Working as an employee outside the home was my way of life for many years. I had several bouts of entrepreneurship between working for local companies. I loved the people and my position but inevitably longed to do my own thing permanently. One of the things I hated most about working the old 9 to 5 was those moments when I was caught up and didn’t have much to do. Felt like such a waste. Now, I’ve learned several productivity tips to avoid just looking busy at work.
I fulfilled my dream of working for myself and now have a whole new set of rules from the Boss. ME, by the way. If I’m not finishing tasks and being productive, I only have myself to blame and hold accountable. I can not waste time with busyness. And neither can you.
5 Productivity tips to avoid just looking busy at work
1.Keep a running to do list of every task that needs to get done
My preference is paper but there are several apps that have a running list function. Write down every item you can think of and keep it in one place. This is officially called a brain dump. Most Lady Bosses do a complete brain dump quarterly for the purpose of goal setting but the same technique can be used for daily plans too.
Get those random tasks out of your big ol’ brain and onto paper.
The trick to staying productive is to fill the white space in your day with extra items you have on the master list (don’t go crazy and book every minute now). Leave some breathing room obviously but running a business that blogs requires a plan. Your to do list is that plan.
2.Stop being a perfectionist
Whoa Nelly…um, that’s hard. I know. Striving for the ever elusive perfect [insert random project here] will bring about burnout, not productivity. This is one of the hardest habits and traits that I fight to break everyday. I love perfect. Neatly aligned, practically organized, black and white little world…but…you know what’s coming right?
Perfectionism does not lend itself to productivity. It keeps you stuck in the moment afraid to implement. It keeps you looking busy. So do your best at every task and know when each project is perfectly acceptable (not perfect) for your clients.
3.Automate your systems
One of my favorite productivity tips to avoid just looking busy is to automate my business systems. Sure I could do everything manually and fill my time unnecessarily but why would I? Automation helps you actually accomplish your to-do list tasks because they are done for you each day.
Spend a little extra time setting up your automated systems and then periodically check to see if they are still working at optimal levels. If all is well, great. Problems? Then update the process and get back to work.
Here are several ways to automate your biz promotions:
- Hootsuite will automatically send out your posts on social media
- Siteground hosting will backup your blog so you don’t have to
- MeetEdgar will recycle old blog posts and recirculate them online
- Mailchimp will email clients a welcome packet when they work with me…I have to actually mail the coffee giftcard!
Automating your systems will free up several hours each week that can be spent working on income producing tasks. You will not create income looking busy at work. You have to actually finish projects (like that sales page you’ve been putting off).
4.Learn to do it the first time
Part of being a boss is trying new things. You’re not going to have a $10K launch if you don’t learn the basics of Facebook advertising, for example. Instead of just being busy skimming the course materials you just paid $500 for…how about you actually read every word the first time and immediately apply the lesson?
We’ve all bought a course that we “had to have” in the moment to grow our business that blogs and then excitedly flipped through all ten chapters for the gist. Then what happened? We put the course in the cabinet for later “when we need it” and there it sat.
The problem is that once we’ve grown our biz to the point of needing the course, we have to waste time reading it again and completing the worksheets. It’s great to know productivity tips to avoid just looking busy or else we end up being busier with repetitive tasks.
I’ve done this before. Paid twice for the same book because I forgot I already had it. If I had learned the contents right then, I wouldn’t have wasted time.
One of the best productivity tips to avoid just looking busy, particularly when you work outside the home, is to work less. Henry Ford (love this guy) proved that working less causes increased productivity. Employees can get so frustrated with their long hours that they end up filling their time with busyness instead of legit work.
This can happen working in our #LittlePinkOffice too. Working long hours tends to make us a bit stir crazy so we end up goofing off aka Facebook scrolling for hours. Hubby passes by and sees me hard core staring at the screen and reminds himself to buy flowers for his overworked wife…what?…sorry dozed off and dreaming for a minute.
What really happened is that instead of completing the day’s Top 3, I’m wasting time. My body and brain needed a break and they took it. Only work as long as is necessary to complete your Top 3 that day. No awards for most worked woman. PRO TIP: If you work outside the home still, talk to your supervisor about flex hours. Explain the benefits to you and your company.
No need to be SuperWoman; take a break if you need it.
Don’t fall into the trap of looking busy at work just to avoid doing the work (or getting fired). There are so many productivity tips to avoid just looking busy that you’re bound to find something that works for you. Try each of the tips above for one week and see what makes the most sense for you. What is one tip you can implement today? How will it affect your business that blogs? Tell me in the comments.
*special thanks for the photos @rekitanicole
Your blog biz best friend, Cee Lee
PS: Productivity is paramount to the success of your biz; start your day off right by prepping the night before.