You’re not as busy as you may think you are. If you spend time doing any of the following five things, you may be wasting more time than you’re saving.
Solving a bunch of problems.
Moving from one issue to the next isn’t making the most of your time. You don’t always need to be involved in drama or put out fires when a situation doesn’t really have to do with you. To decide whether or not this is something to turn your attention to, ask yourself, “What are the main causes of the issue? Are they really urgent? Do they need my attention? Are they actually my problem at all?”
Trying to be perfect.
Staying organized isn’t about maintaining perfectionism. When you stop trying to be perfect, you can leave a project alone and move on to the next one. Sometimes, things just have to be completed, not perfect. With lower value items, “good enough” is completely fine. Thanks to post-automation, social media analytics, and tools like the People Meter, you can automate a lot of your work, too.
Feeling guilty about procrastinating.
Spending half an hour on Twitter isn’t necessarily a waste of time; sometimes, it’s just the break you need to get your mind fresh and get back on track. Or, “playing” on social media may be clueing you into audience needs. Unless you’re on Twitter because you’re procrastinating by watching cat videos, don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes, guilt can make you procrastinate even more.
Being neater than necessary.
If you don’t mind working in a messy office, don’t bother cleaning it up. If having a buildup of e-mails doesn’t bug you, then don’t try to clear out your inbox. Only change these things if they’re distracting you or if they limit your efficiency. Otherwise, don’t force yourself to be neat if it’s not really in your nature.
Trying to do everything alone.
When you’re dealing with an unfamiliar project, it’s tempting to try to figure everything out on your own. You can waste a lot of time doing this, though, especially if there are other people who can help you. Reaching out for help still means you’ll learn something new, just that you’ll get there faster.
Being productive doesn’t mean doing anything and everything on your “To Do” list. It means prioritizing your projects and figuring out the quickest, most effective way to complete them.