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 truly help you build your business.
Busy Work = Urgent
The important thing to understand about busy work is that it feels urgent. However, busy work never adds value to your business. An example of busy work would be checking your social media accounts the second your phone dings. Doing this makes you feel productive even though you aren’t.
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 = Procrastination
For many people, busy work is a form of procrastination. It might not look like procrastination. In fact, you may tell yourself that before you start on a project, you just 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 = Overwhelm
Busy work frequently masks overwhelm. Maybe you’re overwhelmed at the thought of learning new software or creating an e-course. So you spend most of your time doing less important tasks instead of focusing on what’s going to grow your business.
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”.
The 80/20 Rule
This rule states that eighty percent of your income will be generated by twenty percent of your actions.
For most business owners that means they’re filling their days with tasks that aren’t truly valuable.
To deal with this, it’s just a matter of finding the twenty percent of tasks that are the most important.
When you know what these tasks are, you’ll be able to make smarter business decisions.
Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine if a business activity is truly valuable:
1. Can this task be done by someone else?
Your most valuable tasks will always be the ones that can only be done by you. If you’re a New York Times bestselling author, then your most valuable task would be writing. If you’re a coach, your most valuable task would be coaching your clients.
2. Does this task make me money?
Your most valuable tasks are income generators. If a task doesn’t earn you money, then you need to ask if this is something that truly needs to be completed by you. Outsourcing mundane tasks lets you focus on big picture tasks that increase your income.
3. Am I energized by this task?
Your most valuable tasks are the ones that energize you. If you love a task and it fires you up, chances are high that it’s a valuable task. Most business owners dread the small, mundane tasks because they already know these tasks don’t matter that much.
In order 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 busy work, so you can tackle the real root of the problem.