I was discussing writing articles with a friend and reverend called Danny. He mentioned there was an amazing pastor called Eugene Peterson and how he has written a book about people being “Too busy because we are lazy and vain.”
Spending a lot of my time speaking with people about their careers and businesses I can understand this completely.
Some of the people that I have spoken to over the years have completed more work than most people complete in a day in one or two hours and this is due to productivity and concentration. Others struggle with productivity and are permanently distracted.
One of the problems, is that people like to seem busy, to feel important about themselves.
“I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. Significant. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and heavy demands on my time are proof to myself-and to all who will notice- that I am important.” pg 18 The Unbusy Pastor, Eugene Peterson
In this modern world we want to look important, our ego loves to feel big and be in control of our actions for the great endorphin fix that we feel from it.
Pleasure in life comes in many forms and being able to always make time for helping others is much more rewarding than anything the ego can give us.
Work fills available time, we are not too busy because we are lazy
Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
So let’s not spend our time filling up our agenda with tasks that are unimportant and with tasks that we are only doing for vanities sake, let us build our agenda around tasks that are going to take us forward to our long term goals.
“I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself. I let people who do not understand the work of the pastor write the agenda for my day’s work because I am too slipshod to write it myself. The pastor is a shadow figure in these people’s minds, a marginal person vaguely connected with matters of God and good will. Anything remotely religious of somehow well-intentioned can be properly assigned to the pastor.” pg 18 The Unbusy Pastor Eugene Peterson
Sure many can resonate with this from bitter experiences, being busy at doing nothing is so easy, especially if we sit a desk and have notifications coming in from our emails and our social media channels.
Stop wasting time on social media
According to AdWeek the amount spent on Facebook alone per day is 35 minutes. Just think how much of your life is wasted on social media when actually you aren’t even being social!
I discussed time management with my business associate and co-host of Next Level Podcast and he shares a great tip for not being interrupted by Facebook, listen to the episode here
Taming and quietening our monkey mind and getting it to do what we want it to do VS the easy option of playing is not easy and takes dedication and taking responsibility for it is the beginning.
Meditation or unplugging from technology is a necessity
When you meditate, exercise or read a book you are cultivating the mind, you are thinking about things that are bothering you and you will alleviate some of your stresses.
If you want to function at 100% making sure you don’t work more than 55 hours a week is important as they have proven that anything over than this is not productive. They have also proven it can give you an irregular heartbeat.
Social media sites have been designed to retain you on the site for as long as possible, this is because they have clever self-learning algorythms that are there to introduce more of the content you want to read and watch to keep you on the site as long as possible.
We must be aware of our antisocial behavour
We as a society according to Sherry Turkle are connected but are becoming more alone, her Ted talk “Connected, but alone?” has had nearly 4 million views
We are not too busy problem and need to take action
So the main issue we have is us ourselves! It is not the “unrealistic” demands set out by our employers, our clients or ourselves.
The demotivation we feel when we look back over the day we have just been living and can’t think of anything remotely productive is a serious problem for us and if we continue along this pathway we will end up embracing the I am too busy mindset!
Multitasking is not a badge of honor
In most cases is one of stupidity as it has been proven to reduce productivity dramatically.
We are kidding ourselves by thinking that we can multitask when in fact only 2% of the population can do it effectively.
“Meyer has said that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.” American Psychological Association.
We have to shift what we are doing and then it takes us a considerable amount of time to get into the task in hand.
Juggling tasks is so bad for our concentration and that permanent state of flux is something that I wish to avoid entirely.
Switch notifications off and only check email 3 times per day
I am beginning to check emails only twice or three times a day, my social media accounts have ALL notifications switched off and except Facebook messenger. This is taking up some of my brain space right now as I know that a notification popped up, my brain is thinking about who it is and what they have said, is it important.
Anyone who receives an immediate response from me is usually doing so because my app is open and I am using some of the social media time that I have allocate myself that day!
Not because I am needy or have to respond immediately, but actually because I have the app open already and responding is pretty fast.
Thanks for reading if you have any tips for reducing distractions and increasing productivity then please add them at the bottom.