What Matters Most

By Guest Blogger: Ken Byler, Principal/Owner, Higher Ground Consulting Group, LLC

Our society worships the art of busyness. We even have colloquialisms to capture its frenetic nature. “I’m busy as a bee.” “I’m so busy I don’t know if I’m coming or going.” “I’m just trying to keep my head above water.” They make being busy worth emulating, even virtuous.

What is the quest to be busy doing to the quality of our life and relationships? What price are we paying for the pace we are living or the paycheck we are pursuing? Is there a way to get off the hamster wheel and make a meaningful contribution?

The current state of busyness is preventing true engagement and relationship building. It is our excuse to ignore meaningful conversation. It is our defense when we are late for important meetings or family events. It is our ruse for feigning importance when our cellphone rings.

How do we break free from this vicious cycle? Can we actually influence the crazy last-minute demands of our boss, navigate the crushing workloads of our offices, or resist the chatter of a social media world?

I can’t guarantee success or offer an easy solution, but there are some things you can do to stem the tide of busyness in your life. They are offered here in no particular order and come from a variety of sources, including my own experiences.

  • Change your speech. Stop using catch phrases like “swamped,” “crazy busy,” or “underwater” to describe your schedule. They imply that you have no real control.
  • Expect things to go wrong. While I like to organize my day, even my week, interruptions will occur so I have learned to anticipate that my plans may go awry.
  • Focus. Busyness is the enemy of focus. Learn to schedule uninterrupted planning time. Guard it judiciously.
  • Allow time to breathe. Most busy people try to fit one more thing into their morning routine or finish that email before their next meeting. Add extra time to your appointments.
  • Sharpen your pruning skills. Overcoming busyness means setting limits and cutting back. Learn to delegate and eliminate.
  • Unplug. Learn to turn off smartphones during meetings and lunches, check email less frequently, and stop monitoring workplace activities at home.
  • Do what you can. Don’t expect too much of yourself, at least not at first. It’s hard to accept a new way of seeing yourself. It will be challenging to change a habit or establish a new routine. Give yourself some grace.

The premise behind this busyness busting list is that when our lives are in relative balance it will positively impact our health, self-esteem, relationships, and work, including how we lead. If you are caught in the “rat race” consider this final thought.

You will never get everything done, but you can accomplish what matters most.

Filed in: Client News