I seem to be busier than ever before – how about you? Being busy can be a great thing: higher productivity can lead to greater job satisfaction and higher feelings of self worth. But stop and think for a moment. Are you busy or in a hurry? Busy, hurry, what’s the difference? To put it simply, busy is about your calendar, hurry is about your heart.
When we’re in a hurry we…
- Don’t fully appreciate the people around us.
- Miss opportunities to serve.
- Set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others.
- Fail to see the contributions of others.
- Don’t honor the people around us.
- Are unable to see beauty in the world.
- Do not lead at our full potential.
How does this happen? I don’t fully understand it, but I believe excessive, sustained busyness leads to a heart burdened by hurry. Following are four potential root causes and specific actions to help you take back your life…
Problem: We lose sight of our primary role/calling. How much of what you have on your calendar for the next 30 days is actually outside the scope of your current responsibilities? For many of us, our excessive busyness and hurry, can be attributed to activities we shouldn’t be doing in the first place.
Solution: Clarify your calling and affirm your role. Use this as a filter. Eliminate activities, even good activities, that are not aligned with your unique contribution and responsibility. Confirm your role with your supervisor to be sure you are meeting the role expectations of your leader.
Problem: We don’t have (or follow) a plan. Without goals and strategies, every tactic is of equal value. If you don’t know what you really want to do, or need to do to be successful, unfocused busyness and hurry are predictable outcomes.
Solution: Create a personal plan and reference it often. For me, the more I read my plan the better I activate against it. It is a great daily discipline to cultivate. I’ve been great at this in the past – I’ve got to get back on track with this one.
Problem: We let others set our agenda for us. Understandably, this will happen from time to time. However, it should not be the norm. If we don’t own our time someone else will gladly commandeer it. How many of the activities on your calendar are there because you put them there?
Solution: Own your calendar. Set your priorities and ensure they are the cornerstone of your calendar. Schedule the most important things early. This includes down time. Set appropriate boundaries. Don’t be a victim. Time is a leaders most valuable asset - you must steward it with the utmost care and diligence.
Problem: We are afraid to say no. For some people, this tendency has deep psychological roots. Perhaps it’s an over-inflated ego or chronic self-esteem issues. Maybe we’re trying to prove something to someone, maybe ourselves. In any of these instances, it’s not a good approach to allocating our time and energy.
Solution: Say yes – to the right things. Once you’ve said yes to the right things, it will be much easier to say no to other things. If you say yes to a family vacation, it’s much easier to say no to a request to do something else that week. If you've said yes to a well-conceived strategic plan, off-plan activities are easier to dismiss. The yeses in a leader's life are more important than the nos.
Stay busy my friends, but don’t hurry.
What actions have you taken in the past to take back your life?