It's my trigger word: busy.
When I ask someone how they are and I get the reply "busy” I want to primal scream into a pillow. Yet, sometimes I notice that word slip out of my mouth.
If I manage to catch it, I change my response to “life is full right now.”
“Every time you say you’re busy, you’re actually saying that you can’t prioritize your life.” Darius Foroux
I love this quote because we all choose to do what we do. If your life feels busy here are some ways to turn that around.
I am sure you have heard this term, but what does it actually mean?
Think of working hard as being efficient. You pour time, energy, and resources into something.
Making sure that something is the right something is working smart.
Imagine you want to start growing your own food. Then you go to the nursery and buy everything you need to build your backyard garden. You build the raised garden bed, fill it with soil, and plant your vegetables. The little seeds never sprout, but you live in Alaska, so it's not surprising.
It took a lot of effort to build the garden but no sense to build it in the arctic tundra.
You need to be continuously auditing and analyzing how you are spending your time to avoid the trap of growing your vegetables in Alaska.
Last weekend was mother’s day. It’s different since I lost my mom a few years ago. I used to worry about the details of making sure I was using all the right dishes at brunch. Now I just long for the conversations with mom.
When we get on that hot air balloon and look down on our lives it’s easy to spot where our focus should be from moment to moment.
After reading Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkay's book Living Forward, I finally had a framework for this process. It's a reverse engineering approach. You write a document outlining your life goals. Include roles and accounts that are important to you.
When you take the time to construct a document like this you are focusing on the macro. It’s not enough to just write it out and stuff it in a drawer. You need to reconnect with it on a regular basis. When you feel life drifting off course, slipping into the world of micro, then it’s time to pull out the life plan.
The productivity world has a concept called context switching. This is a computing term used to explain how the CPU can swap from one process or task to another.
In humans, it's the process of switching from one task to another. But we're not computers. It takes our brains time to catch up when we switch between tasks. It is also known as switching costs.
This leads us into the discussion of why multitasking is a myth, but I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole today.
The point I was to make here is that it takes energy to switch back and forth between things. Picture the busy bee frantically flapping its tiny wings to get to the next flower. The trick is to find focus rather than frantically flying from task to task.
I think so many of us spend so much time putting out the fires, doing all the things that are due tomorrow or right now, and the things that are important to us fall off the radar.
Create a plan to make time for the important (aka productive). If you want to launch a podcast, you're actually recording the podcast. Not spending all day in endless meetings.
There has to be room in your schedule for both, but making room for those important tasks and putting them first.
Promise to take some action to fight busy. My promise to you is that next time I ask how you're doing and you answer "busy," I'll suppress the urge to roll my eyes.
You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life. Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.