Many things in life are valuable, but none more than time; priceless when well spent and irretrievable when not. Busy people can never be accused of never having something to do. Activity is constant. But the question is less about being active and more about being productive. As much as being busy can be a great thing in life and business, is it possible that a busy schedule has the potential to rob us of some amazing opportunities and life experiences?
Procrastination is the grave in which opportunities are buried. Opportunities are also buried under a pile of unfinished tasks and late deadlines.
Having spoken to health care professionals and nurses in social settings, as well as having read books and articles by self-help teachers who focus on time, there is no regret more painful than looking back over one’s lifetime and knowing time could have been better spent on things that ranked highest on one’s values list. ‘Being busy’ does not appear to have ranked anywhere in the list of things people wish they had done more of.
The challenge for many professionals when pursuing their goals is distinguishing between urgent, important and productive. Urgent does not always mean important. Urgent and important do not always mean productive. However, when anything becomes urgent, it means time is running out fast and it needs attention. Important means ‘action as soon as possible.’ But no matter what our focus is on in life or business, the end goal is productivity – results.
So how does one make the most of a busy schedule and the valuable time they have in day-to-day handling of personal and professional affairs?
Here are 5 tips that are so simple that they are sometimes overlooked by very busy people:
1. Prioritize your priorities
Using a time management tool in day-to-day planning of personal or professional events is valuable. It’s especially handy if you’re juggling multiple projects or simply want a reduced stress and have a balanced life-style. One can never go wrong with the trusted method of preparing a daily to-do list. There is satisfaction and a feeling of achievement whenever an item is ticked or crossed off the list. If your preference is working on-the-go on a portable electronic device, consider downloading the free Any.do To-do List & Task List App via Google Play. You can set a daily reminder that prompts you to plan your next-day tasks the day before so you never have to forget important things. Even better is that you can quickly re-organize your list according to priorities with the drag-and-drop function. It’s brilliant!
2. Focus more on results than activity
Quality of results is not dependent on the length of time spent on a task. Activity doesn’t equal productivity. Focus more on activities that produce results. A wonderful tip I learnt some time ago, which added immense value to my bottom line and reduced my stress levels, was asking myself this question whenever I received an invitation to participate in anything, “Is this activity going to betray my values, my vision and my purpose?”
3. Set attainable goals
Big goals are often achieved by a collection of mini-goals. Regardless of how big or how far in the future the goal is, calculate your time limit and set daily and weekly targets that will build up to the end product. Being overwhelmed is often caused by feeling inundated and unable to take charge of current or looming projects.
4. Drop unnecessary tasks
Certain tasks will steal the show from really important ones. With experience you’ll be able to spot and weed-out time-wasting activities and focus on productive ones. As you become more focused and clear on your goals and/or life purpose, it will become easier to be more selective about what or whom does or doesn’t get your attention.
When you’re a busy professional, stress management is vital to your health. Whenever you think of your mind, your heart and your health, think “irreplaceable!” There are certain tasks that can be delegated or outsourced. Where possible, friends and family can help with generic tasks. Where more professional help on-a-budget is required, a Virtual Assistant, Fiverr.com, eLance and People Per Hour can help you blaze through that to-do list more strategically. Busy people can always do with some stress-relief. Delegate.
How do you make the most of your busy schedule? If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share it with other busy professionals.
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