Are you busier than you ever have been before? The amount of information we consume and the content we produce have both climbed considerably. Much of the gain in our productivity stems from technology. The result is that we are busier, but we also feel busier due to an increase of distractions.
When you go out in public you can always see someone doing something on their phone. Each time, there is a delay in life when the phone emerges. There is a societal pressure to feel busy, and in addition to that comes stress, which gives you the feeling of being busier.
Most people seem to prefer the stimulation they receive from busyness. Their behavior and use of technology illustrates an addictive nature. Research shows that whenever these same people hear a notification, their brain gets an injection of dopamine. Dopamine plays a large role in reward-motivated behavior that is similar to what addictive drugs do. With individuals having this type of reaction, the use of technology has indeed become a serious addiction for some individuals.
The Good News and The Bad News
Email and other communication technologies are great, because they allow us real-time access to the entire world. This is good, but the last thing we need to do is to compact more into every waking moment. When people overload their time, the result is a lack of focus. Consequently, we think less and solve fewer problems. We are also less creative and get caught up in a cycle of inactivity, shifting from one task to another.
The result is a lower level of production. Ask yourself, how do you do less and remain more productive? The large industry of time management has given us many great systems. By managing time and being more organized, we can feel great about having a more productive day. Take the time to consider the bigger picture. Making urgent decisions does not lead to being more productive, but rather it leads to erratic behavior and poor decisions.
2 Ideas to Be More Productive and Less Busy
- Close down your email and mute notifications until you have tackled the toughest thing on your agenda. This is simple and easy to start. With procrastination, you are avoiding more difficult projects by finding other things to do like email, creating a list, organizing, planning, etc. You are not doing the important stuff. If you begin to do less important tasks first, your day will disappear and you will not become more productive.
- Throw out the to-do list. Yes, throw it out. Why? Because you will add more items than you can complete. You will most likely spend a longer amount of time managing the list than you will checking items off of it. I know you feel like you have achieved something when you cross off completed tasks, but all those small tasks do not equate to checking off your most important items, which may have been on hold for weeks or months.
Life does not always have to be reactive, because you always have choices. You can decide right now to slowly shift your behavior to become more productive and less busy. Reflect on what will make a real impact. Those are the things that pierce through the mold.