I’ve had the good
pleasure misfortune of working for organizations that pride themselves on how busy they are. People talk about how they don’t have time to meet with you because they’re so busy. But often times a quick peak into their professional lives shows they put themselves into their busy situations. They don’t relinquish control or delegate, and volunteer their time to activities that are enormous wastes.
This is not a problem I have. Instead, my preference is more like the Google model made popular many years ago. Do your job and do it well and then take some time to work on things that are important to you and the employer. Being someone that likes to help I get pulled in on other things but I set the expectation that this issue is not my problem and I’ll bounce as soon as I’m needed elsewhere.
People struggle with this professionally, and personally. People are difficult to reach because they’re so busy. The Sheconomist has a friend that’s difficult to hang out with because of too many family obligations from a clingy in-law. We say being busy is a good thing but is it?
How many of your daily or weekly activities focus just on you? And if it’s not about you what is the ultimate benefit to you? It could be networking, strengthening friendships, or being a parent. But how often do we take a step back and determine how many of these activities are beneficial? How much of your time is wasted loading pictures to Facebook or talking about all the things you do? Give me a break. Give yourself one.
Almost no one in the middle class is actually busy with important things. Very few people are working two jobs to make ends meet. Fewer still have to rush home after work to take care of a sick family member.
Nope, we’re “busy” getting coffee with friends or shopping for new picture frames or taking our kids to baseball practice. And they don’t even like baseball. And when we go on vacations what do we do? A bunch of stuff. If you’ve ever been to Disney World then you know that’s not a vacation.
I’m relatively busy, but almost everything I do that’s “busy” is directly productive to my bottom line. I have a commitment to my writing and a full-time job which goes beyond the typical 9-5. I do enough stuff for one person. So when it comes to down-time I prefer to literally do nothing. I want to veg out.
Vacation for me is the lack of activity. Weekends for me are all about doing nothing as much as possible. I do it for me and while some might find me anti-social or self-absorbed, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that is more content with their lives than The Weakonomist.
Good Read: The ‘Busy’ Trap