Strategies for Moving From Busy to Effective

Creative Commons: "Too Busy to Improve" by Alan O'Rourke

Creative Commons: "Too Busy to Improve" by Alan O'Rourke

I've talked about the importance of moving from Busy to Effective, but how can you get there? Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  1. Take time to examine your typical workday. Don’t do anything except observe and notice differences between being busy versus being effective.
  2. Ask yourself: How do you define busy?  How do you define effective?
  3. In a typical week, are you busy more than you are effective?  
  4. Disrupt your “normal” conversational response pattern with this experiment. Instead of greeting someone with your old patter of busyness, experiment with a new pattern.
  5. The next time someone asks, “How are you doing?” think about how you want to reply.  Tell yourself, “I choose to perceive effectiveness rather than busyness," and answer, "Great, I’m being really effective.” Observe their reaction, and yours. 
  6. For today: List how you can be more effective today without doing more. Instead of listing external tasks that need to be accomplished, list internal states of being, like feeling calm amidst hurried people, feeling satisfied at the end of the day, or enjoying the ordinary moments like driving to work or taking kids to school. 
  7. A word of caution: If you perceive effectiveness as being busy, you will believe that being effective means merely accomplishing external tasks. This is the very misperception that you must correct in order to experience more joy and meaning in your life.  It is the difference between obsessing over quantity—which is about doing more (and is the focus of most time management seminars)—and a focus on the quality of being

I'd love to hear the results of your experiments in the comments.