Bueller…? Bueller….? Bueller…? You’ve probably heard the legend of the great Mr. Ferris Bueller and his infamous busy day! He had a jam packed schedule of dining-and-dashing, admiring priceless works of art, crashing a parade, and even taking a dip in his neighbour’s pool.
…But was he really busy or trapped in avoidance? The real reason he did all those things was to avoid going to school. Classic case of being trapped in avoidance!
We’ve all been a “Ferris Bueller” procrastinator at some point in our lives. I want to help you recognise your reasons for feeling busy, because that may hold the key to creating the focus you need to move your life and business forward in powerful ways.
Why are you really busy?
Everyone says they’re busy. To improve your focus and productivity, we need to see exactly what you’re doing that keeps you so busy. Get a pen and paper (or coloured sticky notes, or a tablet, or the back of your arm if you prefer) and write down everything that’s on your to-do list each day for the next week.
Look at each item on your list. Why did you write it down? Is it because it’s a necessity (like paying bills on time, taking your kids to school, picking up groceries…etc), or because you’re trying to make yourself busy so you don’t have time for something else on the list?
Now, highlight these tasks you don’t want to do — tasks that you’d much rather sing Twist and Shout at the top of your lungs from a float in the community parade, than actually do!
For each of these tasks, make an action plan to get them done and be accountable to complete them. Do you need someone to give you a swift kick in the butt (figuratively I hope)? Will educating yourself on the subject make you feel more confident? Maybe you need to find a way to block out the world (aka Facebook) so you can hunker down and get ‘er done. Others beat this procrastination by promising themselves a reward when it’s completed (manicure anyone?).
How to make a productive task list
Before adding a task or project to your list, make sure it’s not an avoidance task. Did you add this item because because it’s critical (perhaps from a third party dependency)? Or is it something you’re doing to avoid doing the other tasks?
Take your list and prioritize. If you need, boost your confidence by adding 1 or 2 quick wins (or easy/quick tasks) between larger/scarier tasks you’re trying to avoid. A quick boost of confidence can help give you the strength and motivation to move on to the difficult tasks.