Soooo busy? No, you’re not…

Sorry, that was a bit of a cheeky title – and by no means meant to disrespect anyone’s work schedule.

However…

I’ve worked on various projects in a bunch of different workplaces over the past 12 months and one of the more commonly uttered phrases I hear is “I’m soooo busy.”

The two million- dollar questions to ask yourself are:

Does being busy actually make you feel validated – just a teensy weensy bit more important?

Does this “busyness” you are experiencing actually mean you are achieving more?

Research from the University of Chicago found that people actually prefer being busy, even if it hurts their productivity.

Why?

Our modern world has increasingly equated busyness with status fuelled by access to immediate information via the web and a social media artificial inflation of what success is.  Thankfully, I believe the tide is just starting to turn a little.

So what are the main “busy” forming culprits at work?

  1. meetings
  2. emails

Pointless meetings will apparently cost U.S. companies a whopping $399 billion in 2019 it is estimated.  Next time you are invited to attend a meeting, consciously ask yourself:

  • Do I really need to be at this meeting? Will I add value being here?
  • Will a phone conversation or a quick check in coffee suffice instead?

When you do attend a meeting ensure:

  • There is an outcome achieved.
  • A timeline for future work.
  • A convenor to keep everyone on track.

Awareness of your meeting activity is the key. If we are proactive in reducing meeting time by our own actions, it will encourage others to follow suit.

Emails are another “busy” sapper.  Managing them takes a conscious and active effort.

Ideas for change?

  • Resist copying people in to emails just for fyi – unless you think they really need to be kept in the loop.
  • When you are copied in to an email that is largely irrelevant to you ask (politely) why… “Hi John, Is there any action you would like me to take regarding what you’ve sent – I’m just trying to reduce the amount of emails I’m receiving and responding to”.
  • Respond to an email with a quick phone call instead when you can.
  • Enforce a habit of stepping back for a couple of minutes every hour and asking: Has this last hour or so been productive?

Commit…

Everyday set aside time – at work, whilst not on a break – to think and breathe….  Not two minutes but at least 15…It will help you re focus, decide what’s important and resist the urge to keep buzzing along aimlessly (And yes I think that is mindful behaviour).

Busy is no longer cool….

Lexie Wilkins, Culture and Employee-Engagement Expert and Director, Lexie Wilkins Consulting

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