Ask someone how they are and half the time they will say "Good! Busy."
While we shouldn't glorify being busy, the fact is that most of us live in a fast paced, task-heavy working world. You can drown in a deluge of responsibility, or you can put systems into place like productive people do.
The key to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to approach work (or life) strategically, learn how to prioritise and delegate.
Learn to not procrastinate
We're all going to have a task land on our desk from time to time that we don't want to deal with. Though at the end of the day, it needs to get done. You can procrastinate on Facebook, or you can bite the bullet and get it out of the way.
"A productive person is not going to lose control when they get stuck with the raw end of the stick. They are going to logically think it through and make a list of the steps that need to be completed in order to get the job done," Steve Grant, Founder of Gym Hub and Health and Wellness Lecturer at ACPE told The Huffington Post Australia.
"While different people would tackle this task in their own way, for someone who is looking to boost their productivity I suggest writing out an action plan immediately rather than dwelling on the task because you are going to waste a lot of time doing nothing when you could be getting it done."
If you don't want to deal with the task that day, Grant suggests writing out an action list and then getting to the task first thing the next morning to prevent yourself from dwelling on it and having another unproductive day.
If you know you are going to have a tough morning or important meetings, Grant also suggests getting a workout done prior to going into the office to get the endorphins going.
Do tough tasks first thing
Have you heard of the term 'Eat The Frog'? Doing the worst/hardest thing on your to-do list first thing in the work day is the best way to approach difficult tasks.
"If you have a big decision to make or a task to complete that you are not looking forward to, always set these tasks to be done in the morning. If you leave them to the end of the day, odds are that you will dwell on them, which will darken your mood and potentially make you unproductive," Grant said.
Turn smaller decisions into routines
No matter how small the task, a productive person will turn their smaller decisions into routines, allowing them to conserve energy for bigger decisions.
"Even President Barack Obama has been quoted saying 'you'll see I only wear grey or blue suits. I'm trying to pare down decisions and I don't want to make decisions about what I'm eating or what I'm wearing', while Mark Zuckerberg agrees that one less frivolous decision in the morning leads to better decisions on things that really matter," Grant said.
A leader is only as good as those in their team. Learn to use that team.
"Say you have a massive list of big tasks that need to get done and then you also have a number of time consuming tasks such as building a list, creating a tile for your social media or compiling a newsletter. If these are not tasks that require your attention, then you may be better off outsourcing them to a junior in your company or to a freelancer," Grant said.
Consider what your time is worth and spend it on the bigger things rather than the smaller jobs that would be easy and cheaper for someone else to complete.
Strategise to-do lists
"You shouldn't expect yourself to remember everything you have to do as your mind should be focusing on your task at hand, so I highly suggest that you make lists, particularly if you have a lot on the go," Grant said.
Some people respond better to written lists, however Grant suggests writing a list in Word or on email as you can move things around. Your most important tasks should be at the top of the list, and the least important at the bottom.