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Is Being Busy Making You Less Effective?

How often have you seen an organised person looking busy and flustered?

How often have you seen an UNorganised person looking busy and flustered?

Notice something?

The organised people in this world tend to look relatively chilled out when compared to an unorganised person, and theres good reason for this.

Unorganised people are constantly chasing their tails, moving from one emergency to the next (emergencies woudl be forgotten appointments, lost items etc….), whereas Organised people are usually one step ahead – knowing whats coming up and getting prepared for it before it becomes an emergency.

Organised people tend to expend less “busy” energy than the disorganised.

Why?

Because they have learnt the difference between being “effectively busy”, and “ineffective busyness”

Ineffective Busyness

We go through life racing around, stopping only to sleep, trying to fit everything into our days, and never taking a step back to work out why we are having to do so much in the first place.

Many people believe that if they look busy, and are constantly on the go – then they are doing things well.

This is usually not so.

I know people who are always complaining that they don’t have enough time to fit things into their day, and that they just don’t understand how others seem to fit it all in fine (it must be because they have less to deal with surely?!).

Well – to some extent of course this may be true, but more often than not we all have about the same amount going on in our lives to deal with – albeit in differing areas.

The difference is that organised people have learnt to value their time more and prioritise things, so that the important stuff gets done, and only then do they work out whether the other stuff is important enough to get busy for.

They don’t tend to let the minutiae of life crowd the must dos, they get things done asap, and in doing so, they free up their time and energy.

Without using the right tools (systems, habits etc…) then the busier you are, the more your disorganised ways are magnified – and you can end up more out of control than ever – and tired with it!

Many people fall foul of the Busyness habit – where they just keep doing things the same way, and spend more and more time doing them, and then can’t understand why they aren’t getting further ahead.

Effectively Busy

Once you know the right ways to do things to make things as easy for you as possible, then you can start being less busy but more productive.

Organised people tend to pretty much have things under control, and have found ways to maximise their time without getting stressed about it.

They can find time to fit in things that come up unexpectedly – they may have a family, friends, a job, a hobby, but they still were able to buy a present and card ready for that party at the weekend  a few weeks in advance – they still never foget a birthday – they rarely are late to appointments – they can always find their keys – and they still find time for me time, fitness and socialising…..

Its because they have worked out whats important to them and their family – and organised their lives to fit it in.

They are busy – but its under control!

Life isn’t about being/looking busy all the time – its about being effective with your time.

Organised people can be busy too

Of course I’m not saying that organised people are never over busy – far from it – its just that for the most part of their lives they know how to use their time in the best possible way, to maximise it rather than let it rule them.

They have learnt to control their day to day busyness.

Of course, we all get busy sometimes for no fault of our own (emergencies happen) – but its not a way of life that we should have to deal with all the time.

A chart may help clarify what I am saying further:-

My Busy vs. Effective Chart

 

Effective vs Busy

Lets go through the chart and see what we find.

Firstly you will see that we have effectiveness running across the top (from least effective to most effective), and then busy-ness from top to bottom (again from least to most), and the grid is drawn up to show what happens in each section.

1. Not Effective and Not Busy = Lazy

It speaks for itself that you won’t get very far if you stay in this section for long.

You need to get some motivation and direction inside you – some willpower to get started, and you can do great things! (only if you want to of course, and I’m assuming that if you’re reading this website then you probably want to!)

2. Not Effective but Busy = BUSYNESS

This is the section where you don’t want to end up – as you will be spending a lot of time being busy, but getting nothing done.

You will be tired every evening, but your TO DO list won’t get any smaller.

The key is to start taking back control and implementing systems that will help you manage yourself, your home and your family better – leaving you more time to do other things.

3. Effective and Not Busy

The perfect place for you to be able to cope with life.

This is where you want to aim to be at all times if at all possible.

You will have created systems and routines and habits that will help you to manage life as it comes at you, but also have enough time to cope with any emergencies that crop up, or to be able to do the nicer things you want to do (learn a new hobby, have some relaxing time etc…)

You will get things done, but be less stressed about it – and be able to look at the bigger picture (and whats coming up) a lot more often, creating a self perpetuating cycle of being organised!

4. Effective and Busy

It sounds like this is also a great place to be doesn’t it – but this isn’t a place that you can stay for very long without suffering burnout.

Being on the go the whole time, whether you are being effective or not, is tiring.

If you have a busy time, you need time to recuperate or you won’t be any good to anyone.

Think about the last time an emergency happened in your life – someone falling ill or an unexpected deadline at work for example.

You probably were able to step up and get things done while being more busy than ever – but you got through it.

But would you want to be in that state forever?

You may have found yourself in this section as well because you may have not got the balance in your life right just yet – so you are not getting downtime as well as busy time, and thats no good for anyone.

Things are getting done and you are being effective to the outside world, but you are being ineffective to yourself as its not a sustainable or happy place to stay longterm.

Whats the solution?

Ideally you want to stay far away from sections 1 and 2 – and aim to be in section 3 as much of your time as possible.

There will be times when you stray into section 4 – especially when something away from your usual routine happens, but its acknowledging these times as things that take you away from your normal life patterns thats important.

Getting the equilibrium right in your life will pay dividends with how content you are in it.

If you are constantly on the go – somethings got to give – so get the balance right, be aware of what section you are in, and aim to be effective rather than constantly busy – you’ll reap the rewards!

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3 Responses to Is Being Busy Making You Less Effective?

  1. Janet Barclay May 5, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    I love your chart! I sometimes think of it as the difference between being “busy” and being “crazy busy” – the first one meaning I have lots to do but it’s under control, where the second one means I’m so busy I can’t keep up. You’ve helped me to realize that it’s not really about the quantity of work, but how effectively I’m managing it. Since I began delegating and using my task management program consistently, it’s been a long time since I felt “crazy busy.”

    • Chrissy Halton May 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      Hi Janet – thanks for your comment – I am really pleased that “crazy busy” isn’t on your radar now!

  2. Brainy Emmanuel Adu-Yeboah May 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    this is great stuff. thanks

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