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Too Busy Being Busy? 10 Tips to Cope

Nowadays it’s no surprise if you ask someone how they are doing that their response is, “good, very busy, though.” We’ve been feeling busier than ever and the fact that everyone can be reached at all times surely doesn’t help.  With connectivity comes new responsibility. People feel they have to be ‘on’. So how can you actually cope with being busy? Here are 10 tips that will help you feel less busy.

You don’t have to be a superhero

It’s literally impossible to get everything done – time is limited. So just accept that there are things you just can’t do. Get your groceries delivered to your home, schedule a call with a client instead of a face-to-face meeting or skip that workshop.

Focus on output

Sometimes when you want to get things done, it’s not always about spending the most time on it but spending the most valuable time on it. Make sure that you schedule your day in such a way that you work as efficient and productive as possible.

Practise ‘strategic incompetence’

To be more time effective, it helps to sometimes display strokes of incompetence. Just show some signs of workplace clumsiness and others will copy, scan and make you that cup of coffee.

Schedule extra time

Things always take longer than you expect. So make sure that you always schedule in extra time for tasks that could need more time. And if the project didn’t require that extra time, you can use it for other tasks. Because you have enough on your plate, right?

Do not precrastinate

The opposite of procrastination is precrastination; doing things too early. Sometimes you decide to do things just to get them out of the way even when they are not a priority, for example emails. Did you know that emails are often other people’s to do lists? And did you also realise that when you decide not to answers emails straight away, people usually find the answer to their question in a different way?

Give time away

Give some of that valuable time of yours away to a good cause or help out a friend in need. Successfully do something useful, and you’ll be subconsciously reassured of your capabilities, making you more confident about the chances of getting further useful things done in future.

Watch out for false victories

Planning a meeting with your client is another task that you can check off your to-do list. This  makes you feel good about yourself. However the meeting itself and the actions that follow are even more to-dos. So be aware of false victories.

Not a speedlane

When you feel really busy, doing things in a fast pace can seem as the solution to get as many things done as possible. However, driving in the speedlane can lead to mistakes and can make you feel even more stressed. Experiment with doing nothing at all for 10 minutes between tasks: the harder that feels, the more you may need it.

Limit your to-do list

Set a limit to your to-do list. Put no more than 5 items on your list. New tasks can only be added when a previous one is ticked off.  This way your to-do lists doesn’t seem like an endless list.

Stop busy-bragging

Stop complaining about how busy you are, especially when you partly do it to boast about yourself. Because, honestly, if you have time to brag, you surely have time to do more efficient things.

And tip 11….

For all Dutch speakers, we are hosting a breakfast session this September with our partners Jobtraining to help you deal with being busy.

This is an excerpt of this  article.

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