Keeping Busy

As we head into a new year I reflect on a commonly asked question which has become a conversational crutch: “How’s it going?” Invariably, the response: “Good! Just busy.”

This exchange is appears to be found everywhere in both our personal & professional lives. It is as if busyness carries a certain status symbol. Yet, being” busy” does not make us happier; & it does not make us more productive. It just means we are filling all of our available time.

Even though I still find the phrasing “I am busy!” on the tip of my tongue when someone asks me how I have been, I make a conscious effort & try not to say it. I try being the operative word, & given the lack of productivity all around us these days, try it certainly is. 

Instead of hopelessly waiting to be given the gift of more free time, consider what high-achievers do to stay focused and accomplish large, long-term goals. They:

  1. Accept time is a precious & fixed resource
  2. Know how to separate Urgent from Important
  3. Align their top priorities with their core purpose & values
  4. Do not book 100% of their time; they value rests & relaxation
  5. Constantly look for things they should stop doing
  6. Are selective about the people they give their energy to.  

When an important task is not getting done, it is important to acknowledge & admit you have chosen to spend your time on less important tasks (for example, posting on Facebook & Instagram). Instead of saying “I did not have enough time,” try saying “I chose to do X today instead of Y” or “I am getting distracted” or “I am focusing on the negative things.” Or perhaps even better; I am focusing on something which does not work towards my goals. This honesty & accountability will help you use your time more wisely, accomplish more & be less “busy.”

Conversely, it also important to take time & relax, not actually have a desire to achieve anything for a period. Hopefully, this is what many of us have done recently over the holiday season.

Kenn Butler

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