Lose the busy competition

by Peter Crocker

Meetings, deadlines, multi-tasking, smart phones, caffeine and chaos: it seems business is all about busyness. Ask people how they are and you’ll often get “Mate! Busy!”

But why is busyness considered a virtue? Surely running around like a headless chook is a sign of failure? At the very least it’s a symptom of bad time management, a lack of discipline or poor planning.

Extreme busyness is rife in the corporate world, but even worse for the self-employed. It goes without saying that if you run your own business, you’ll spend your life madly juggling 85 balls just managing to keep them in the air.

Plus, it seems the higher you go in your career or the bigger your business gets, the more tasks and responsibilities are heaped on your plate.

Busyness seems to be worn as a badge of honour for many. So is it a sign of success?

I have a client who is a classic case. He’s highly intelligent, educated and talented, but works 75 hours a week and lives a chaotic life. Surely if anyone can work out how to take control of their life, someone like that can!

I’m as bad as the next person at getting caught in the busy competition. But is it really how I want to spend my life?

It’s about control. If we’re flat out doing things we choose to do then great. But when we’re at the mercy of other people’s priorities and whims that’s a problem.

Why is it that we never check the to-do list on a Friday morning and think “That’s enough from me this week, I’m off up the coast!”? One day soon I’d love a friend to ring up at 2pm on Wednesday and ask me if I’m busy and I could reply “Nope, not at all. How about a game of Twister?” Now that’s success.

According to Leo Babouta of ZenHabits.net and author of The Power of Less the answer is to do less, to get more done. He outlines two simple steps.

1. Identify the essential

2. Eliminate the rest

I’ve long been a fan of his blog and just picked up his book, so I’ll see how it goes. That is if I find time to read it in between checking email.

So how are you? Busy? Let us know but be quick.

Better run!

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