Being Busy: Art or Clutter?

Being busy, is an art! Are you coloring within the lines, or just scribbling with no boundaries?

With clear goals, timelines and accountability, the moments in which you are busy will propel you further in your goals and deter negative, intrusive thoughts.

Let’s discuss a #BreeziDeezi approach to being busy – creating an art and avoiding a pile of misdirection.

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The Clutter

If you are busy in ways that are always of service to others, you may be cluttered and misguided.

  • Being Busy For Others. Working a 9-5 keeps people busy and that is the point – you are exchanging time for money. However, you must be willing to be busy for the sake of yourself too. Take a working lunch, but work on a personal project. Read a self-development book, study for that certification or take some time to business map. Although the typical work day is 9 hours, we are all given some personal time in our day. You can choose to be busy for the sake of others, or invest that time in yourself.

  • The Treadmill Run. In elementary school, students were punished for poor behavior with “busy work”, such as writing sentences. There was absolutely no educational or personal development in such a task – the goal was to keep the student so busy that they did not have time to misbehave. Life is like this in many ways. You have social media, which can suck you in and you find yourself scrolling for hours. Netflix can take an entire day away from you if you allow it, yet, you’ve learned nothing nor have you moved any closer to your goals. The treadmill run refers to being busy, or occupied, but lacking importance in what you are busy with. If a jogger runs on a free track at the slowest speed possible, while their competitor runs as fast as possible but on a treadmill, the jogger reaches the finish line first. Are you running on a treadmill or an open track?

The ART.

Have you ever watched an artist work? They have to maintain deadlines, revisions, tools and eventually, the clean up. The art of being busy, is strategy.

Prioritize. What is your end goal? Have you set a deadline? Are you capable of holding yourself accountable and if not, have you sought an accountability partner? To me, strategic vision takes whatever you are busy with and organizes it into manageable, clear components. If you must work a 9-5, do so strategically. Are you saving for retirement or for a sabbatical if you need time off? If you are unhappy where you work now, are you strategically searching for the next opportunity while developing skills at your current place? In being strategically busy in a work environment I dislike, I’ve learned to gain all I can from the experience. I have felt stagnant in a role and if there was nothing more to learn about the job, however, I always seek to learn from other people and about other people. Navigating work relationships is hard for me and I am always strategic about learning to be better at that. So, when my office becomes a boring cage in which I advise students, I strategically get busy with personal development, find ways to collaborate with others and ask questions that are related to my job, but also strategically personal. Also, remember that every email or work conversation is not urgent. The more that someone at work demands my time, the more I push back. Realistically, urgency is one of the fastest ways to become busy with no direction.

Pause. What is the worst that can happen? We may have 8 hour work days but realistically, humans can be productive for about 4 hours before burnout. If you take the first hour of your work day to pause, you’ll find clarity and direction in what you are busy with. Ask yourself questions like : Is this important? Is this urgent? What will happen if it doesn’t get done today or at all? Is there an easier way?

Strip away the clutter of urgency and misdirection, and you’ll see the true art of being busy.

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