Ever feel like the guy in the picture?
More and more research is proving that our always-on, multi-tasking work environments and lifestyles are dampening creativity, killing productivity, and making us unhappy.
Now, we can become victims of this reality, or we can become proactive.
As Wilhelm von Humboldt writes, “I am more and more convinced that our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves.” And so, here are a few tips that I’m trying to implement for beating busyness in my life:
1. Dare to slow down
Deliberately drive in the slow lane. At the toll, choose the longest line, and then let someone go in front of you. Eat your food slowly (this one is a real challenge for me). In other words, as the world moves faster, find ways to intentionally slow things down.
2. Don’t feel guilty if you feel tired and busy
In her book, The Overworked American, Harvard economist Juliet B. Schor estimated that “the average employed person is now on the job an additional 163 hours, or the equivalent of one month a year, compared to figures from twenty years ago.” So, don’t be so hard on yourself if you feel tired and busy. You should. You’re working an extra month this year.
3. Do one thing differently
In our day we have largely traded wisdom for information. We keep reading more and thinking less. I often find myself reading so many productivity and self-improvement tips, and even though all the advice is great, unless I apply it, it is just useless hollow information. Action trumps knowledge every time. So choose one thing to do differently, and go DO IT!
4. Check your email on a schedule
“It’s not effective to read and answer every email as it arrives. Just because someone can contact you immediately does not mean that you have to respond to them immediately,” says productivity guru Dan Markovitz. “People want a predictable response, not an immediate response.” So as long as people know how long to expect an answer to take, and they know how to reach you in an emergency, you can answer most types of email just a few times a day.
5. Don’t leave email in your inbox
I swear by this method. Try to touch an email just once and take action on it as soon as you read it. Organize email into folders. If the message needs more thought, flag it or move it to your to-do list. If it’s for reference, print it out or send it to Evernote. If it’s a meeting, move it to your calendar.
6. Know when you work best.
I’m definitely a morning person. Each person has a best time. Manage your schedule to keep your best time free for your most important work.
7. Give your brain some downtime
Research tells us that giving your brain downtime is a critical element of learning and thinking creatively. Some of my best ideas came to me while sitting on a surfboard in the ocean.
8. Take an hour to simply “be” with God.
Don’t use this time to prepare or plan or strategize. Don’t use this time at all. Simply be with God and see what happens.