Is ‘Busy’ Really A Good Thing?

So many people believe that being busy is equal to being successful, but if we really think about it, is busy a good thing?

Being busy has become a social status symbol. If someone isn’t busy then it means they’re not important, or needed. But is this truly the case?

We all know that if we don’t have enough downtime this can lead to stress and burnout. If we are too ‘busy’ then this naturally means we won’t have the time out we desperately need.

Today I want to challenge  you to think about whether you really WANT to be busy.

Ask yourself whether you are spending your time doing ‘busy work’ or ‘effective work’. Do you feel ‘fulfilled and rested’ or ‘stressed and burnout’? If it’s the latter then now is your chance to make some changes to regain control and stop being so busy.

Most people will find that before they go on holiday they are their most productive at work. They somehow manage to tie up loose ends, finish everything on their to-do list and then take that time off away from the office.  This is because they; don’t procrastinate, eliminate distractions, focus on tasks that will have the most impact and work to their set timescales.

All of these principles can be applied in your everyday working life to achieve more during your working day, giving you the chance to take a break and stop being so busy!

So the next time you ask someone how they are and they reply, “busy!” you can smile to yourself knowing that you are effective, not busy.

Need help with working smarter, not harder? Click here

Schedule Your Own Development

Step 1 – Take responsibility for your development

Taking ownership of your own development is the key to success. Once you have made the decision to grow and learn you will become unstoppable.

Scheduling in time for your own development helps to keep you on track and will enable you to plan your trajectory to high performance.

During my time as a PA I would schedule 1 hour per week to work on my own development. The work I did would vary from goal setting to reading articles, but each activity I chose was because it helped me to grow in my role.

It’s easy to drop this time when you get really busy, but it’s critical you don’t.  If you’re serious about becoming high performing this is where it starts – making time to develop yourself.

Step 2 – Find some help

Once you’ve taken the decision to grow you’ll need to find some supporters; because going it alone is hard work.

A key element of my success was to work with a mentor/coach. I was fortunate that my Exec worked with a business coach who, when I approached them, offered to also provide me with coaching.

After getting the OK from my Exec, who fully supported my development, I began to meet with my coach regularly to talk through my goals, look at areas where I could really stand out and any difficulties I was facing.

Of course it’s not always easy to find someone you trust who can consistently support you in this way.  That’s why I set up The Real World PA!

If you are ready to take ownership of your development and would like to work with a coach then take a look at the coaching services available >>here<< on

Work Overload? Use Your Secret Weapon


Keeping a great to-do list is key to staying on top of your workload.

Great to-do lists are easy to maintain, thorough and fuel your productivity. They shouldn’t be viewed as another job or a tedious chore. They are your secret weapon to making sure you get things done.

Where do you start?

A very simple but big step up from pad and paper, Workflowy revolutionized the way I manage my to-do list.

Workflowy is a free online application which enables you to create lists within lists, drag and drop items, share lists, and access your lists from wherever you are (among other things).

By using Workflowy you can break your to-do list down into categories.
These might include:
  • Meetings
  • Correspondence
  • Weekly Tasks
  • Monthly Tasks

Each category then has its own sub-list:

  • Meetings
    • Marketing review
    • Paul Jones status meeting

Then each sub-list is populated with the detail:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Venue
  • Attendees

My to-do list includes everything I need to complete or progress. I review it three times a day; in the morning, afternoon and evening. Each time I cross off all the completed tasks and add any further points.

Using this method for your to-do list can also help you to realise just how much you have achieved across the day, how effective you are being and where things are going wrong if you haven’t achieved quite as much as you wanted.

Why is it so important?

Not only does keeping a thorough and up to date to-do list mean you know exactly where you are with your work, it also means you can share detailed updates with your executive. If your executive has a spare 5 minutes to catch up with you, your list can become your meeting agenda and you’ll have all the details you need at your finger tips.

So, give it a try. Use a to-do list for 1 week and see if, by the end of the week, you feel more in control.

Want a tutorial for Workflowy? Click here.

Want to find more ways to improve your efficiency at work? Click here.