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Tuesday / August 9.
HomemilastwordThe Cult of Busy

The Cult of Busy

Walking with my buddy Jo recently got me thinking about the ‘Cult of Busy’. Jo should be busy. He shouldn’t have time to hang out with a mate each week doing a beach walk and drinking coffee. He’s a GP with successful multi-site practices; he’s married with teenage kids (and all the ‘Dad’s taxi’ duties that entails). He gets up before dawn; exercises every morning; devotes a significant number of hours each week to a volunteer role; and regularly takes time to connect with friends… plus, he takes time to himself, his family and his extended family.

Yet, Jo is never busy. Yes, he leads a full and active life, but he’s one of those rare people who have mastered the art of living in the moment. He’s mindful about his commitments but deliberate about his time.

Every day we make decisions about how we spend our time. However, most decisions are passive. Our days become filled with activities that make us busy but may not reflect our priorities.

Not many of us get up in the morning thinking: “I must find at least five hours today to watch TV” or “I should devote a significant amount of time to chasing up those non-urgent requests”. Yet, too often, that’s exactly what does happen, because we allow habit, or the demands of others, or both, to dictate our schedules.

Not many of us get up in the morning thinking: “I must find at least five hours today to watch TV

Perhaps it is because the Cult of Busy validates us; makes us feel wanted and important. But busy doesn’t always equal productive. Busy is stressful. And being around someone who is always busy or ‘flat-out’ is stressful for not only themselves but everyone around them. Sure, there are seasons in life when being busy and being a tad out of control are to be expected. But these times should be just that – ‘seasons’; not a constant state of being.

There’s also a difference between busyness and being overworked. If you’ve taken on new projects/ business /responsibilities, perhaps the busyness is a sign of being under-resourced. Perhaps you need to look at ways to address that by outsourcing, delegating or hiring new staff; by investing in time-saving technologies; or streamlining your practices and procedures.

We think we need to be across everything but we don’t. We need the bottom and top lines. We need regular reports and updates but we don’t need to get bogged down in the detail.

Consider your processes and look at how you can streamline activities that are not important. Rework your priorities and time allocated to tasks. What was an ‘A’ priority five years ago might be a ‘D’ today. Busy doesn’t need to be a way of life. If busy is your normal, it makes it almost impossible to rest and be still.

Take time to consider your goals and then go after them. Being more strategic will give you back time in your day and help you to feel more relaxed.

How good would you feel if the next time someone asks you how you are, instead of saying you’re “busy” or “flat-out” you look at them, smile and say “great”.

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