Say No To Busy Work

Busy work can be your number, one productivity killer.   One reason for this is that when doing busy work, you may not realize that you are mostly procrastinating or that you are not getting your most important work tasks first done. Busy work is a thief that steals your productivity without your knowledge. You get to the end of your day, and you haven’t made any real progress on your goals. Maybe you re-organized your desk or updated your blog. But you haven’t done anything to will genuinely help you build your business.

To keep busy work from stealing your productivity, you have to understand what it is. Even more importantly, you need to know why you’re doing this busywork so that you can tackle the real root of the problem.

Busy Work May Seem Urgent

Busy work feels urgent, which is why it can be so tempting to do it when you should’ve either delegated the job or done something more substantial.  An example of busy work would be checking your social media accounts the second your phone dings or shopping for a new phone system when it is not in the budget.

Busy work may make you feel productive; However, you aren’t more productive.  Traditionally, busy work adds no value to your business or personal objectives.  However, I personally identify tasks that provide minimal value as being also buying busy work when, while doing those jobs, you ignore more critical duties.  For example, cleaning your desk, in the long run, may help your productivity.  However,  “Cleaning your desk” will hurt your business goals if, while you are cleaning your desk, you are ignoring a potential or actual, full-blown crisis.

Just Say No-In order to say no to busy work, you have to be willing to say ‘no’ to seemingly urgent tasks. For example, if you’re working on a client project and you get a message that it’s time to update your website software, then it’s easy to get off track. Before you know it, your day is over and the client project is still waiting for you.

Busy Work A Form Of Procrastination

For many people, busy work is a form of procrastination. It might not look like procrastination. You may tell yourself that before you start on a project, you need to make a giant to-do list and organize your resources.  If you want to say no to busy work, you have to understand that it causes you to make a lot of plans. But it’s the follow-through that makes the difference. It might be helpful to say, “Before I begin on this project, I’m going to take 10 minutes to make an outline”. When the ten minutes are up, start working even if your outline isn’t completed yet.

Busy Work  And Feeling Overwhelmed

Busy work frequently hides a feeling of being overwhelmed. For example, maybe you’re overwhelmed at the thought of learning, business-critical, new software, or writing your new employee handbook. So you spend most of your time doing less urgent tasks instead of focusing on what’s going to grow your business or get you closer to your personal goals.

If you find that you’re using busy work to avoid overwhelming projects, try to sit down and pick a deadline for just one task. You might say, “By [your date], I will hire a virtual assistant that can install this software and teach me how to use it”.

Final Thoughts-What Can You Do?

Eliminating busy work can be done primarily through identifying and setting priorities. You do this by first, by making it a habit to ask the ask yourself the following questions before you do a job: Does “X” task get me closer to my business or personal goals? If the answer is no, then  “X” is busy work, and you should not do the job.  But, If the answer is yes to the first question, you then will ask the following question: Can “X” task be delegated? (Take both monetary and also competency into account)If X  can’t be delegated, then doing “X” is not busy work, and you should do that job.  However, if it can be delegated, then delegate it and work on other essential business tasks.