Expert Guest Post – These days, not having enough time has become commonplace. Everywhere you go, people find themselves constantly in a rush, over-booked and over-scheduled with no time off. Life is accompanied by the ongoing stress of not having enough time.
Sometimes doing too much and being too busy can actually be our way of numbing feelings of loneliness or emptiness; not knowing what we want; feeling unfulfilled in our work; masking anger, even depression. Keeping “busy” can be our way of feeling productive. But is this the case? Are we really being productive with our time, or are we just keeping busy to pass the time?
Though it may not always seem so, how we fill our time and how we spend our time is our choice.
Answer “True” or “False” to the following questions in this time management strategies quiz to discover if you’re caught up in the “I’m too-busy” cycle:
1. I constantly find myself doing “urgent” things and trying to catch up.
2. Even though I’m always busy, I feel like I’m going nowhere with my life, business or career.
3. I rarely take the time to do anything for myself.
4. I allow myself to be interrupted and distracted from what I’m supposed to be doing.
5. I don’t follow a clear set of time management strategies for myself or my work.
6. I never have a moment alone, yet I have this nagging sense of loneliness inside.
7. I have a hard time saying “no” to others.
8. I find myself running from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night.
9. I’ve given up on my dreams because of other obligations to my family, job or business.
10. I allow myself to drift into projects without knowing how much time or energy they’ll require.
11. I’m always tired and never feel like I accomplish enough.
If you answered “True” more often than “False,” then you may want to re-examine whether you choose to spend your time being “busy” or being productive. You may need to make a change in your life in these areas.
One difference between being productive and being “busy” is how you feel about how you spend your time. Feelings create thoughts, which result in actions. When you complete a task or project, do you have a sense of satisfaction? Do you feel like you’ve accomplished something with your time? Does your work make you feel energized and excited?
Another difference between being productive and being “busy” is the result you get with your time. T. Harv Eker says, “You either have reasons or you have results.” Are you making a contribution or are you making excuses? Are you adding value to your business/for your employer? Are you moving forward in your business or career, or are you spinning your wheels?
- Being productive with your time requires that you set short-and long-term personal and professional goals. Otherwise you’ll feel like you’re going nowhere and accomplishing nothing day after day.
- Being productive means you follow proven time management strategies and set up systems to measure and reward your accomplishments.
- When you’re productive, you monitor your progress daily to see if what you’re doing with your time is on track with your goals, priorities and what you want to accomplish with your life. If not, you do something about it and correct your course.
- Using your time productively makes you feel energized and excited about the work or tasks you choose to engage in. You’re in alignment with your purpose, values and aspirations.
- When you’re productive with your time, at the end of the day, you feel good about yourself and how you spent your time. You feel optimistic about your future even if you don’t always know where you’re going.
No matter what you’d like to accomplish, the secrets to using effective time management strategies and achieving success are the same…
Develop Awareness. This is the first step toward being productive using effective time management strategies.
Decide what you want. Be as specific as possible. What can you change? The clearer you are about what you want in your life, the more you’re likely to achieve it.
Get Perspective. Most people don’t tell anyone what they want or what they’re struggling with. So they don’t have an outside perspective. They can’t see their way out of their current situation and they stay stuck.
Get Support. Very few people achieve anything great alone. Be willing to take responsibility for your life and how you spend your time. Ask for help and support starting today!
If you’re not productive with your time, if you’re not using time management strategies, if you’re not achieving the goals you’ve set for your personal and professional life, then what’s keeping you busy?
Comment on this and let me know.
For more information, Sign up for Kathryn’s Ezine and receive a Free Chapter of her New Book: Triple Your Time Today! She shares her secret Time-Saving Strategies, Tips and Techniques.
For help right now, pick up a copy of her New Best Selling Book in its Category on Amazon, Triple Your Time Today: 10 Proven Time Management Strategies to Help You Create and Save More Time!
For personal one-on-one coaching, training and consulting integrating effective Time Management Strategies into your life, career or business, contact Kathryn today at support@Kathryn-McKinnon.com
Copyright Kathryn McKinnon, McKinnon & Company 2010-2011. All Rights Reserved.
I’m a time management “guru” and I also follow Kathleen for training in marketing and other business strategies. She is 100% on target with this posting!
I just realized that I misunderstood who’s article this is! I do follow Kathleen, but Kathryn is 100% on target with this posting!
Thank you Monique. I appreciate your feedback!
Excellent article! I can also highly recommend Kathryn’s new book — I reviewed it on Amazon.
Thank you Elizabeth! It’s very kind of you to endorse my guest blog post and my book in this forum.
Of all the time management issues highlighted in the quiz, which ones do you think people have the most difficulty managing?
I enjoyed reading this article! Feeling busy and being productive are not the same thing! Thank you for sharing great content!
You’re right Aracell. We often confuse being busy with being productive. They are not the same thing at all. In fact, being busy isn’t nearly as satisfying and rewarding as the feeling you get when you know you’re being productive with your time. The difference is that upon reflection, being busy just leaves you with a tired, empty feeling. It’s like running on a treadmill and going nowhere. Maybe you got some things done but did those activities move you forward, move you closer to your short-or long-term goals? Living a productive life is one that gives you a sense of purpose and reward. You end the day knowing you’re making progress and making a difference.
What do you think?
I couldn’t agree more Aracell.
Tip 6 in my book “52 Ways to get more Time in your Life” reminds us to “Prepare and Prevent instead of Repair and Repent”. One way to do this is to u build time into your life to prepare.If you start working without first organising your day, it’s very easy to keep busy without getting anywhere.
Ask yourself constantly throughout the day: “Is this the best use of my time right now? Am I being productive or just active?”. Because “busy’s” are not necessarily outcomes.
Great comment Glenda. You’re right. Being busy certainly takes up your time, but it isn’t necessarily a good use of your time if what you’re doing with your time isn’t helping you achieve your goal.
I find myself going around in a circle and not accomplishing anything. I am working on a Master’s Degree, but I can’t see the future with it. I get so scared that sometime something is going to happen that I am afraid to believe it. I want so much for my dream to come true, but family, work, and money gets in the way. After reading your article I know I have to make a change in my life. Time Management is very important and if you keep a schedule of the things you need to do you will have time to do things for yourself. I want to teach classes on line when I finish my degree and I have to get on the ball, and stop letting others distract me from reaching my goals. Thank you for this article.
Thank you for you comment Faye. You know, even the most successful people will tell you that their success came to them once they decided to believe in themselves and to make a commitment to their goals and dreams. Taking that step isn’t easy, but If you’re always afraid to take a chance; if you’re always focusing on the past; if you allow others to distract you; if you’re afraid of the imaginary “what ifs” in your life, you’ll never be able to move forward. You’ll stay stuck right where you are.
You have a choice. You can stay right where you are or you can choose something better.
I commend you for working on your Master’s Degree. Getting my MBA was one of the best investments I ever made in myself. It opened doors for me that I couldn’t have ever imagined. So I encourage you to keep at it and to keep your focus on what you want to achieve. I suggest you take these steps to keep yourself moving forward:
1. Write down your goal. (maybe it’s to get your degree. Maybe it’s to create a better living, to achieve financial freedom or to teach, once you have the degree.) Put your goal somewhere so you can see it every day.
2. Write down what’s standing in your way of achieving that goal.
3. Ask yourself what you need to change about your thoughts, habits, beliefs, feelings or actions in order to achieve your goal.
4. What can you do; What steps can you take today to move yourself closer to your goal?
5. Close your eyes and do this visualization for a few minutes each day:
Visualize yourself accomplishing your goal and what that accomplishment will mean for you. See yourself reaching your goal in as much detail as possible. See it, feel it and believe it!
How does it make you feel? How does it affect your energy level? How does your attitude change as a result of seeing yourself accomplishing your goal? Allow these positive thoughts to grow and expand with each breath you take. Allow these thoughts and feelings to settle into your body so that you start to get used to the “feeling” of success.
5. Repeat this process every day. Rehearse your success every day. Feel your success, see your success so that you believe it is true.
Remember, your fears are just thoughts. You have control over what you think, so when those old fears start to creep in, just reach for a better thought.
When you start to live with more positive thoughts, beliefs and attitudes about yourself, you’ll start to take the actions that will move you in a more positive direction. Your old thoughts, feelings and beliefs will start to fall away as you strengthen your mental muscles. You’ll find it easier to achieve the success you desire. Helpful people will begin to show up. New opportunities will present themselves to you. Coincidences will occur in your life as you start to choose a better way to think and feel about yourself and your goal.
Faye, Just take one step toward your goal every day, then another and another. You’ll arrive there sooner if you keep your mind focused on where you want to be.
Thank you for such a detailed response Kathryn. This is excellent information.
I loved this posting! I could not agree more, and found the information very useful for myself and my team. I plan to print the “quiz,” and have each member of management in my facility do a blind test to determine an overall team score. Then I will share the results, and the information in the post. Hopefully, this will be very eye-opening to all of them!
Great idea. Would love to hear your analysis of the blind test.
Thanks for your comment Melissa. I love your idea about sharing the quiz with your team. I agree with Kathleen. Please do share the feedback you get. It will be fascinating to read about your findings and it may inspire other teams to do the same. Remember, “awareness” is the first step to making any change.