Most advice in the workplace right now is pointing towards minimalism – cut down your obligations, simplify your systems, don’t say yes to new projects, take time off and basically do less!
This may reduce the number of events, to-dos and overwhelming emails exchanges, however, it leaves staff doing repetitive tasks over and over with no variety, completing deadlines on time and having a relatively safe and boring business.
Sounds great on paper – very stable and secure – but what about the people? Do your staff thrive on regularity, unchallenging work and simple well-spaced deadlines? Or do they thrive on the challenge of something new, excitement of an approaching deadline or fresh lease of life something done different can add?
Being busy is not a terrible thing if it’s full of the right elements. If you are busy doing menial tasks that don’t head in the direction you’re looking for long term, it’s time to follow the minimalism advice and change what you are filling up your day-to-day life with.
How can you tell if you are busy for the sake of being busy or it’s a productive part of your life? There is a big difference between bogged down in task after task or spending your time creating.
The difference is the way you are functioning. If you are relieved and less stressed every time you tick off a to-do and more stressed every time another one is added, this is a sign of busyness. If you are constantly looking the future and aware of what will need to happen next and looking at how that might be possible you’re adding more to your life in a creative way.
Being busy is not terrible, if it’s part of the way you like to live. I happen to work with some of the busiest people in the world working in multiple time zones and locations and we love it – it suits us.
We have a few games up our sleeve and contrary points of view that allow greater levels of productivity and creation, all while still having fun surprisingly enough.
One tactic that is often used is to treat overwhelm like a game, rather than treating it as significant which puts lots of energy on the negativity of the situation. Use this as a challenge to expand your capacity of how much you are able to deal with creatively. This particular team often asks themselves: What would it take for this amount of work to be easy?
Asking yourself questions allows you to create a different perspective. Instead of searching for an answer, leaving the question open-ended allows for more unfettered awareness and ideas to flourish. Be willing to not have an answer for the time being. Keep asking yourself questions, get to work and let the possibilities unfold.
Another question I personally love is asking “What else could I add today?” This may seem crazy but I find that adding fresh energy when I’m stuck on a project, feeling unmotivated or overwhelmed gets me going again. It’s energetic espresso!
When you inject a fresh energy into any area of your life or career it spills over into everything else. Using the generation of a new project, idea no matter how big or small, gives you a fresh outlook to get creative and kick goals.
Ultimately, you have to look at and choose what works for you. Do you need a more creative approach by adding more and using fresh energy to get you going? Or does cutting down and using strict deadlines make you and your staff more productive? Only you can answer this question and then use that to your advantage.
Rebecca Hulse, Author, Speaker and Joy of Business Certified Facilitator