Busy. Our modern society wears this verb/adjective like a badge of honor. We even have idioms to capture its hectic nature. “I’m busy as a bee.” “I’m so busy I don’t know if I’m coming or going.” “I’m just trying to keep my head above water.” These references imply busy is worthy of our imitation, maybe even virtuous.
Behind our quest to be busy lies an important question, what is it doing to the quality of our life and relationships? What price are we paying for the pace we are living?
The past few weeks my mother has been dealing with some serious health issues. It has forced me to change plans at the last minute, travel 3 hours one-way to attend to her needs, and focus on family relationships.
Earlier this year I posted a blog about being busy and thought it would be appropriate to edit and repost some of the solutions I offered to tame our addiction to busy. Here they are again.
- Change your conversations. Stop using phrases like “swamped,” “crazy busy,” or “underwater” to describe your schedule. They imply that you have no control.
- Expect things to go wrong. Organization has merit but interruptions will occur. Anticipate that your best plans could change.
- Stay focused. Busy is the enemy of focus. Schedule more uninterrupted planning time. Respect this time, knowing that focus is more critical than busyness.
- Build time into your schedule. Busy people like to fit one more thing into their routine or finish email before the next meeting. Add extra time to your appointments so you won’t show up later or exhausted.
- Set limits. It’s okay to cut back. Negotiate with team members and family to eliminate some of what you are doing. Delegate more effectively.
- Unplug. Turn off smartphones during meetings and lunches, check email less frequently, and stop monitoring workplace activities at home.
- Do what you can. Don’t expect too much. It is challenging to change a habit or establish a new routine. Give yourself grace.
When our lives are in relative balance it will positively impact our health, self-esteem, relationships, and work, including how we lead. If you are caught up with being too “busy,” consider this final word of wisdom.
You will never get everything done, but you can accomplish what matters most.