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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

On 'Being Busy'

By: Joel Luedke

Being 'busy' is something I've thought about a lot after hearing some very successful people's opinions on it.  I used to think I was a 'busy' person and constantly found myself running around trying to get one thing done while putting out a fire somewhere else.  Often when people would as "how are you?" my initial response was "I'm good, busy!"  After some deeper reflection and some advice from a couple smart people here are some of the thoughts I've come by.


Being 'busy' often means you may or may not have control of your time and that can happen for a variety of reasons.  In a world that is now connected at every step of the way and the flow of information is constant this can present a problem in trying to control your time.  Your job could very well be putting you in this position of 'busy' and that is where you have to figure out if you might have lost control.


Tim Ferriss's take on being busy.  "Lack of time is lack of priorities.  If I'm 'busy,' it is because I've made choices that put me in that position, so I've forbidden myself to reply to "How are you?" with "Busy."  I have no right to complain.  Instead, if I'm too busy, it's a cue to reexamine my systems and rules."

Thinking only this quote made me take a lot of things into consideration and how many things I put on my plate or how many irons I put into the fire.  It has made me take a look at what projects I agree to take on what which ones I think I can manage but at the same time delegate to a colleague or intern to take ownership of to put in most of the work (a win win in most areas).  I've learned that you can't really "make time" because time is finite.  It is one of the commodities that we can't control and you can't increase the amount no matter what you do.  

This comes to time management and a couple other ideas you can implement in order "to make more time".  First one is you can't make time, there just isn't such a thing but you can manage it better but that comes with some decisions.  In order to find more time you often have to remove something or get it onto someone else's plate in order to get it completed.  What really is important or needs to prioritized comes into play and decisions can be tough but they must be made.  If you don't make these decisions the feeling of being 'busy' may never subside.

Another great option I picked up from Derek Sivers (via Tim Ferriss Podcast).  He uses the 'Hell Yes' method.  Derek has a laser focused personality.  If he starts a projects he will spend 12-16 hours straight a day working on it until it gets completed and then he looks for the next one.  He doesn't take on just any project though.  Using his 'Hell Yes' method Derek looks at every project that way.  If it isn't a 'hell yes' then it is simply a no for him to take on.  This allows Derek to get really excited for the project if he wants to take it on and if he doesn't then he simply passes on it.

While this isn't always feasible in the day-to-day workings of your job it is something you can implement on multiple levels when it comes to trying to on potential tasks or projects.  If it isn't something you need todo but you feel like you might, see if it is a 'hell yes' or if it really fits into your  your priority risk.  While people do get busy and there are peaks and valleys when it comes to being busy be in control of how busy you are, don't let the outside world affect your ability to control what you are doing.  Not only will it feel like your life is slowing down but you will find you're more efficient in what you do when you are focusing on the things you want to be doing.
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