and look at the task less as an obstacle but more of an opportunity to learn something new, which will help to take you out of place of negativity and fuel you towards the next exciting challenge.
- Are there resources I can tap into to help with this project? Asking for help can often be one of the hardest things for people to do but one of the more effective ways of getting something done. Whether it be another co-worker on your team or someone from another department, chances are that someone has dealt with the same type of puzzle and would be more than willing to jump in, collaborate, and help. Asking for help, while often uncomfortable, shows a signs of resourcefulness and confidence.
Yes, life is busy. And it probably won’t stop being busy anytime. But understanding how to shift your perspective, redirect your energy to the places it’s most needed, knowing when good enough is better than perfect frees you from a place of dread into an opportunity to see joy that surrounds your everyday life.