Don’t Get Stuck In Inefficient Busyness !!
February 3, 2022
Nowadays, whenever I am in conversation with colleagues, mentees, and friends, there is one common theme: How busy everything feels.
While it is true everyone seems very busy, it is also a fact that they don’t feel productive. Despite everyone being very busy, it appears as if nothing much gets done for the amount of busyness everyone looks to be in. Meetings happen, but outcomes don’t; ideas fly but execution flags; work gets done, but results don’t keep pace.
In most workplaces, three typical issues create a sense of frenetic activity and an ambiance of inefficient busyness.
Everyone’s calendars are loaded, full of activities, deliverables, meetings, and other demands on their time. Collective efficiency can happen only when everyone is aligned on the organisational goals and what they have to do. However, if priorities are not aligned, it leads to many follow-ups and friction.
This is another area where many people struggle. The tendency is to simply jump in and start working on tasks assuming that the details and actions will take care of themselves. Most people have tasks to complete without clear plans laid out.
Finally, there is the issue of communication. People in typical organizational settings need to know what tasks are critical and where they should commit their time and focus. When lines of communication are not very efficient, people struggle to figure out which tasks are important or where they should spend their time. And when people are unclear, they get busy doing anything that will make them feel productive.
One of the big reasons people struggle with prioritization, planning, and communication is because they are thought-based activities that are not directly linked to the actual process of doing something. And therefore, they are not seen as adding value. Getting stuck into doing something somehow feels productive while the acts of prioritizing, planning and communicating seem less alluring.
Questions To Ask
Therefore, an excellent way to slow down and focus on work that truly matters starts with asking yourself three simple questions when looking to do any activity.
– Where does this task fit in the context of what the team is looking to do? Why am I doing it?
– What are the outcomes required from the task, and can I put it into a Plan?
– What is it that my supervisor expects of me, and how can I do this right the first time?
When you start any activity by asking yourself these questions, the answers you give yourself will help you operate with more clarity. Even if you are busy, you are busy for the right reason- focusing on tasks that truly matter.