You will never seem as busy doing real work.
Mark Forster, in his book Do it tomorrow, points out that real work advances your business or job while busy work it is what you do to avoid real work.
Real work includes things such as planning, goal setting, creative thinking, problem solving and decision-making. There is little visible activity with this type of work; consequently busy work looks more like real work that real work does.
There is a tendency on the part of many people to keep busy, which has little if anything to do with being effective. We should judge others by their actual results, not by their physical activity.
I would be suspicious of any businessperson who was constantly in motion. When communicating, if you’re always talking, you can’t be listening. Similarly, in business, if you’re always busy working, you can’t be doing much planning, goal setting, creative thinking or problem-solving. And these are essential activities that simply can’t be multitasked.
Doing things right the first time saves time in the long run. Rushing through jobs or multitasking while you do them is not a smart thing to do.
It is even more important to do the right things. Spending time on unnecessary jobs is little better than sitting idle for the same period of time. In fact it could be worse; because if you were doing nothing, at least you would be relaxing. As Jo Owens claims in his book How to manage, “being a 100% perfect at doing the wrong thing is still 100% waste of time.”
Think before you act. Is that task really necessary? Does it contribute to your goals? Does it further your career or contribute to your well-being? One of the keys to effective time management is to be selective in what you do. There simply isn’t enough time to do everything. If there were time for all the things you should be doing there would be no problem. You could simply do everything and the priorities would get done along with all the other stuff.
The fact is, our time is limited. Doing everything is not an option. Doing one thing means not doing something else. And there is a big difference between the things that should be done and the things that must be done.
You may have seen ducks moving smoothly in a pond with no visible effort. But beneath the water, their little webbed feet are in continuous motion, propelling them forward. In the same way, what propels you forward in business and in life is not a flurry of activity that is visible to everyone. What makes you a success is not visible to others – the creativity, goal-setting, planning, problem solving and decisions that constitute real work. Double the time you are currently spending on real work and you won’t be as busy.
Note: The above article is excerpted in part from my e-book, Time to be productive, published by Bookboon.com