Till the 1960s, a lifestyle of leisure was an indicator of success. Over the next 60 years, we’ve moved in the opposite direction. Being busy is now a badge of honour. “I’m really busy” almost always has a tinge (or more!) of pride. Perception of success is directly proportional to our busyness.
Being busy can be energising. Yet, being busy can result in a ‘good tired’ and a ‘bad tired’. A ‘good tired’ is when you rest easy at night. Knowing that you’ve done fulfilling things on your terms. Irrespective of how busy you’ve been. A ‘bad tired’ is when you’ve been dragged through the day doing things driven by other’s expectations. Either implicitly or explicitly. You are ‘good tired’ when you’re ‘productive’. And ‘bad tired’ when just busy, not productive. This article looks at some signs you’re too busy.
Sign #1: You’re not enjoying yourself
There’s a joy in creating. Not so much in doing for the sake of doing. We all have some distasteful tasks which need doing. Yet, that shouldn’t be the highlight of our day. If you’re too busy, it is.
Sign #2: Not much gets done
You’ve done 3 meetings, 7 phone calls and responded to 32 emails in your day. Yet, you know that not much has happened. Granted, action begets success. Yet, if you regularly feel that you could have been as productive with 1 meeting, 3 phone calls and 11 emails, you’re too busy.
Sign #3: You have constant FOMO
FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out afflicts us all. There’s a vast amount of information and opportunities out there. And we deal with it by dabbling a little in all of them. What if we miss something important? That’s a time sink. Instead, identify a few places where you seek information and opportunities. If you choose well, its likely that you are aware of anything relevant at a fraction of the time. As well as getting more balanced views.
Sign #4: You are a champion multi-tasker
Multi-tasking is bad. Very bad! Various studies show that we spend 25% more time on a single task, when we’re multi-tasking. Multi-tasking can make you feel like Superman. But it’s making you as inefficient as a steam engine.
Sign #5: You have the ‘leap reflex’
The term is coined by Seth Godin. The leap reflex makes us react to situations. Without intention. Or considering the consequences. Even when we wait to react, we often don’t consider it well enough. Close enough to the deadline for our reaction, we leap anyways. And leaping into wrong places is a sure way to keep (bad) busy.
Sign #6: You have ‘idleness aversion’
We dread idleness. Studies have shown that ‘even a specious justification can force us to be busy’. And that we use being busy as a shield against our laziness or fear or failure. Hence, try to differentiate between ‘productive busy’ which is good and ‘busy for the sake of being busy’. It’s difficult, but well worth it.
Beware the barrenness of a busy life, said Socrates. So, if you’re too busy, stop and reassess what’s keeping you busy. And whether its productive and you’re enjoying it. If not, slow down and smell the coffee! That might turn out well. As Oscar Wilde said ‘To do nothing at all, is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.’
Are you too busy? Do you have a tip to bust out of the busyness trap? Let us know down in the comments. And if you like the article, please share, by clicking the links below