These days, being “busy” has become somewhat of a badge of honor — it’s the reason you forgot to call your mom back, the reason you’re abandoning relationships, the reason you’re ghosting your friends and RSVPing “no” to yet another coffee date… but it’s also the reason we believe we’re as successful as we are today, which is why we can’t stop humble-bragging about how freaking busy we are all the time.
I work a full-time job and I spend my weekends and free time creating content for my site. This month, I have three trips planned and no days off work booked. Even when when I have a couple of free hours on my hands, I’m developing brand pitches and looking for new ways to re-share my content on Pinterest and Twitter and continue growing my readership and conversing with my readers. So it goes without saying that I’m INCREDIBLY guilty of using the busy excuse, but I don’t think being busy is something to be proud of. I actually think that busyness keeps me from being as productive as me want to be… and I’ll tell you why.
Managing The “Busy” Problem: Being Tactical vs. Being Strategic
No matter what line of work you find yourself in, everyone’s had one of those days where things get so overwhelming that we end up spending most of our time freaking out, or we blindly dive into tasks that needed to get done, but weren’t actually that important. Kinda like how, in college, when you needed to study for that test tomorrow, you instead decided that was the PERFECT time to pick out a new font for your (very bare) resume or design a flyer for your sorority’s charity event… Or was that just me?
When I was going through the job hunting process a couple years ago, I was chatting to a recruiter about my professional experience, “Yeah, I created this email campaign, and I set up that event, and I wrote this press release…” — all great things that any marketing professional should know how to do, but I totally missed out on a huge part of the discussion: how did my tasks contribute to the bottom line? Did my email campaign generate sales? Was the event just one huge unnecessary expense? Did my press release bring about brand awareness? Basically, I talked a lot about what I did, but said NOTHING about how my work contributed to the overall success of my company!
Don’t get me wrong, being tactical is great — it’s good to know how to do what you need to do, but being strategic is even more important, because this is what’s going to keep you sane. There’s a huge difference between being a busy workaholic and being an efficient high-performer — the difference lies in whether you’re planning, prioritizing and knowing when to say no, or doing unimportant busy work and throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. You need a clear head when you’re planning, so make it a point to take an hour, day or week off to clear your head and re-align what’s important to you! And by all means, PLEASE call your mom back and meet your friend for that long-overdue coffee date… stop being rude!
What are some of your tips for keeping your head above the water when things are feeling hectic and overwhelmingly busy? Share your tips below, I’d LOVE to read them… I could probably even take a couple pointers myself