The Disease of "Busy"
How often have you asked someone how they had been, and their response was “Great, just staying busy!” I always would just go with it because I know there truly are some busy people out there. A few of my best friends do work 60+ hours a week while traveling for their job, or getting their MBA degree, and/or having a lot of family events. However there was one conversation I had recently with someone that gave me the traditional “Great, just been busy” response and I immediately knew this individual had not been busy. At least not in a productive way. Now before I get too far into this article, I will admit that I am guilty of using this response from time to time without realizing it. But my friends response the other day really made me do some self-reflection about my own “busy-ness”.
I do believe that everyone is busy in their lives, the real question is what are you busy doing? I know people that are busy advancing their careers, developing themselves, and growing a family. I also know people that work 30 hours a week, are advancing levels on Farmville (is that even still a thing?), developing a worn spot on their couch cushion, and are growing wider by the day. (Friends that are reading this, these are general statements, not targeted to anyone specifically, but if the shoe fits then put that sucker on!). There is no right or wrong answer to what you spend your time doing. I am a firm believer in whatever makes you happy. If you’re happy then I’m happy for you. But I have come across far too many people that want more with their lives but get sucked into the disease of being “busy”.
What I mean by the disease of being busy is what each individual considers being busy. Our culture has shifted to a point that anything we are doing means we are “busy”. Hey do you want to come over and watch the game tonight? “Sorry, I’m busy binge-watching 17 episodes of Game of Thrones.” To me there are busy-productive things in life, and there are busy time-wasting things in life. Each person reading this will categorize those things differently.
This next sentence and the rest of this article is focused on those people that want more out of their life. Is what you’re “busy” doing getting you closer to your goals and dreams or is it an obstacle keeping you from reaching those things? Facebook and Social Media can be such a mindless time waster if you don’t monitor it. It is easy to take the last 5 minutes of your lunch break to scroll through Facebook only to realize you’re 15 minutes late getting back to work. One of the leaders in our business, Laurie Woodward, always jokes about needing to be supervised when she gets on YouTube to look up how to do something because 4 hours later she will be watching funny animal video’s! How many of us have fallen victim to that before? It’s because those things are designed to keep you on there so they bring in more ad revenue.
One of the key things to help stay focused on your goals and what you want in life is to make sure the actions you are taking is getting you where you want to go. It is very easy to self-deceive ourselves by thinking that what we’re doing is moving us closer when in all actuality it is getting us no-where. Let me explain what I mean with an example. Say you wanted to get in better shape, lose weight, etc. Many people will spend hours on Pintrest and other websites looking up recipe’s and workout plans, but will only spend a fraction of that time actually working out, running, or cooking healthy meals. They feel as though researching how to have a healthy lifestyle will get them there, but too many rely on the research alone to produce the results. Don’t get me wrong, you must always have a plan for how to achieve your goals, but don’t spend more time on the plan than the action itself to achieve it.
There are many things in life that will distract you, and that is more true today with modern technology than ever before! I’ve heard many people say, well that was only 10 minutes I wasted doing it. But they don’t stop and realize they have 6 different things each day that distract them for 10 minutes each. Could that hour each day change their life? Maybe not after 3 days, or 5. But compounded over 2 months, 6 months, or a year it absolutely could! Reading 15 minutes a day on average will equate to a book a month. Did you know if you read a book a month it will put you in the top 1% of income earners in your field? Unfortunately I don’t mean Harry Potter, or Steven King, but success development books.
I’ll wrap up with one of my favorite quotes from LIFE Leadership founder Claude Hamilton “The amount of money you make will depend heavily on what you do when you have nothing to do.” Keep a book on your phone to read when you have 10 minutes to kill waiting on an appointment instead of scrolling through Facebook. Listen to an audio in the field you want to grow in while driving or sitting in traffic. My advice would be to make sure that your busy-ness is being put to good use. Make sure it’s useful for something you are passionate about and want in life. And if it’s not being put towards something useful, don’t lie and tell people you’re busy, just tell them the truth about how many episodes on Netflix you watched last week 😊.