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Finding Time to Make a Difference

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by John Austin in Behavior change

Many of my readers and clients have told me they often feel too busy at work.

Are you feeling too busy?

Do you see this happening to others?

Do you see it as damaging or is it a good thing?

What are the impacts and what can be done about it? I will discuss some of the impacts below, but you should know…it’s not pretty. ESPECIALLY when it comes to creating a safe work environment.

What are the damaging effects of being too busy?

After analyzing 185 million hours of working time, a study found most people average just two hours and 48 minutes of productive time a day.

They also found that 40% of workers never go more than 30 min without being interrupted.

…Some clients tell me that they can’t even use their email – that I should text them instead because they get so many emails mine would be immediately lost in the flood. Email has become a useless tool.

(If you’d like to arrange a good old fashioned phone call with me to talk about the strategies you’re using to improve your safety culture, just click here.)

…We pay more attention to time when we feel like we have less of it. So when we feel busy, we are more likely to favor urgent, unimportant tasks.

…This tendency becomes stronger the busier we are.

…we revert to …cues in our environment, such as task length/deadline, to decide how to prioritize, and focus on what we can quickly cross off our list to feel more in control. (Here’s a source for some of this data.)

Kotler reported that 1 or 2 hours of intense focus can improve productivity among executives by 500%.

But how do we do this?

It’s all about the environment you create to get the behaviors you want from yourself.

It’s simple, but not easy.

But constantly prioritizing urgent tasks means that important tasks that have no urgent deadline get pushed aside for later and later. Some just never get done.

When we fail to do what’s important, often what matters most to us, we feel stressed, overwhelmed, and unmotivated — which results in us being less productive.

What strategies do you use to try to improve your use of time?

Email me or comment below…. I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

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