Stop Being Busy – Start Being Productive

how to be more productive

Need To Get More Done?

How do you ensure you’re utilising your time effectively? It’s all too easy to “busy” yourself with activities which are not going to move you forward to your ultimate goals. Procrastination is well known to be the biggest enemy to achieving life changes. The “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality is tempting, at least in the short term.  Luckily there are ways to avoid procrastination and avoid time wasting. Here are my top tips:

Brain Dump

Thousands of thoughts fly around your head every day.  Some ideas and tasks more important than others.  Brain dumping is a way of recording the significant thoughts before writing a to-do list.  Think of this as your way of decluttering your brain. You need to separate the valuable information and contain it. Whether you carry around a notebook or record on an online note taking app such as Evernote or OneNote, ensure you have only ONE place in which you record,  The beauty of an app is that you can sync it to your smartphone/PC/tablet so can use these different methods to record, whereas you would need to ensure you carry the same notebook with you.  When you get into the brain dumping habit, you will be astounded at how much more relaxed and creative you feel.  No longer do you have to worry about keeping a point in your head.  You are free to let your mind do what it does best – think freely.

Have A Higher Goal List

A goal list is importantly distinct from a Things To Do List.  But it is very much worth doing.  This list focuses on the wider goals you have in your mind and also how these goals will affect your life.  Essentially this is about the outcome and why you want the outcome.  It’s worth recording these because seeing it written or typed is a way to harness the power of your subconscious to achieve your aims.  Without even consciously knowing it, you will be seeking out your goals simply because you have defined them.  Keep revisiting this list and ask yourself whether the actions you are taking on a daily basis are contributing towards these higher goals. These goals are your purpose in life and your energy should be focused on supporting them in some small way – every day.

how to be less busy

Make A Will-Do List

Changing the verb to a more intentional one is an effective way to subtly move yourself into action mode. A Will-Do list is drawn up from your brain dump list and is a more ordered, finely tuned list of the actual actions you need to take.  Note that the actions should be related to your higher goals in some way but that each higher goal could encompass hundreds of actions! The smaller the actions, the more likely you are to do them.  The drawback of traditional To-Do lists is that they may not be clear on timescales and priorities. For this reason, I am a huge fan of project management apps (such as Asana) which allow you to input an action and a due date. Then, at a glance, you can see what you need to focus on first.

Write A Daily Plan

“Organising is something you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up” A.A. Milne

Making a plan of what you wish to achieve needs to be a daily practice – a key part of productivity is organising in advance what you’re going to do before you do it.  If you don’t you’ll be unclear on your priorities and less motivated, plus open to distractions.  An example of this would be sitting down at your computer but getting distracted by social media when you should be paying an invoice.

So each evening, take five minutes to make a plan what you want to achieve for the next day.  Keep it short and focused.  If you achieve three significant actions in one day then you are doing well. When you plan which tasks you want to achieve on a given day, beware of counting a large, complex task as one entity and instead, break in down into smaller actions and list them in the order they need to be completed.


Thank you so much for reading!

A Tidy Mind
















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