Do you wear being “busy” like a badge?
We are dedicated to helping people grow, expand their perspective and take their career and business to the next level, so I was captivated by some points in this blog post on this topic of busy-ness on the Harvard Business Review’s website. We’re happy to have shared some of the key points from this post for you here.
The author, Meredith Fineman, is a publicist and writer living in Washington, DC, and she has a bone to pick with people who complain about how busy they are. She writes, “there seems to be a constant exchange, even a one-upping, of just how much we have on our plates when we communicate about our work.”
Indeed, it seems as though we have come to associate being busy with being important. Feeling important gives us a feeling of status and human beings welcome any chance we have to create the impression of having status. It used to be that expensive cars, clothes and jewellery were the status symbols par excellence, but now we have a new contender: busy-ness.
Fineman does not pull her punches as she writes, “to assume that being ‘busy’ (at this point it has totally lost its meaning) is cool, or brag-worthy, or tweetable, is ridiculous.” She makes a very good point when she says that bragging about how busy we are is not without consequences. In fact, she says, “it’s harming how we communicate, connect, and interact. In addition to having entire conversations about how busy we are, we fail to share feelings with friends and family, ask about important matters…”
At The Leadership Group, we couldn’t agree more. We often hear leaders say that they wish they had more time to spend with staff, but they’re just too busy. Our reply is that connecting with your staff is a crucial part of your job. You can’t create exceptional engagement without taking the time. Connection time is an investment that will pay for itself many times over once you have created a highly engaged team. In fact, if you’re too busy to connect with your team, you’re too busy to really lead them.
Time to Lead by Example
Fineman goes on to say “it’s crucial to know what you have to do as opposed to everything you could do. It’s about being strategic.” She concludes by saying, “For once, I’d like to hear someone brag about their excellent time management skills, rather than complain about how much they can’t get done.”
Leadership Principles: 4 Ways to be more Effective and less Busy
- Be strategic with your Focus. Pause and Focus on what will meet your leadership needs and goals, in a meaning-full way.
- Be conscious and creative. When leaders we work with raise their consciousness, they become aware of how to tap into creative ways of leading when demands are high, resources are low and time’s ticking fast.
- Be flexible. The best managers build a certain amount of “slack” into their schedules for these activities that make the difference between sustainable and unsustainable organizations.
- Be connected. Set aside some of those “nice to do” items in favour of reflection, connection, and observation. This is like taking the pulse of the organization. When you are connected and observing, you are in tune with the life of your organization and people.
We have been helping leaders set priorities, delegate, and manage their time and energy effectively for 15 years, and we’ve seen what a positive impact it has on their quality of life. In fact, if you ask our clients, they’ll probably tell you that they’re less busy, but more productive, happier, and healthier.