After the 2008 financial crisis, productivity went down. People became extremely busy, chasing shadows and praying for a change. ‘Busy’ is a term that has been overused to the extent that it has lost its meaning. People normally have the notion that so long as they have an engagement whatsoever, they are ‘busy’. If you check well, you will realize that at the end of the day, they never accomplished anything in their ‘busyness’.
Are you busy or productive?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Labor productivity which relates output to the labor hours worked is something you really have to consider when talking about improving your productivity.” Productivity boils down to getting more and better results from your effort.
Many people always mistake productivity and being busy. The truth is, you might be busy yet not productive. There is a clear distinction between being busy and being productive. You may feel overworked; you spend most of your time reacting to things in the office or events outside the office, running errands here and there.
When this is the case, chances are that you are busy. Alternatively, if you feel you are settled, focused and calm, in control of everything you are working on, and making progress inch by inch in every task or assignment you undertake, the conclusion is that you are productive. Because at the end of the day when taking stock, you’ll realize that you have achieved something.
There are various ways in which you can be productive on a busy day. Many times we mistake things that make us busy as those that make us productive. For instance, talk of technology. The advent of the mobile phones, which we use for sending texts, and making calls every now and then, and the computers, which we use for emailing, have taken the lead in dragging behind our productivity. It is in utilizing your time well that you feel fulfilled.
Now, having understood and seen the difference between being busy and being productive, I want to list some of the ways in which you can improve your productivity in whatever you do. By the time you will be through with reading this article, I believe you shall have known where you are, whether ‘busy’ or ‘productive’, and you shall work towards accomplishing more, seeing tangible results and even having time for fun.
Get to have a To-Do List for everything you want to do for the day
It is important that every individual in any working environment owns a to-do list where they list all things they want to do for the day. Another important thing that you and I ought to know is that it is not in having a long list of “things to be done” in the to-do list that shows how productive you are.
You can list as few as two or three things in your to-do list, the most important thing is that you get them done and achieved for that day. The to-do list helps you set your priorities right and hence, helps you achieve more when it comes to productivity.
So every time you get into your office in the morning or want to do many things at home, ask yourself this question: What are the most important and urgent things that you must get done today?
Don’t multi-task. Learn Single-tasking
Multi-tasking is considered a skill in our society. It has gone to the extent that when any company is posting a job vacancy in the dailies, they include ‘multi-tasking’ as one of the qualities that the candidates applying for the jobs should have.
I have come to realize that when you multi-task, at the end of the day when doing a stock take, you will find that you haven’t achieved much as you would have achieved if you would have concentrated on a single task. Single-tasking is very important as it helps make you focus on the assignment you are working on, and this will make you deliver much.
Get a productivity journal to guide you in the course
This might sound so hard or rather tiresome to most of us but believe me, it helps a lot. Keeping a productivity journal to guide you daily, weekly, monthly, or even annually is one thing that will make you productive in all things that you do. When you have set your goals and priorities, they will be as good as nothing if they just remain stories you tell people.
To ensure that you achieve your goals in life, have them listed down, however long-term they are. You list them in terms of monthly or annually, and each day, write the experience you have had about them.
When having a project you need to accomplish in your office, write it in your journal, and write each and every step you ought to take in order to get it done. At the end of the day, you’ll realize that you have ceased to be busy, and have turned to be productive.
Improving your productivity isn’t a matter of the tools you’ve or the systems that get the job done. It depends primarily on your priorities and how you approach your daily tasks. Do you focus on the most important and urgent tasks? Once you draw your scale of preference and follow it to the end, you’ll come out productive no matter how busy your day is.
What else have you done to improve your productivity at work?
About the author
Michael Chibuzor is a small business writer. He founded http://queryletters.com to help you do BIG things in your business.