I believe this is the single-most damaging myth we can believe today. Why? because this myth will rob you and/or your organisation of its passion, drive and effectiveness. Being ‘busy’ is one of the most counter-productive states we can be in because being ‘busy’ doesn’t allow us to focus on what is really important. It doesn’t allow us to be effective in what we are doing or to make the best effort possible to achieve.
Urgent vs. Important
In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey states that to be truly effective in your life you must focus your attention on what is important not what is merely urgent. I’m sure you’ll agree that the majority of our lives, both private and professional is taken up with things that are urgent. All your work seems to be urgent, on tight time frames and needed now now now! After a long day at work you rush off to do the shopping or get the kids from their activities, to cook and clean and bath and feed and before you know it you’ve crashed on the couch in a heap dreading the fact that in six hours the mad cycle begins all over again!
Covey’s point is that there will always be urgent things to take up every moment of your life if you let them. The whole idea here is to stop and think about what you do and why you do it in order to find out what is important rather than just urgent. As a Life Coach my desire is to see people figure out what is important to them and to go after it and achieve it. Sure there will always be urgent things that we just have to take care of but if we define what our goals are, what we want to achieve, then the urgent wont take over our lives.
Busy-ness = Value = Busted
I don’t understand how we can really believe this Myth. We think that if we’re doing-doing-doing busy-busy-busy that we must be achieving something because we are expending so much time and energy. But when we sit down and look at the things we’ve done during that period, how much of it can we say we did well? How often do we forget to do something in our busy-ness or find we have to go back and re-do something because we didn’t get it right in our rush? How long can we manage to keep it up before we crash and burn physically, emotionally or mentally? This is no way to live! It’s not time effective, its frustrating and it kills productivity, passion and drive.
Important = Value
So where do we find value? How do we end the busy-ness cycle and make the best of what we have with what we’ve got?
We need to define what’s important to us. We need to look at what we want to achieve and then look at how we are going to get there. We need to take the time to sit down and ask ourselves some probing questions:
“Why am I so busy?”
“What am I doing that I don’t need to be doing?”
“What should I be doing in order to achieve what I want to achieve?”
When we define what is important to us and set goals for us to achieve them we find value in what we do and in who we are. And found value is the biggest motivator for success, it ignites passion, fuels drive and increases effectiveness and efficiency. When an individual finds value in themselves and what they do, there is no limit to the things they can achieve. Think about what this means for your life, your work, your business… the potential for success is huge!
Busy-ness does not equate to value. In fact busy-ness kills value and productivity. True value comes from identifying what is important and focusing on achieving the important. Try it out, see for yourself how taking some time to identify what is important can greatly increase your time, efforts and energy levels. If you’d like some advice on how to get started just ask I’m more than happy help and I’d love to hear how it worked for you!