Feeling overwhelmed? Stop doing the “busywork”

Trying to keep up with the pace of today’s world keeps us in a constant state of busyness. It’s time-consuming, and while most of us have no problem with being busy, we’re often busy on the wrong things. You simply can’t do it all and respond to everything and everyone.

What are the excuses?

There are a host of reasons you may feel you have too much to do in too little time, and chances are that more than one of the following applies to your business:

  • Too many clients
  • An inability to say no
  • An inability to delegate
  • Insufficient systems or technical tools to simplify tasks
  • Insufficient or unproductive staff
  • Underestimating how much time it takes to complete a task
  • Undercharging in relation to the time/effort/staff required to complete a task

What is the outcome?

If you’ve ever taken the time to measure your work, you may well be surprised at how little productive work you are actually doing. Research has shown that most people are only, on average, 60% as productive as they could be. That’s 40% of productive time we are losing every day, week, month, year, per person, per business. That’s a lot of productive time going to waste!

So what’s our goal?

There are always more incoming emails, more meetings, more things to read, more ideas, projects and work to follow up etc. The result, inevitably, is feeling overwhelmed. As the saying goes, we are only human and have a limited amount of energy and abilities. Yet we push ourselves to get through an endless amount of work. We feel a social pressure to “do it all”, at work and at home, which is impossible.

Ultimately, we want to be focusing on the activities that drive results or move us toward bigger long-term goals. Real work, then, advances our goals while busy work is what we do to avoid real work. Many of us confuse being “busy” with being effective, or efficient. But everything we do with no real purpose is wasting precious energy credits. Our energy is limited, so doing everything is not an option.

We start to feel overwhelmed when we have too many thoughts competing within our mind, and the first step to tackling it is to break down an issue or task into manageable chunks. Dividing tasks into smaller practical milestones can help accomplish bigger goals within realistic timeframes and significantly less energy.

Being effective means being deliberate. You have to choose to pursue high-value work.

If you would like to discuss how you can manage your “busy work” better, contact us for more information.


If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.