Morning, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Today, I want to talk about why you really need to stop using the word busy so much. I have been guilty of telling others just how busy I am when asked how I am doing. As I have been reflecting on my journey to be more mindful, this has been something that I have been thinking about. What does busy really mean? Being a working mommy, one of my goals is to be as productive as possible in a day. There are many differences between being busy and productive. Often being busy does not mean productive.
There are some key differences that set productive people apart from busy people.
Productive People Focus on Goals
There are so many things that need to get done in a day. Oftentimes, busy people are in a constant whirlwind to cross things off their list. However, productive people set goals for themselves that are outside of their typical home and work routine. If you do not set specific goals, you will just be caught in a vicious cycle to get through life. Productive people have a goal-setting system in place and do at least one small task daily to ensure they are working toward reaching that goal.
I personally use my Erin Condren planner to write in 2-3 goals that I plan to accomplish for a day. In the past, I have used an electronic calendar to plan out my day. However, I switched to the paper version because I find that writing things down somehow holds me more accountable. Plus, it is always nice to be able to cross something off the list!
Productive People Take Breaks
I have wrote about my struggles with balance and it is no surprise that I have difficulties when it comes to unplugging. For the longest time, I felt like I had to have my phone by my side during every waking hour of the day. The minute I heard my phone ping, I would check email and many times would even respond after hours. It got to the point where I felt like I was on a hamster wheel and was constantly trying to keep up with all of the demands that were being thrown at me. The same would hold true when I was on PTO. I was constantly checking my email and felt like I was always “on the clock”.
A year or two ago, I listened to a podcast in which Laura Vanderkam was being interviewed. Her message was a wakeup call for me. In the podcast, she talked about having set hours each day in which you officially unplug. For me, the evening hours between 5:00 and 8:00 were my biggest struggle. I knew I needed to spend time with my family, but I did not want to get behind in work. One of the suggestions she had was to put your phone in a drawer or even leave it in the car. I was not sure if I would be able to commit to this practice, but I knew I needed to give it a try.
My Challenge to Disconnect
I started by turning my phone completely off around 5:00 and sticking my phone in my desk drawer. I typically work from home, so that presents another struggle which I will write about at some point. This simple practice was life-changing! I was focused on what was really important and was not tempted to go check my email. I have since graduated and now I just have my alerts turned off after hours. This way, my phone does not buzz each time I get an email. This sounds like a very simple practice, but it is one of the most effective ways I have found to stay committed to being mindful and engaged with my family.
I am sharing this story with you because many would think that taking breaks throughout the day or shutting off for specific periods of time would make you less productive. The truth is, I am even more productive now than I have ever been. I give my brain time to rest, but most importantly I am spending time each day on something that provides me a great amount of happiness and gratitude. To me, happiness is the secret sauce for successful people
Productive People Say No
Busy people are constantly agreeing to commit to everything that is thrown at them. They feel that if they turn something down it might make them seem as if they do not have it all together. Productive people prioritize the activities that are most important to them and then professionally decline other activities. I have always practiced by the belief that quality is more important than quantity. That is exactly how productive people think.
Busy people typically allow others to dictate their schedules and successful people take control and dictate their own schedules. Successful people definitely still have a full calendar, but they prioritize where their focus needs to be. Many productive people hold their morning rituals and personal development time as high priority. After all, getting exercise in and personal growth are two big foundations for success.
Okay, some of you may be thinking that I am out of my mind right now! Every day there are things that I want to say no to, such as making school lunches, that is not going to fly in Mommy World. There are also many days of the week in which I push snooze one too many times and am forced to skip my morning workout. We are all human!
If you are mindful of your goals in life and try to focus on those as much as possible you will be successful. You do not have to read a professional development book each week like Warren Buffett or get four hours of exercise in like Richard Branson. In order to truly be productive, you need to develop a system that works for you and allows you to work toward your long-term goals. If you can accomplish that, keep the family functioning and maintain a successful career, you are golden in my book!
Keep living your best life!