You Are Too Busy

It’s not just you. I am too busy. We are all too busy. The truth about the too busy thing only occurred to me recently after hearing from Mark Benioff and Warren Buffet The number of meetings, emails, texts, and conference calls don’t mean anything. In fact, it is probably the case that the more you have; the less effective you are at work. Too busy is a way of life and although we all do it, probably not something to which we should aspire.

Think about this…Ask someone this simple question, “Are you busy?” If the answer is, “No, I am not very busy” we immediately make a judgment about the value the person brings. He or she must be just hanging around. A more likely answer to the question, whether true or not, is, “Yep, way too busy! Just trying to keep up”. And that answer may not be the one that will make you more successful.

When I was a Partner at Accenture I was always on airplanes. When I left the Firm and was no longer flying I wondered what was wrong with me? We operate under the assumption that if we are not busy we are not adding value. We all engage in the contest to see who can pack the most in to a day. Packed calendars are badges of merit. The day must be full of activities or we are losers. Think again.

Mark Benioff, the CEO at SalesForce could be very busy but he had an epiphany on his vacation. Warren Buffet has a little calendar he keeps in his pocket. He typically enters a few meetings a week in the calendar. Bill Gates took the lesson from Warren and now does the same thing. He cut down on appointments and activities.

It is easy to get stuck in a false sense of activity. We can be busy, but so what? What is being accomplished? How are we making things better? What value are we adding? Take a look at your own calendar and assess what is worthwhile and what is not. And don’t feel guilty if you are not booked from 8am to 9pm every day.

Removing activities doesn’t mean you are not busy. It’s just better to be busy on planning, leading or innovating than on email drainage.

Take a look. I dare you to look at that calendar and ask yourself if you are too busy.

Richard A. Moran, January 2019 on LinkedIn