Being “busy” can destroy your ability to get things done.
How many people do you know who are so busy being busy that they never seem to get anything worthwhile done? Does that describe you, maybe even just a little bit?
Being busy all the time, through necessity, is a curse. Being busy all the time, for the sake of it, is madness.
Continual busy-ness eventually leads to stress, particularly if results are minimal. You see, it will get to a point where something has to give way. It’s like filling a balloon with air. Eventually no more air will fit inside the balloon and it will do the only thing it can. It will burst.
It’s OK to have busy periods through each day, each week, each month and each year. However, you also need time to relax. Time to re-charge the batteries.
People who are continuously busy over long periods suffer from two main problems:
- - they have difficulty saying “no” to anyone
- - they have difficulty delegating tasks to others
Let’s look at each in turn.
First, those who cannot say “no.” I have a saying: “You can’t save the entire world.” No matter how good your intentions are, you cannot be everything to everyone.
Make a list of those who need and deserve your time. They are the one’s you should give priority to. Anyone else comes next – if you have the time to spare.
A wise man once said, “work always expands to fit available time.” It’s true. But it is only true if you allow it to happen.
You can always do the odd favor for someone on the odd occasion. Learn to say no in a nice way. Here is one such way: “If I get all my own work done, I will consider your request.” What does that really say? It says your work is important. If you get it done you will help. Naturally, if you cannot get it done you cannot help. It’s a soft way of saying no. Usually the asker will then go and find another person to ask.
By saying no you actually help other people to grow. Imagine if you always said yes to tying up your daughter’s shoe laces. If you never said no she would still be asking you to do it at twenty years of age. By saying no you make her learn to do it for herself. Remember the old saying about giving a hungry person a fish to eat versus teaching the hungry person how to catch their own fish to eat?
By saying no we can free up more time for ourselves and those who need or deserve our time the most. Do not become a slave.
Turning to the second problem, delegation – learn to enlist others to perform tasks that they are better equipped, or have more time, to do.
If you run all over the place attempting to do everything yourself you will never have sufficient time to do anything properly. Delegation is the art of a true leader. The secret to successful delegation is to build the importance of the task into the mind of the person you are delegating it to. Then, when they do it, thank them and praise them sincerely for the things they did well.
Don’t ever think you are irreplaceable, particularly at your employment. Somebody gave me a definition once of irreplaceability in the workforce. It went something like this: “Get a bucket of water, roll up your sleeve and thrust your arm into the water. Now pull your arm out. The time it takes for the water to settle back into position will be about the same time it will take to replace you!”
Learning to say no and being able to delegate will allow you to perform the tasks you really want to do and really need to do yourself at a much higher level of proficiency.
AL Williams wrote a book called “All You Can Do is All You Can Do But All You Can Do is Enough!” (ISBN: 0-8041-0499-9). Catchy title, isn’t it?
In his book, Williams says: “Don’t worry about things you can’t change. Focus on making your part of the world better, because when they click your lights out for the last time, you can’t have any regrets.”
Like I said earlier – you can’t save the whole world. Don’t even try.
If you want to be more productive, try to re-organize the way you plan your time. You can do this by:
- - making a list of things requiring your attention
- - prioritizing the list
- - doing essential things first, non-essential things last
- - after every third task, rewarding yourself in some small way
- - continue to work your way through the list in sets of three
At the end of the day review your list. This is important because it will allow you to see how much you have done and achieved. Achievement will drive you forward to more achievement.
So, now you don’t have to be busy, busy, busy and get little done. You can just be busy achieving what you want.