Why Being Busy Doesn’t Equal Being Productive

Why Being Busy Doesn’t Equal Being Productive
SHARE
THIS



Michelle Gibbings (pictured below) is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian. She is the author of Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work and Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career. In this guest post, Gibbings argues that just because you’re busy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting that much done…

Despite results from the 2016 census highlighting that the length of the working week for most Australians hasn’t increased since 2011, many workers feel pressed for time and in a constant state of ‘busy-ness’. For some, they simply can’t find enough time in the day to get everything done that is demanding attention.  With ‘busy’ being the new catch-cry, it can be hard to slow down, reflect and on occasions stop. People worry that if they do they may miss something, or worse get left behind.

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 12.09.11 pm

Set your focus

When you are constantly ‘on’ and rushing you can easily miss what is happening around you.  Your brain gets so focused on the task at hand it ignores other ideas or inputs that should be factored in.

You become blinkered to alternative perspectives. Rushing is easy.  Anyone can look busy.  Finding time to think and reflect is much harder.  It’s far harder to not look busy, in a world that rewards busy-ness. It becomes important to consciously consider what you are doing and whether you need to go slow or fast.

Deliberately set the speed

There’s times when you need to operate with speed, and times when you need to cruise. Cruising is not about kicking back and doing nothing, but rather considering how you deliberately construct your day so you have time for reflection, to think and ponder, to wonder and daydream. It is in this space that ideas will arise, problems will be solved and new perspectives will be gathered. Issues that were challenging, will no longer appear so hard; while problems that looked perplexing will get resolved.

Sleep is your friend

The health risks associated with a lack of sleep and being a night owl have long been documented – including higher rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease.  Now, Professors Kristen Knutson and Malcolm Von Schantz’s have found that night owls have a higher risk of early death. As well, when your brain isn’t rested it doesn’t function at optimal capacity.  The pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that’s involved in thinking, analysing and reasoning gets tired easily. Consequently, the brain has found a way of conserving energy – it takes short-cuts. A mental short-cut is known as a heuristic.  Your brain uses heuristics to make big things and complex issues easier to manage, and ultimately remember.

As the brain takes in new information it tries to make sense of it, so that it knows what it needs to do.  To ease the cognitive load this processing takes, it compresses information and sorts it into patterns.  It looks for things that it’s seen or experienced before and says – ‘I now know what to do’.

Of course, the brain’s short cutting process isn’t always reliable, and gives rise to bias in decision making.  For example, the brain may expect to see something in a certain way, and so it will seek out information to validate that view.  It filters out information that doesn’t fit with its view of the way things should be. All of this is much more likely when you are rushed, stressed and tired.

Build new habits

Being able to slow down is a habit, just like setting up a regular exercise routine, meditation practice or reading every night before you go to sleep. Academic researchers, Bas Verplanken (University of Bath) and Wendy Wood (Duke University), found that more than 40 per cent of the actions people performed each day weren’t decisions, but habits. This means there is an incredible amount of behaviour that is automatic and carried out almost unconsciously.

If you want to replace the ‘busy’ habit with a more ‘reflective’ habit, ask yourself:

  • Do you have any allocated time for reflection and creative thought? If so, is this enough or do you need more time?
  • How much of your day is spent productively and focused?
  • What could you stop doing or do less of to create some cruising time in your day?
  • What are the benefits of having some allocated cruising time for you and those around you?

Please login with linkedin to comment

being productive Michelle Gibbings productivity

Latest News

Tis’ The Season To Turn Shoppers Into Buyers
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Tis’ The Season To Turn Shoppers Into Buyers

Hayley Fisher [pictured] is the AUNZ Country Manager at Adyen. In this op-ed, she discusses the upcoming holidays sales season and explains marketers can help drive sales. Over the 18-months the pace of ecommerce has accelerated to new heights. According to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a record $44.2 billion was […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Vodafone Australia To Pitch Creative
  • Advertising

Vodafone Australia To Pitch Creative

TPG Telecom has announced it will hold a creative pitch to further develop the Vodafone brand here in Australia. Last year’s merger between Vodafone and TPG brought together a family of brands under the TPG Telecom group, with the creative shift to position Vodafone for the future. While Vodafone’s long-standing relationship with WPP will continue, […]

IBM CMO Jodie Sangster Departs
  • Media
  • Technology

IBM CMO Jodie Sangster Departs

IBM CMO Jodie Sangster announces departure. Has promised not to do a podcast, take up painting or open a yoga retreat.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Westfield Launches Home Delivery Service
  • Marketing

Westfield Launches Home Delivery Service

Following 18 months of intermittent lockdowns across Australia, shopping centre giant Westfield is launching a new service that will tap into the ecommerce boom. The new service, named Westfield Direct, will take on the likes of Australia Post by providing shipping directly to customers. Shoppers will also be able to select items from an online […]

SBS Named By AFR As One Of Australia’s Most Innovative Companies For Digital Language Services
  • Media

SBS Named By AFR As One Of Australia’s Most Innovative Companies For Digital Language Services

SBS has been recognised as one of Australia and New Zealand’s Most Innovative Companies, in the prestigious annual list published by the Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine, from over 700 nominated organisations.  Ranked third on the Media and Marketing list, SBS was the only media company to make the list, recognised for its growing and evolving multilingual digital services, exemplifying SBS’s innovative culture and strategy.  SBS provides multiplatform services in more than […]

İstanbul, Turkey - February 10, 2019: Woman using smart phone on a couch. The smart phone is an iPhone 8 displaying Twitter application.  iPhone is a touchscreen smartphone developed by Apple Inc.
  • Technology

Twitter Plays With In-Conversation Ads

Twitter has confirmed it is experimenting with a new ad format which will see ads placed within conversation threads for the first time. The company’s Revenue Product Lead Bruce Falck made the announcement on Thursday. “Starting today, we’re trying something different and testing a new ad format in Tweet conversations,” he posted on Twitter. “If […]

ABC Relaunches Aussie Music Show The Sound For Season Three
  • Media

ABC Relaunches Aussie Music Show The Sound For Season Three

In exciting news today, Mushroom Group is thrilled to announce much lauded Aussie music program The Sound will return to the ABC this November! Celebrating some of our best musical talents since its launch in 2020, The Sound Season 3 will debut on Sunday 7 November at 5.30pm (local time). Viewers can watch The Sound on ABC TV each Sunday afternoon or catch up with the latest episodes via ABC iview. Across Season […]

AKQA Crowned Most Innovative Media And Marketing Company By AFR
  • Marketing
  • Media

AKQA Crowned Most Innovative Media And Marketing Company By AFR

Strategic design and innovation company AKQA has received the top industry ranking in the 2021 AFR Boss Most Innovative Companies List.  This is the third consecutive year the company has been acknowledged by the AFR for its commitment to innovation in the media and marketing category.   The Most Innovative Companies Awards were presented via a […]

Hedley Thomas Launches Investigative Podcast Shandee’s Story Via The Australian
  • Media

Hedley Thomas Launches Investigative Podcast Shandee’s Story Via The Australian

National news brand, The Australian, has launched a new podcast from Hedley Thomas, Shandee’s Story. Shandee’s Story is the culmination of six months’ work by Thomas, the award-winning investigative journalist behind The Teacher’s Pet and The Night Driver podcasts. The podcast investigates a harrowing cold case. Shandee Blackburn was left to die after a frenzied knife attack as she walked […]

Greater Bank Claims Silver At Step Two Intranet & Digital Workplace Awards
  • Technology

Greater Bank Claims Silver At Step Two Intranet & Digital Workplace Awards

Greater Bank has won a Silver Award at the 2021 Step Two Intranet & Digital Workplace Awards with its Intranet Built on the Elcom Digital Employee Experience Platform. The global awards recognise outstanding contributions to the fields of intranets and digital workplaces, honouring remarkable solutions that deliver business value to their organisations and then share […]

White ladders leaning on to content written bull's eye target on blue wall. Horizontal composition with copy space. Content concept.
  • Marketing
  • Media

New Research Identifies ‘Commerce Content’ As Key Revenue Driver For Brands And Publishers

Two new research reports have revealed key drivers for ‘commerce content’ and the massive revenue opportunity it presents for digital publishers and brands. Published by independent media organisations, commerce content allows readers to understand the goods and services promoted by an editorial team. It’s now a major part of the partnership ecosystem, and a way […]