🎯 Work Smart Wednesday
👋 Hey there!
Here is your weekly dose of Work Smart Wednesday
In these emails I will share with you 3 things to help you work smarter in 3 minutes or less. That leaves you with 10,077 more minutes to conquer your goals this week
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1. 🏃♂️ The differences between busy and productive people
When someone asks you, “how are you feeling,” do you often respond, “busy”?
First of all – “busy” isn’t a feeling.
Overwhelmed, stressed, scattered, distracted, guilty, frustrated, tired.
THOSE are feelings.
I make a conscious effort to NOT describe myself as busy, but to use a different adjective. This is more important than most people realise…
Side note: Many entrepreneurs, particularly males, struggle with identifying their feelings when they first start out - I know I sure did. It is important to know how you are feeling in order to know what the problems are and how to solve them. The wheel of emotions (another here) is a useful tool to get started with identifying feelings. I promise you it isn’t some softy useless snowflake tool, it is something that will genuinely make you happier and your business better.
Now to continue, it is easy to get caught up in being busy. It is a critical mistake I made again and again with my early businesses. Counterintuitively, it is often easier to be busy than it is to be relaxed or productive.
When you are busy, you do not have time to confront big things that scare you. You don’t have time to make difficult decisions or take difficult actions, so you delay them.
I see people tend to start ‘feeling busier’ when something significant needs to be done. In my experience, most people who constantly describe themselves as busy are merely hiding from what they know needs to be done.
It feels productive to be busy because you get the rush of completion as you will have finished lots of small tasks, even if those tasks should never have been completed at all.
When I was caught up in this trap I ended up on a treadmill of tasks that didn’t really do much, but doing lots of small things seemed easier than doing fewer things that feel hard (even when those scary few things were actually much easier and much less time consuming overall).
Our brains are hardwired to seek out dopamine and unfortunately you get a small dopamine rush when you complete a task. Completing lots of small tasks gives you that rush more often than completing things that make a difference. This dopamine hit is addictive.
Just as I was years ago, if you find yourself in a similar situation of being constantly busy with small tasks then it is because you are addicted to being busy.
However, you can break the addiction just as I did. You can make it easier to get the dopamine when doing things that matter. You can retrain your brain.
A few key differences between busy and productive that can help:
Productive people know their purpose – I write down my goals, I recite them, I track them daily. I always make sure they align with how I want to live. I do Past Year Reviews to identify the top 20% positive and negative activities, hobbies, and people so I can further refine my life. I review this regularly along with my goals.
Productive people say no to things that don’t align with their mission – I say no to most requests. There are countless opportunities in front of us each day. I truly live by the phrase “Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine”. I regularly remind myself that completing a task is not inherently good, it is only good if I complete a task that matters. I know that being busy is a choice. We are (fortunately) rarely forced into a lifestyle of busyness. I say no, and I spend my money to buy back time (such as via automation or outsourcing). I make sure my calendar aligns with my priorities.
Productive people don’t get distracted by unfulfilling pursuits – The sooner we recognize the pursuit of more will never fully satisfy, the easier it is to unbusy our lives. My Past Year Review is great at identifying tasks/people/activities that I should do more of or cut out completely. Productive people are intentional with their time, I don’t let things or life just “happen” to me, I go out and make things happen.
Productive people value the significance of rest – Rest is essential to our bodies, our minds, and our souls. I sleep at least 8 hours per night, usually more, as an absolute non-negotiable. I take regular breaks, I unwind, I schedule in me-time FIRST into my calendar (before any work tasks get added!) and they are unalterable. Productive people value their rest, their time, their actions.
Productive people know that not all tasks are equally valuable - an unread email from a stranger is not worth the same as working on your business strategy or finding your next client. I reply when I am ready, after core tasks are completed, and I prioritise impactful work. I find that spending time identifying the right task to focus on is one of the highest ROI uses of my time.
Are you currently a busy or a productive person?
What will you do about it?
2. ❌ Stop doing the wrong things well
Many people spend an incredible amount of time making sure everything they do is done to the best of their ability.
You are probably aware of the phrase “if it is worth doing it is worth doing well”. What most people forget are the two important caveats include in this sentence:
IF it is worth doing
Worth doing WELL
‘Worth doing well’ is not the same as ‘worth doing perfectly’.
I use this simple sentence as a guide to help me stay focused on tasks that matter.
The first step is always eliminating a task, to stop at the “IF it is worth doing” stage. The vast majority of tasks are not worth doing.
Before I start any task, I ask myself “is this task worth doing?” and/or “What is one thing I can do now that will make everything else easier/unnecessary?”.
When I do start, it can be difficult to stop a task after it is just done ‘well’. Humans like to take tasks to their climax, their ultimate end. However, for nearly all tasks it is better to admit that it is good enough and to move onto the next thing.
Stopping at the right time has taken me a lot of practice and there are lots of tips to help. I find that one of the most impactful tips is to define your stopping point before you start, define what “good enough” is before you ever begin.
For many tasks, it takes 20% of your effort to get 80% done.
It then takes 80% of your effort to finish that final 20%.
What wrong things have you been doing too well?
. 💡 Quote I'm pondering
"Some talk to you in their free time and others free their time to talk to you” - unknown
You have much more control over your time than you realise. As I rule, I always free up my time if my close friends or family say they need me. No questions asked, I will make the time.
Who would you like to free up your time for?
That's it! I can't wait to hear what you think. What did you find most useful? What do you want more or less of? Reply to this email now and let me know
Also, if you have anything interesting to share, I want to know about it😊
Have a great week,
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