Can you hear it? That small whisper in your ear. It’s telling you a lie.
There’s a good possibility you can’t hear the lie well. But you feel it. You’re compelled to do what it says.
The whisper is telling you that you MUST be busy.
You’ve heard this whispered lie, right? That’s why you try so hard to fill your day with activities and motion. The lie of busyness is why I there are days I try to fill my time with unimportant busywork.
We’ve been told to be more productive, we’ve got to be busy doing work. We’ve got to fill our schedules. We’ve got to pack our day with activity.
And it feels good. We’re doing work! We’re getting things done! We’re being productive!
But it’s a lie. Just like the cake is a lie.
Why Busyness Is A Lie
Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.
— Thomas A. Edison
Many people wonder why their productivity doesn’t increase with the amount of busyness in their lives. When we step back and look at it, it becomes more obvious.
As we pack our days with to-do lists and fill our calendars we begin to shift our focus. We go from seeing the important tasks to searching out any task that can fill an extra five minutes worth of time.
The activities we make ourselves busy with aren’t the activities that increase our productivity. The busywork is just filler. We’re doing it to look more important and to be seen doing something, anything.
Once these tiny, interrupting tasks are completed we then have to shift our focus to the REAL tasks. This takes time to recalibrate and focus on the new tasks, wasting valuable time and sapping your productivity.
Getting Over The Myth Of Busyness
It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
— Henry David Thoreau
Our goal should be to overcome this fallacy we’ve been taught our whole lives. We need to shift our focus from the work of busy to the work of importance.
Focusing on the important items of the day will yield far more productivity than chasing the busy. You’ll see great strides being made in your company. You’ll see yourself increasing your capacity to take on new and exciting activities. You won’t be as bogged down and frustrated. There will be a sense of freedom knowing you’re doing what matters.
To do this, we have to do a couple of things:
Create an IMPORTANT list: Write down the tasks and goals that are uncompromisable. Think long and hard about the tasks in front of you. What has to be done and what doesn’t? The things that have to be done, put on this list. They may include: Vision casting, reading time, team building activities, etc. Decide what your leadership can’t do without.
Create a not-to-do list: We’ve all created to-do lists. It’s time to create a not-to-do list. This includes all of the busywork and filler that you put into your life to fill the blank time in your day. Once you’ve figured this out, put the items on your list and stop doing them.
Create boundaries: There are some tasks that need to be done but then become fillers to appear busy. Do you really need to visit Facebook 5 times today? How many times do you need to log onto Twitter? Set boundaries and allow yourself only so much time on social media platforms, checking emails, and rearranging your schedule.
When you finally break free from the lie, you’ll begin to find freedom. You’ll see there’s more margin in your life.
Do you know what margin allows for? It allows for the unexpected and the important but put off activities you always wanted to do.
Learn to resist the lie of busyness. Put it behind you. Tell it where it belongs.
Let’s destroy the lie together.
Question: How do you silence the lie of busy? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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