What to do when you have too much to do

Rush, rush, rush. Busy, busy, busy. But being busy isn’t the point. Moving towards your goals and living your values is the point. And how do you attain that sought-after but often elusive state of affairs?

First, you need to know what you value most. Straight away, that tells you what activities to tackle–those that are in line with your values, and what activities to drop–those that don’t mesh with your values.

Then you need to know your goals. You know what your work goals are (and if you don’t–better get reading Chapter 11!). But what do you want to achieve in other areas of your life? For instance, as a parent, partner, friend and community member? What do you aspire to regarding your mental and physical health? Concentrating your efforts on only one or two areas of your life makes you lop-sided while being a well-rounded person helps you achieve more in each area of your life.

Once you know what you value most and what you want to achieve in various areas of your life, you’re in a position to concentrate on matters that move you closer to your goals. You can resist taking on a task simply because ‘it’s there’; you can resist doing something purely out of habit; you can resist taking on a task just because someone asks you to do it. You can resist because you can recognise activities that don’t add any value, that don’t move you any closer to your goals.

Then you can try to work on at least one value-adding activity in each facet of your life every day. When demands on your time crop up, you can evaluate them based on your values and goals and choose to do those that move you one step closer to a goal. You can delegate other matters or put them on your calendar to do when it suits you best. You’re in charge.

Break down value-adding activities into smaller, more do-able chunks when you need to. You may not become the perfect parent or an admired manager overnight, but you can do something that moves you towards those goals every day. With consistency comes progress.

That’s how to keep on the move and keep moving in the right direction. That’s how not to be busy, busy, busy but meandering through life with no real purpose.