Are You Really That Busy?

Underpaid and overworked. That’s the mantra of a majority of the workforce these days—and it’s perhaps even more prevalent in the public sector.

It’s almost a competition at the water cooler to point out how much work one person has compared to everyone else.

Yes, some people are that busy—but not everyone is. The other batch of people who claim they’re “so busy” really just suffer from poor time management.

The 80-20 Rule of Time Management suggests that 20% of your time (or effort) creates 80% of your results (or productivity). So, in a typical eight-hour workday, only two of those hours would have the most impact on what you really need to get accomplished.

What are people doing in the other six hours? Wasting time on other people’s “urgent” tasks, catching up on irrelevant emails, getting distracted by other duties that aren’t as important, etc.

If this sounds like you, here are three ways to make sure every minute counts:

  1. Prioritize.
    I cannot stress this enough. What task has the earliest deadline? Focus on that one first. Don’t look at your “to-do” list as a whole—that can be too overwhelming. Instead, determine which task needs to be done first, shift all of your energy towards it until it’s complete, and then tackle the next task that needs to be accomplished.
  1. Ask For and Accept Help.
    The last time I checked, none of us have a cape on our back and an “S” on our chest. Stop thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness. If you’re bogged down with work and you keep taking on more tasks without voicing your workload concern, it’s just a sign that you’re not good at knowing your own capabilities. You will look much worse if you don’t complete a project because you decided to never speak up.
  1. Stop Complaining and “Git ‘er Done.”
    People underestimate the amount of time wasted simply by complaining about their workload. Getting out your frustrations to a close coworker is reasonable, but don’t make every, “How are you doing” an open invitation to unleash why you’ll be working late for the next few days. Suck it up and start tackling what you need to do. Besides, the earlier you start, the earlier you’ll finish.

Next time you say that you’re too busy, make sure it’s not a result of poor time management. Once you figure that out, make the appropriate adjustments because working more than 40 hours a week has become the norm for a majority of the workforce, and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon.

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources

4 responses

  1. Just the kick in the pants I needed today. Thank you for helping me regain the proper perspective on my priorities!

  2. You are so correct. Time management is the key. Too often management wants to send the employee who is not busy to time management classes. That is not the employee who needs it but the one who is on the verge of being overwhelmed really needs it. We also assume that everyone knows how to manage their time and to prioritize their work. Not necessarily so!

    1. Exactly, Charles! Your input is spot on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: