Picture this…

My friend invited me over to her house to relax by the pool with a handful of other close friends to enjoy what was left of the summer.

I walked in, put my feet in the pool and immediately started to vent. I vented about how busy I was. How, no matter what I do, I just can’t seem to get ahead of my work.

Busy. Busy. Busy.

And then I stopped. I looked at my friend as she was handing me a drink.

My friend, who is a District Attorney, has two teenagers‚ one who just received their driver’s license, and the other just starting ninth grade. And, oh, she’s on track to became the first female judge in our county…EVER. She’s a high school basketball coach. She serves on multiple boards. She drives her kids to work, practice, the lake—you name it.

And, at that moment, she was handing me a fruity cocktail while grilling hotdogs for the group of people she invited to her house.

Talk about a reality check.

Lesson learned

Everyone is busy. And some people can handle more ‘busy’ than others.

We are all guilty of it. Using the “I’m so busy” excuse to get out of something rather than just simply saying “no.” Or, using the “I’m so busy” excuse to gain sympathy when we may have just forgotten to do something.

I’m far from perfect, but I feel like I’m at least starting to “harness my busy” now. Here’s how.

Step 1: Stop complaining about how busy you are.

This is a simple one. We are all busy. And frankly, the time you spend complaining could be better used fixing the things you are complaining about. Talk about ironic!

Step 2: Wake up earlier.

You know the saying—there are only 24 hours in a day. So, how are you spending those hours?

Are you spending them scrolling through videos of baby goats, searching motivational quotes on Pinterest or regretting the photo you posted back in 2007 while in college?

I reevaluated how I was spending my time during the day, and I was really honest with myself. I found that I was wasting a lot of valuable time on social media, and I recognized that I could be more productive in my down time.

So, I’ve been making a solid effort to wake up earlier (not a full-time member of the 5AM club yet, but I’m getting there) and getting into the office earlier. Getting daily tasks completed while the phone isn’t ringing and clients aren’t walking through the door has been a game changer. Also, I find I’m much more productive coming in earlier rather than staying late after a long day.

Step 3: Don’t get lost in the list.

There is such a thing as being too organized. And I fall victim to this more often than I’d like to admit.

I sit down ready to kick it into gear, and I start to make my list of what I need to do. And before I know it, my list is now a thesis and the day is over.

Don’t get lost in the list. Take it one step at a time. When you sit down at your desk in the morning, write down the top three priorities you need to tackle that day. Put it where you’re going to look at it all day, and make it a point to complete those tasks before getting sucked into another project.

Easier said than done, I know. We are all multitaskers in the insurance world.

The challenge

So here’s my challenge to you:

Make a conscious effort to not complain. Anytime you find yourself beginning to complain, try and think or say something positive instead.

Wake up a little earlier. Even if it’s 30 minutes. Maybe you’ll get extra work done, or maybe you’ll just not be as rushed in the morning.

I want to hear from you. Find me on LinkedIn and let me know what helps make you more productive and keeps you on top of your game!

Author Ashley Fitzsimmons

Ashley Fitzsimmons is a millennial. An insurance nerd. And a self-proclaimed expert on dirty martinis. Living in Forest City, PA and having been in the insurance industry since graduating college in 2010, she's excited to have an outlet to express her enthusiasm about the insurance world!

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