Don't Be So Busy

It’s a strange phenomena you see every day: people will compete to show how busy they are. It’s like they attach a sense of significance to being busy.

How many times have you answered the question “How is work/business?” with “really busy” or “flat out” as if that were the end goal?

Isn’t the end goal to spend LESS time working? Don’t you want to spend more of your time doing things you love, like hanging out with friends & family, travelling the world or sipping long island iced teas on a beach in Fiji?

When I worked in restaurants, we did busy work when we were bored… I mean, when the restaurant was quiet. Things like folding napkins, giving the service area an extra sweep, etc.

Busy is the exact opposite of productivity.

Busy implies doing a lot of “busy work”, which doesn’t really have much value. It implies being occupied with things. Long term productivity requires bouts of intense focus, followed by periods of relaxation. It’s like High Intensity Interval Training versus walking.

If you truly have been productive, why not say it?

Take a good look at your day. Have you been busy or productive? Have you been running between meetings, multitasking by answering calls while on your lunch break, bouncing between email and twitter? Or have you done things that will take your business (whether self employed or an employee) forward?

What are you spending your time on?

Is your business better today because of the work you’ve done today? If not, what do you need to focus your time on? How can you reduce the time you spend on busy work and increase your productivity?

There seems to be an obsession with busyness.

What’s missing is the realization that down time or relaxation time is just as important as work time. You need time to recharge to get the most out of your day. We’re not machines!

Today, rather than filling your day with busyness, alternate intense, focused work with relaxation. I know this can be hard if you’re an employee in an office, but in that case, change your mindset. Talk to your boss and show them you do more towards helping the business by this alternation. Worst case scenario, alternate Productive work with Busy work. Just don’t bounce from busy work to busy work, then proudly tell your friends how busy you’ve been.

If you’ve been slack, admit it to yourself. But stop feeling like you need to be on the go continuously – it’s a recipe for burnout.

Try it next time… when your friends ask “how is work?” answer with “really productive”. It’s a small change that will make a lot of difference.

Don’t be so busy. Be productive.

1 thought on “Don't Be So Busy”

  1. That’s so true! I can’t remember the last time I didn’t hear “busy” as the answer to ‘”how’s work?”

    Great idea – i’m going to look at ‘busy’ times and see I can transform them into ‘productive’ times. And sometimes busy times were productive, but just changing the term in my mind makes me feel a lot happier with how i’ve spent my time – I know I’ve actually accomplished something and not just put in long hours at work…

    Love this post – keep ’em coming! 🙂

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