Written by: Asha Ghosh, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
In today's fast-paced world, there is a prevalent assumption that being busy equates to productivity and success.
Busyness is often seen as a badge of honour; to have a packed diary, juggling multiple projects, and rushing from meeting to meeting. Unfortunately, this mindset values busyness over productivity and disregards our overall well-being, both for ourselves and our teams.
Busyness breeds busyness in others. Busyness has almost an infectious energy that causes others to do resulting in not just you, but your teams creating unachievable never-ending to-do lists. It begs the question, are we getting the best out of ourselves and our teams when we get caught up in a hustle culture?
This article seeks to challenge a leadership blindspot;’ busyness V productivity’ and shares leadership coaching 5 tips to break the never-ending cycle of doing that depletes productivity in ourselves and our teams.
Busy V productivity
One of the common misconceptions is that being busy is equivalent to being productive. However, this is not necessarily true. Being busy merely indicates how you spend your time, while productivity relates to the outcome of the tasks you accomplish. The key to sustainable productivity lies in becoming much more conscious of workload, giving you the ability to negotiate with your diary, be honest about how long tasks will take and build in appropriate time to complete tasks efficiently. You can’t keep doing everything when everyone leaves for the day, or the kids are in bed, that is just not sustainable and leads to burnout.
Toxic nature of busyness
As a former Director and now a leadership coach, I have seen the detrimental effects of toxic productivity firsthand. The reality is in our busyness we are not being great leaders.
Inadvertently our actions and blindspots relating to doing create a culture where busyness and an ‘always-on’ mindset are valued. It results in our teams constantly pushing beyond their resources and in the process overloading themselves leading to unnecessary stress and exhaustion and decreased productivity.
As a leadership coach, I’ve discovered something as simple as getting leaders to recognise the difference between effectiveness and efficiency, productivity and busyness as well as what high performance means to them and their team is a useful exercise in helping them discover what a more sustainable approach to leadership looks like.
5 Tips to break free of the cycle of doing
1. Focus on what matters most
It is all too easy to get caught up in tasks that may feel productive but ultimately do not contribute to your larger goals. Be sure to schedule time for the work that will help you move closer towards your objectives and fit in the more mundane tasks around those more meaningful activities.
2. Empowered team makes delegation easier
While it can be tempting to do everything yourself, you are not helping your team grow or your mental well-being. However, the reality is delegation is tough, especially when your team do not have the competency to fully own the activity which leads you to have to step in. Focusing on supporting your team members to understand what accountability means to the task being delegated will allow you to step away from the activities that clog up your to-do list and make time for ‘what matters most.’
3. Take a break, recharge your energy
Learn to recognise your body's signals and respond appropriately by taking breaks when you need them…even if it is just walking away from Teams and getting a drink more regularly, you are making a conscious decision to rest for a moment. By doing so, you'll be better equipped to tackle the tasks that require your attention and energy. In a recent blog I share ideas and tips on why ‘rest is not a reward; it’s a leadership necessity.
4. Work smarter, not harder
To increase your productivity, adopt more effective work habits and techniques. It is essential to create times of intense focus where you can give your full attention to your work. Equally important is scheduling regular breaks to allow your brain to rest and recharge. Google productivity techniques there are so many methods that can help you work in short intervals with regular breaks, to stay focused and energised throughout the day.
5. Protect your time, establish work boundaries
While there may be times when you need to work outside of regular hours, it is essential to establish clear boundaries to prevent overwork and burnout. Set regular work hours and try to stick to them as much as possible to sustain leadership energy.
Shifting from a busy mindset to sustainable productivity may take some time and effort, but the benefits are worth it. By adopting these practices, you can improve your work output, increase your overall happiness, and achieve your goals more effectively and efficiently. So take the time to prioritise your tasks, take care of yourself, delegate tasks, adopt effective work habits, make time for personal interests, prioritise self-care, and establish clear boundaries around your work schedule. Your future self will thank you.
Asha Ghosh, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
My coaching programmes have already enabled senior professional women globally to unlock new levels of potential in themselves and their teams. Resulting in these professionals being able to lead, inspire and make bold decisions that not only support business objectives, but also allow leaders to find satisfaction within their home life, all underpinned by promoting a proactive approach to personal well-being.