It’s important to come to grips with busyness because not only does it have the potential to trap you it can impact your perspective of what’s really going on. Last week we shared with you 7 common causes of busyness and we committed to sharing actions you can implement to reduce and better manage busyness at work.
So where do you start?
Practice Mindfulness: If you are genuinely very busy, so busy you hunger for an opportunity to shut down or shut out the world, mindfulness can assist. Mindfulness is where your mind is not in the past nor is it in the future: it is right here, right now.
Here are a three of many exercises available:
- Mindfulness Meditation invites you to use your body, senses and the full experience of breathing to focus your attention on the here and now, without judgement. There are sites that offer free short mindfulness meditations such as http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22
- Object focus; remain focused on an object for as long as possible observing all you can about the object. A candle flame is ideal.
- Change your routine: As an example walk to and from work a different way every day for a week and focus on the new sights, smells and sounds you discover as you walk.
Set Boundaries: How many times have you heard that you should set boundaries, or has someone close said this to you? If you don’t set boundaries for your work and your life, who will?
Analyse your Role: Start by writing down everything you do in your role. You probably do a lot more beyond the formal description of your role. Use your role description as a starting point and then add any other aspects you do, no matter how small. It may take you a week or month to compile your list.
When you are satisfied with your list review and break it down into two lists, A and B:
- Only put in your A List those aspects of your role that only you can complete
- Your B list will contain those aspects of your role that someone else can assist you with or do for you as a complete task
Create a STOP Doing List: The majority of people have some form of To Do List on which to capture the myriad of things we have to accomplish. While helpful, To Do Lists are often responsible for adding to our busyness. Stop and consider developing a Stop Doing List that is populated with all of items you are going to stop doing, that you are going to “ditch” because, other than add to your busyness, their purpose is long forgotten and they add no significant value.
Reduce your Reactiveness: Not every email, phone call, or Facebook post, has to be answered within a millisecond of being received, it’s OK to respond within the day. Consider creating ‘black out’ periods over a day where you close your email and put your phone to silent. It’s unlikely the sky will fall in, however, you will be amazed with what happens to the quality of your focus.
We are happiest when we are making a meaningful productive contribution. The goal is to escape busyness by becoming more focused through removing unnecessary distractions allowing us to free up the one finite resource we have, time.
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