Toward the end of another year I get a sense of frenetic pace and business people trying to complete unfinished work. I hear all the time that people are busy and a healthy lifestyle is often the first casualty. Imagine if you could see “busy” from a whole new angle and transform it into something worth loving?
As a parent of two very social children, a three-at-once business owner, author, motivational speaker and non-executive board member my life is sometimes not easy to balance. I used to skid at high speed toward the end of another day feeling overwhelmed by how busy my life had become. One day it dawned on me that being busy was holding me back.
I sat in front of 60 new emails, reports that needed analysis and a 150 page board pack and thought about the level of unnecessary self importance I had created by living the incantation of being busy. It took me a few minutes to realise how often I was replying to, “how are you?” by saying, “busy.” When I really thought about this, the prize for being busy was that it made me feel important and it allowed me to move on quickly with an awesome conversation stopper that was typically asking the person inquiring about my wellbeing to please not stack anything else into my already ‘bursting at the seams’ mind. There was lots of secondary gain from being “busy” and very little of it was enlightening. Thankfully in my moment of overwhelm I transformed busy into something far more lovable. I decided to transform busy into productive.
Busy is defined as having a great deal to do. Being busy may mean success and yet often it is an illusion of success. What is far move lovable than “busy” is to be productive. Productive is defined as achieving a lot.
A lateral-thinking strategy to transform “busy” could work for you if you’re looking to mentally switch-off, want more time freedom, a greater ability to prioritise your work and if you want to move toward time for a healthier lifestyle. It will also be helpful if you want to avoid overwhelm, decrease stress and remove blockages to your success.
In business it’s become more of a discipline game to stay on task and complete actions. The pace of work has become instantaneous on one side while the short drive to the nearest shops has become time sucking inaction with traffic on the other. The contradictions are vast. In the late 1980’s the turnaround on a letter was 10-14 days, then fax courtesy was a few days to respond. Right now if the response to an email or SMS isn’t half-an-hour in the turnaround questions are asked about whether you received it. Immediacy has created a level of unheard of busyness and yet productivity is evasive. It isn’t easy to be productive with interruptions galore. And yet the truth is that you feel and are busy.
When I think “busy” these days I immediately stop and ask myself, “how can I be productive more than ever now?” This has opened up so many opportunities to leverage my time and find easier ways to achieve more. I am conscious of how often I say “busy” and tell people I am “busy” and I catch myself and instead tell them I’m having a “productive” day. Transforming busy to productive has made the large number of activities I want to achieve each day far more lovable. If this resonates with you try it for yourself.
Want more great advice from Madelaine Cohen? Visit her website here!