I know the feeling. You have 1,023 things you know that you need to be focusing on: some personal, some work and some you’ve been avoiding for months (maybe even years), right?! There’s the urgent and then there’s everything else you probably should be doing. You tell yourself, “I just can’t find the time.” In a disengaged conversation the other day with a friend, they scrolled through Instagram and said, “I feel so super busy and have no time to do that. I just wish I had more time.”
HA! The reality of this generation. Have you ever said this? Felt like this? I definitely have.I think the tension of life is equating busyness with productivity… however this is not a reality. Busyness is about activity, but productivity is about producing a result or creating something of significance. It doesn’t matter how many balls you’re juggling. If there is no progress then there is no productivity. Do you ever feel like you’re on a wheel, going round and round the same mountain? Life full of activity but not momentum?It’s amazing how many people become the victim of busyness and can confuse it with success, significance and productivity. I wonder if that’s you? Do you complain about not having enough time? Feel like you have too much on your plate? Find yourself not being fully present in the moment?
If you answered yes… then here’s a few thoughts that may help you maximise your time, which is the most precious commodity we all have, and inspire you to be a little more productive.
1. Write things down
One thing that helps me a lot is a concept called “brain dumping”.I used to tell myself I will remember it, but what I found so often is that I forgot a lot of things, missed appointments, etc. I would use a lot of mental exertion to think back rather than think forward, dream and envision. My mind would become cluttered (like brain fog) and you can become mentally exhausted this way. Some people would call it a “to do list”or “journal log”.The key is to de-clutter and put it all out in front of you. What I found helpful is to first write it down in categories then in order of priority. The best time to do it is before bed and then look at it early in the AM- you win the morning and win the day!
2. Ready – Aim – Fire
Growing up in Australia, during the summer I remember we would turn on the garden hose and as you increased the pressure, it would literally go all over the place like a rattle snake spurting water in every direction. It brought so much craziness, fun, and chaos. Busyness is like this – you feel like so much is going on at once!
Aiming is the key to productivity. Where are you headed? What is the goal? Having goals and working to achieve those goals are two different things. When you know what you want or where you are headed, you actually do things with the end in mind and you are more focused; not wasting your time on things that don’t matter. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed ask yourself, “What’s the vision? Goal?”
3. Linger a little longer
One of the great things that I have learned about productivity is to not be in a hurry to move on to the next appointment or rush out of meetings. Give yourself time buffers. It’s amazing the conversations that can happen around meetings. Either getting there a little early or staying and lingering a little after the meeting can actually be one of the most productive things you do. Important convos can take place and it also says a lot about the energy around you. If you’re rushing, it creates angst, but if you have time it brings a peace to the atmosphere around you.
4. Go easier on yourself
Usually “busyness”happens due to a number of reasons such as over-committing, people pleasing, biting more off than we can chew, addictive personalities, undisciplined lifestyle, etc. No matter what the reason, we can all feel in different seasons that we are juggling too many things at once, trying to balance too many plates at once… and it’s in these moments where you can be so hard on yourself. You can beat yourself up, allow guilt, shame and condemnation to get the better of you due to high demands and pressure of work, family, relationships and life. If I can encourage you today: one of the best things you can do is to take a step back, breathe and go easy on yourself. Your health is important, you are valuable, and you have another 24 hours tomorrow, by God’s Grace, to go after it!
5. Be a solution finder rather than a problem pointer
We all know people that find fault with everything- never satisfied, never happy and there is always drama. The quickest way to kill momentum and productivity is to find fault. I say this to encourage you because the people who say it can’t be done, are always surpassed by those doing it. When it comes to solutions: think outside the box, look at the same challenge from a different angle or perspective, or get fresh eyes on it. Ask questions about possibility – What other ways are there? And here’s a tip in the workplace… present three different options rather than one to your employer. It shows ownership, responsibility, creativity and excellence.
I love how Jesus deals with busyness… He offers rest as the solution…
Matt 11:28-30 MSG “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
B.U.S.Y – Being Under Satan’s Yoke
R.E.S.T – Reflect, Engage, Surrender, Trust
Have a blessed day,
Campus Pastor, Hillsong San Francisco