Is Busywork Killing Your Business?
How often have you gotten to the end of your day and thought, "I have no idea what I accomplished today. I worked hard all day, but have little to show for it?" We've all done it, me included. That's the power of busywork. You work all day, and nothing significant moves. If you let it, busywork can creep in and, over time, destroy your business. At the very least, it's a barrier to the success you are working to achieve.Busywork can kill your motivation. It keeps you from focusing on what's important, and feeling a sense of accomplishment when you complete a task or project that affects your main goals. That drains your energy, and prevents you from doing the work that matters.Busywork can kill your momentum. Not all of the energy you need to complete your work comes from inside of you. When you are on a roll, and get things done that are vital to the work you value, momentum builds. That gives you an additional source ofenergy. When your time is occupied with tasks that don't materially affect your most important projects, your momentum slows to a crawl.Busywork can kill your growth. When you do busywork, it's almost always something that's easy for you to do. It's like eating candy. You get a momentary rush of completion, but it's not satisfying. And it makes you crave more. Real work, work that moves you towards your goals, is more like protein. It's nourishing, and it serves you much better in the long run. Real work involves learning, and opportunities to grow.To keep your business alive and thriving, you need to banish busywork and develop a habit of working on what's most valuable to your business. Let's look at three turnarounds you can implement right away to turn busywork into meaningful work.The issue:One thing that can feed the habit of busywork is multi-tasking. Women are especially prone to this. We tend to try to take care of everything and everybody. It can't be done. And ultimately, you and your business end up suffering for it.Of course, this can apply to men too, and it's something for us all to be aware of. If you want to build a successful business, you can't be everything to everybody.You do need to be laser focused on your most important and valuable projects. That frees up all kinds of time.The turnaround:First, define those valuable projects, ones that materially affect the health and future of your business. Write them down. Examples are, create a website, or develop a campaign to promote your new offering. They will change with time, and it's a great idea to revisit them at least once a week, to decide whether they're still valuable.Second, review this list of valuable projects every day. Put the list where you'll be sure to see it. Decide what your day will consist of, based on those priorities.Third, follow through. Stick to your priority list, no matter what else comes up, unless it's a true emergency. It's easy to get derailed, so find ways to stay on track.The issue:Allowing ourselves and our time to be driven by outside forces is a great way to drown in busywork. You get an email, or a phone call. You get distracted by responding to 'just this one thing' before you move on to your priorities, and 2 hours pass.The turnaround:What's missing is intentional decision-making. Look at every request for your time and attention through the lens of your valuable projects. Will this advance those projects? If it won't, decide if it needs to be done at all. If it will, is this the best time to address it? If the answer is no, then schedule a time, or delegate it, so that you know that action will be taken.The issue:It's a challenge to stay accountable to your goals, especially if they bring up fear or anxiety. You might be doing something new, or challenging. That's not easy!The turnaround:Get support to stay on track. Accountability is a valuable way to keep yourself focused. Partner with someone, a friend or colleague, or hire a coach to hold you accountable for what you have defined as important. That support to focus on your valuable projects will increase your productivity immensely.You have valuable work to contribute. Don't let the distraction of busywork draw you away from what you know is most important. Banish the busywork, and create the successful business you deserve.
Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals. Start with a free guide and other valuable info at www.WorkAlchemy.com
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