Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Busy-ness Whirlpool

How much time do you waste during the day? Yes, I know we are all busy…crazy busy. We brag to each other how busy we are. We even brag about what we don’t have time for. “I’m so busy I haven’t been to the gym in months.” Really? But what are we doing? We are getting sucked into our own busy-ness.

I admit that I also fall into the busy-ness trap. There is always so much to do and there never seems to be enough time. I seem to work at the office, at night sometimes when I get home and in the morning. But what am I really doing?

Very recently two things occurred that kept me very busy and I realized how much of my time was stolen on this busy-ness. First, Microsoft unveiled their new operating system Windows 10. I don’t tend to be much of an early adopter when it comes to technology, but I needed to upgrade the VAIO  in my home office and thought that this new system would do it. Well, the upgrade worked, but I lost two days integrating the system, bringing files over and of course, personalizing the desktop. I rationalized my busy-ness by thinking that I was making myself more efficient.

The second occurrence was the purchase and installation of a new computer for our business office. We were disgusted with our old computers and purchased an “all-in-one” Dell desktop. Again, hours were spent on setting up the system and getting it up to speed. It’s not done yet, I’ve still got more work to do. But I finally realized that a lot of the “set up” was the personalization of the computer and not important for our work.

I offer these two as examples of the “work” that can fill up our day. It is now estimated that most of us spend up to 30% of our work day just scrolling through email and because we are connected at home we continue to work in the evenings and on weekends creating what is approximately a 72 hour work week for ourselves. No wonder we don’t have time for anything. And of course it all seems important.

There is no easy answer. I’m not going to advocate turning everything off, because as a business owner I can’t. But I’m finding that it is important to understand and monitor what keeps me busy. Is it just my own busy work? Am I feeling busy because I’m doing something, anything, even just scrolling through email or Facebook, or am I moving toward accomplishing the things in life that mean so much to me, like writing, speaking and helping others? And of course, I want to spend time with the people in my life I care about. When I put those things in perspective I realize that scrolling through emails, checking news, reading Facebook, posting on Instagram, are jobs I create for myself that keep me busy. I can choose to maximize my time with the work I enjoy and the people I love. Whatever time is left over, I’ll give to my “busy-ness.”