Here’s Why You Cannot Get Anything Done Despite Working So Hard
Being busy is a part of the entrepreneurship culture. You cannot expect to be successful in anything without putting in the work. While most successful people are often considered busy, a ‘busy fool’ is a person who barely makes any progress no matter how much he works. He lives under the illusion that busy automatically means success.
We have all been busy fools at one point or another. We often avoid doing the fundamental chores by occupying ourselves with trivial things which are less challenging. A busy fool would rather do anything else but to sit down and think, because thinking hurts.
Tim Ferriss, author of the best seller ‘4 Hour Work Week’ said that being perpetually busy is a form of laziness. You may work 12 hours, but what did that ‘work’ really entail? Reading emails? Travelling long distances to attend meetings which have no meaning?
Here are 10 things you can do in order to achieve maximum productivity and avoid being a busy fool.
How to stop being a busy fool
- Have a clear understanding of your priorities
This is the most important step. Having your priorities at the back of your mind is not enough; you need to write them down. Once that is done, have a clear roadmap for how you intend to achieve them. Eliminate any activity that does not contribute towards the achievement of your objectives.
- Develop a ‘To Think’ list
You most likely already have a ‘to-do’ list which covers the things you intend to do. ‘To-think’ lists are just as important. Many people are busy fools because they spend too much time worrying about the ‘doing’ without allocating time to think. Identify 3 priorities that you have on your to-do list, and then take the initiative to really go over them in your head. That is how innovative ideas and solutions to great challenges are usually born, through deep thinking.
- Learn to Say ‘No’
Saying no is uncomfortable for many people. Such people inadvertently become busy fools because by saying yes to everything, they get themselves caught up in other people’s plans. Consider using phrases such as ‘I’ll think about it’ or ‘come back to me next week’ instead of saying ‘yes’ as the first response.
- Avoid committees
Most committees are a waste of time. They spend too much time discussing unimportant details and will continue to steal time from your schedule long in the future. And besides that, they are never easy to get out of. The only time you should ever consider joining a committee is if it is directly associated with your goals.
- Spend minimal time on email
The morning hours are usually the most creative therefore do not waste them reading and responding to emails. That can always be done once you have completed the fundamentals tasks. Do not let your emails dictate how your day will go.
- Do it now
Never ever give in to procrastination. Learn how to make decisions as quickly as possible. Each time you are in a position to do something which needs your attention, do it at that instant without thinking too much. Your future self will be grateful.
Go to bed each night with an idea of what you would like to accomplish the following day. Wake up early, create your roadmap for the day and then follow it to the definite end. Do not lose focus otherwise you will become a busy fool.
- Delegate or outsource some work
There is a limit to how much anyone can get done in 24 hours. If you in a position to delegate some work to a competent team member, do so. And in the absence of a team, if you have the capital to outsource some work to a freelancer, do so. That way you will be able to free up some time to focus on other priorities.
- Automate the manual work
Much like outsourcing or delegating, there are certain menial tasks which take up so much of your time and could be better handled with a little technology. For example, you can use software such as Quickbooks to automate your accounting and Hootsuite to schedule your social media posts. There are literally hundreds of paid and non-paid software which can really help free up your time and enable you focus on bigger and more important tasks.
- Working too many hours
There is a concept in economics called the law of diminishing returns which suggests that each hour extra spent working produces less valuable results. Working too many hours might be reason we end up becoming busy fools because we cannot help it when our body gets tired and loses focus. By prioritizing the important tasks and eliminating anything else which does not contribute to its fulfillment, we can achieve a lot more in fewer hours. It could take 6 hours to do a task that takes a busy fool 12 hours.
We need to avoid becoming busy fools by focusing on the right priorities and working smarter. A packed schedule might fool us into thinking that we’re making progress but what it says is that we have no time to take on our challenges or to seize new opportunities. A person that has no time for a brief meeting until ‘next month the earliest’ is most likely a busy fool.