Achieve more when you are too busy

Taking a step back to slow down in order to achieve more can be productive in the long run, but are there times when we need to keep the momentum going?


Achieve more when you are too busy

Three times to slow down when you are busy

1. Procrastination can really put the breaks on success when we have too much to do. Instead of just keeping busy with jobs, it might be more productive to stop working and have some fun. If your ‘I don’t feel like it’ mood is holding you back, Tony Crabbe, author of Busy: How To Thrive In A World Of Too Much (Piatkus, £14.99) suggests playing upbeat tunes, grabbing some chocolate and playing with ideas, scribbling and doodling – just having fun instead of feeling serious and stressed.

‘Moods are transient,’ he says, ‘we don’t need to be held captive by them.’

2. Many of us spend at least the 9-5 chained to our chairs, beavering away, but James A Levine, author of Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You And What You Can Do About It (Palgrave Macmillan, £10.99) explains that working tirelessly at our desks is not only bad for our health, but can also stifle our creativity.

By standing and stepping away from the desk, you regain your ‘personal power’, not only improving blood-sugar levels and blood pressure, but also de-stressing, releasing creativity, allowing us making real steps towards goals.

3. How much real rest are you getting? In their book Mindful Learning: Reduce Stress And Improve Brain Performance For Effective Learning (Exisle Publishing £9.95), Dr Craig Hassed and Dr Richard Chambers note that many of us are operating on default mode, stressed out and constantly ready for action, which makes it hard to switch off and get a good night’s rest.

And it’s the quality of rest they are concerned with; better-quality sleep means we feel more refreshed from less sleep, allowing us to be more focused the following day. Speculate to accumulate and try mindfulness techniques to switch off from your day and get a good night’s sleep to achieve more tomorrow.

Three times to speed up when you are busy

1. Just as it might be a sign to slow down and take a step back when you find yourself procrastinating, it might also be a sign to speed up, depending on what’s affecting you. If it’s your need for perfection that’s holding you back, Crabbe suggests creating momentum by giving the impression that you have already started. Get your project and spend a few minutes just looking at it. Then start to organise small chunks and sections. Start the smaller jobs first, as ticking them off your list will give you the momentum to carry on. 

2. Crabbe tells us that when we are extremely busy and have too much to do, short bursts of speedy work can be useful. He calls this ‘machine-gunning’; creating an opportunity to quickly address and check off some of your to-do list. Give yourself a set amount of time at a certain point in the day to deal with distractions such as emails and phone calls, but set a time limit. This creates a deadline but also gives you a sense of urgency in order to blast through those tasks.

3. Once you have found your momentum and motivation, Robert Kelsey, author of Get Things Done: What Stops Smart People Achieving More And How You Can Change (Capstone, £10.99), urges us to make an effort not to be a couch potato. Studies at the University of Chicago found that we often feel apathetic during activities such as watching TV – a motivation killer for those goals and milestones we set ourselves.

More inspiration:

Sign up for our Life Labs Practical Wisdom online course How to Achieve Your Goals here. You can also try a free taster of the course here


See Reasons why we don't slow down and how we can on LifeLabs

Read It's time to stop the glorification of busy by Jules Mitchell on LifeLabs

Create a life you loveSubscribe for under £20

Subscribe today and save up to £26 on your first 6 issues of Psychologies!