I recently had a lawyer proudly tell me they were so busy that the previous night he had to stay up until 2am working on a case and that it was a regular occurrence. He was wearing his “busyness” as a badge of honour, something to be proud of. Wow, I wonder how his family feel about that?
Another common comment is “we’re too busy to procrastinate!” Seriously? Being too busy is often the main cause of procrastination! What are you busy doing? Or more importantly, what are you not doing because you’re so busy? Dealing with the day to day “bushfires” may mean you’re not taking the time to plan for the future. Have you mapped out a path to take you where you want to be in five years? Do you even know where you want to be in five years?
Being busy is definitely not something to aspire to as far as I’m concerned. I’m not alone with that point of view. Best selling author Tim Ferris has this to say about it; “Being busy is a form of laziness-lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is as unproductive as doing nothing. Being selective-doing less-is the path of the productive.” (The Four Hour Work Week pg 75)
People tend to avoid something they perceive as being too hard. They let themselves get consumed with things that are not as high priority, yet they are comfortable doing. We feel safe with the familiar.
What happens as a consequence? Relationships suffer, staff leave, progress stagnates, stress and frustration become more prevalent. People will blame all manner of things, but in the end, the real reason was the avoidance of the action that would have prevented the negative outcome in the first place. Of course, everything else under the sun will get blamed instead.
It’s time to take stock of what you’re doing, ask yourself it’s relevance in the greater scheme of things. If it’s aligned with your purpose and greater goals, good. If it’s just a distraction from the most important action you should be taking, time to reevaluate why you’re doing it. Accomplishments that have genuine meaning and purpose for you are your real badges of honour.