You’re not as busy as you think you are!

February 2, 2012

Yep, I said it! But, hear me out… In many ways, I’m writing this post to myself as well. See how you feel. So often we equate “busy” with the need to be visible, to be needed and in line with that, with our sense of importance…

We create so much content and share it because we love feedback and at a very base level, we just want to be “seen.” The Zulu say “Sawubona” as a greeting which translates to: “I see you.” I recognise that you are there. It’s a powerful want for a lot of us, to be seen, to be heard.

But it can also be another kind of addiction. Addiction to feedback hampers a lot of other valuable pursuits. How often do you rush to see if anyone’s commented on your Facebook status? How many times do you check on your emails to see whether you need to answer anything right this second? Ask yourself quite honestly what purpose this activity serves.

Busy is a great salve

Most of us assume that if we’re busy, we must be important. Humankind’s greatest need is to feel wanted, so if you’re busy, you’re not the loser you worry you might be. But busy isn’t the same as “fulfilling a purpose” or “walking a path.”

Seeking feedback excessively means that you’re not comfortable sitting with your own thoughts, and that you’re not comfortable with the question of whether what you’re creating is of value in your own mind. Busy lets us try and not focus on experiences that hurt us or feelings that cause us some suffering.

Get less busy

Some first steps towards becoming less busy are very simple and tactical. Try setting your phone to the fewest possible notifications. I guarantee that without the prompts you’ll still find that you are communicative and valuable. Then do the same with your computers. Maybe even try closing down your emails and social networking screens for a while, leaving you with only the windows and applications necessary for the project at hand.

In your public life, remember too that you don’t have to go all events. It’s great to see friends, but schedule in how it best suits you and get real quality time and satisfaction from it. At work too, we can be too wrapped up in ‘busy’ and not focus on business.

Accept being invisible

This is hard for some, especially those that consider themselves as providing valuable information to the world – because if you don’t keep putting stuff out there, people will forget about you and move on. This is true in our ‘consumption society’, but consider your audience and whether they require daily interaction from you? Your friends will still love you anyway and your customers want to know that you’re good at what you do and will help them succeed, which doesn’t need constant reiterating… It’s ok to be a little bit more invisible.

So, how busy are you?

You don’t have to answer that now, but think about it yourself… Are you really overwhelmingly busy? Beyond a few deadlines and maybe some self-inflicted procrastination, how busy are you? And what is that “busy” doing to improve your lifestyle right now, and your business in the coming years?

Then consider, what if you got some of that time back? What would you do with it? How would you spend an extra four hours a day? Four. Hours. Think about that. That might just well be the cost of busy. Where would you spend yours?