The Busyness Paradox and Becoming More Productive

Amanda Lynch Elliott

by Amanda Lynch Elliott

Amanda Lynch Elliott is a native of Pensacola and an attorney with My Pink Lawyer®. Amanda and her husband are parents of two young daughters. Amanda enjoys running, yoga and paddle boarding, and has a twin sister.

I used to play a not-so-fun little game called “How many tasks can I juggle?”


Without fail, I’d power through several weeks without dropping the proverbial “ball” on any of them, only to royally screw up something really important.


As a modern woman, wife, new mom, daughter, sister, professional, etc., I think it is embedded in our psyche that we are not being as productive as we could be if we are not multitasking.


But, guess what?


Studies have shown again and again that multitasking is really inefficient and results in more errors, and in the end – more time spent per task.


I made it a priority a few years ago to stop the glorification of busy. 


I accomplish this by identifying those tasks that make me feel productive but are actually pretty insignificant- meaning that the world keeps right on spinning if they don’t get done– and eliminating those I could, while simplifying those that I couldn’t eliminate completely.


As for the remaining “important” tasks, I block off the requisite amount of time to complete said task, and I stick to it.


Bottom line: Busy does not equal productive.


I read an article recently that was interesting:


“The hallmark of the busyness paradox is 'tunneling.'" 


As Brigid Schulte explains in the Harvard Business Review, "When we’re busy and have that high-octane, panicked feeling that time is scarce…our attention and ability to focus narrows. Behavioral researchers call this phenomenon 'tunneling.'"


We become obsessed with doing apparently critical but usually low-value tasks (Delete those emails! Empty dishwasher! Fix that button on that sweater!) to give ourselves the sense that we're accomplishing lots of important stuff! 


But then, we accidentally avoid the most important work of the day. We're in a tunnel, unable to spot what's happening around us.”


This completely explains how those big ticket items magically reappear week after week at the top of your to do list, yet never get done.



So the next time your normal response would be, “I don’t have time;” instead, try saying, “It’s not a priority.”


Does that change the way you perceive the task?


Often, it’s a perfectly adequate response. I have time to fix that button on my sweater, I just don't want to. 


But other things are harder. "I'm not going to make things easier for my family by executing an estate plan because it's not a priority." 


"I don't go to the doctor because my health is not a priority." 


If these phrases don't sit well, that's the point. 


Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice, and how we use our time is important. 


If organizing your affairs for your family is a priority for you, the attorneys and staff at My Pink Lawyer® will put our skills and expertise to work for you to create an effective estate & legacy plan for your family in the most efficient fashion. 


Schedule your no-obligation Estate & Legacy Planning meeting with us now.


We recognize that your time is a limited resource and we won’t drag out the processwith unnecessary meetings or procedures.


Our standard plans can be completed in as little as 3 weeks with only two meetings.


Amanda “Juggling Ain’t My Thing” Lynch Elliott



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