I haven’t posted a blog in a few weeks now. And the reason why: I was busy! Yet I can scarcely tell you exactly what I was busy doing and that is the problem. I was so busy being busy that I wasn’t productive. That could be fine but like most of you, I have numerous things that I need to do and being “busy” does not get them done. So here are the three things I am implementing today to graduate from being busy to being productive.

1. Schedule everything. The fairest thing about life is we are each given the same amount of hours a day. The magic comes in the ways we make those hours count. Oftentimes we forget to put in our daily schedule the things that take up our time. That results in frustration at the end of the day or week when the things we enjoy or the things we purpose in our minds to accomplish  don’t get done. I challenge you to take one week and schedule each and everything that you plan to do. Then schedule all the things that you have to do. The first thing you may notice is that you expect to complete more things than you have the time to finish. Adjust your expectations to meet your reality. Now you won’t feel like you’ve failed at completing your weekly goals and tasks because you’ve scheduled them purposefully.

2. Communicate your needs. Your schedule needs to be a priority and those around you-family, friends, significant others-have a way of throwing a monkey wrench in your plans. One day it’s a forgotten parent meeting or being signed up to make three dozen cupcakes for tomorrow. Or the dinner meeting with the potential client that you’re the plus one for in that “I thought I told you about it” moment. Monkey wrenches! You need your schedule to work for you, so you must communicate with those close to you the ways they can help. You may need a family calendar or a copy of your schedule displayed. Do whatever it takes to make them understand the importance of your scheduled work and activity time. They will reject it at first, but keep pushing for it.

3. Create office hours. You have to allot time to accomplish your goals that are not easily movable. Just like you set time aside time for work, set time aside to work on your goals, self-care needs, and personal desires. Give those hours the same respect you give your 9-5. When someone wants your time, you automatically do not give them access to your job’s time. You need to do the same thing for yourself. Set aside specific office hours daily or weekly and only put them aside after due diligence. If you are an entrepreneur or have another income stream you are working on, office hours are imperative to your success. You don’t have to get all Big Red from The Five Heartbeats on them but make your office hours known and respected.

The art of being busy is that it’s not an art at all. It’s just a harried routine we find ourselves in day after day and week after week like the Mad Hatter. Break the busyness schedule and implement the productive schedule with me. I will let you know how I did next time. Let me know what you think about my strategies and please share some of your own. Here’s to a productive week!