Earlier this year I made a decision to shut down any conversation where I ask someone how they are and they reply with busy. Perhaps even elaborating on why that is the case before I have a chance to change the subject. Most of the time they are busy with self imposed deadlines, voluntarily doing things and not turning down requests.
It has become a badge of honour to always be talking about how busy you are and how many things you are doing at once. I don’t understand the fascination with doing more than one thing with less than 100% effort. Rather than concentrating on one task and doing it to the best of your ability.
Multi-tasking used to a corporate buzzword and moved into personal lives. Over the last few years, studies have shown that multi-tasking is not as effective as first thought. Humans simply cannot concentrate on multiple things and be effective at all of them. Don’t worry, I fell for it early in my career.
It is your priorities that determine your path to a wealthy abundant life.
I then worked for a very intelligent person. He always had a tidy desk. Maybe half a dozen or more files neatly lined up, however, only one was open at a time.
Using that system changed the way I work. The nature of my work was mostly project based so I didn’t have client case files or similar things. I used the plastic pocket system. If you are not familiar, they are two plastic sheets sealed on one side and the bottom. It’s easy to slip things in them and you can see the contents. Any type of file will do although the clear ones helped me quickly identify them. Colour coding can work too.
At the beginning of each day I would get the files out for each job and line them up on my desk. One open in front of me and that was the task I was doing at that moment. I had them all on the desk so if I had to take a phone call or otherwise refer to them, they were easy to locate. The added benefit was at the end of the day I could slide them all into one pile, put in the drawer and nothing was left on the desk.
Cleaners could do their job properly, the client work was secure and nothing would go missing. Well except for one time when my chair went missing. Someone thought the workspace was vacant and all the furniture was fair game for an upgrade.
I’m not sure where I saw it written the first time. It may have been a Stephen Covey book. I found his Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People a tough read. It didn’t resonate with me. That said, if it was him then the book was definitely not a waste.
The secret to not being busy all the time is to not manage time. Instead manage your priorities. Time is a finite resource. We have no control over how much time each have. All of us have 24 hours each day. No more, no less. So the concept of managing time is a path to failure.
It is your priorities that determine your path to a wealthy abundant life. First determine where you want to be and what is required to get there. Then you can establish your priorities. Only then you are in a position to know the time required.
It is not a badge of honour to be busy all the time. That badge should be kept for those who are effective at reaching their goals and living their lives according to their own desires. Even if those desires are to be totally free and spend the day doing nothing, if that’s what they want for the day.
Don’t let busy be your answer
- When did we decide we have to be busy all the time?
- Is busy your standard reply when asked how you are?