Oliver Sheer No Comments

While conversations over the past few years have been dominated by subjects like Covid, WFH, and Artificial Intelligence, there is one catch-cry that sits miles above these. Our obsession with saying ‘I’m so busy’. But, have you stopped to think when you say these three words, what it’s actually saying about you?

Entrepreneurs for the most part of the last decade wore ‘I’m so busy’, ‘the hustle’ and other descriptions of work-obsessive behaviours like a badge of honour. Many sniggered at them, yet, those same people were likely guilty of professing the same thing to their own friends, families or colleagues when lamenting about how busy they are. In fact, at least ‘Hustlers’ were positive about their efforts, whether or not you agree with their life choices.

If nothing else, saying ‘I’m so busy’ to other people who are feeling the same, shows a lack of self-awareness. So, if for no other reason, consider that when someone asks ’How are you?”

So why are we obsessed with these three words:

Are we seeking recognition?
A shoulder to cry on?
Promoting self-importance?
Masking poor life choices?

I’m sure there’s a myriad of psychological drivers going on here. I’ll spare you my pseudo-psychology to try and decipher them because there is likely a much simpler explanation i.e. We feel like we have a lack of control over our day.

I’ve always subscribed to the saying ‘Don’t confuse motion for progress’ and when I reflect on the times when I stand on my soapbox and proclaim this, it’s when I see people letting other people control their day. People that get to work, open their email and let their inbox tell them what to do.

Now, of course, depending on your role, there is only so much of your day you can plan independently. That said, if you don’t at least try and set an agenda for your day, someone else will set it for you.

Why is a plan important?

When we set a plan, we have a purpose. When we achieve said plan, we find fulfilment. Simple.

When setting your agenda for the day, there are three critical things that people often get wrong:

Factor in time for the unknown.
It might be part of your role to contribute to other projects, or simply to the culture of your organisation via meetings or other collaborative forums. The reality is that your day involves compromise and helping others also achieve their desired outcomes, so don’t blindly ignore this, factor it in.

Factor in the personal tasks you have to do, not just work.
Most people have a decent method for keeping track of their work tasks, however, fail to apply this same pragmatic approach to their personal lives, or whatever else might be demanding time in their lives. Don’t have separate lists, put them all in one.

Lastly, factor in time just for you.
Whether that’s a 25-minute run or a coffee break. Make sure there is something in your day that’s not task-orientated. It might be calling a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while. Write it down and do it.

Will this make you any less busy? No, in fact, you might be busier… BUT, you will feel more in control and take more fulfilment from your day.

So, when someone asks, “How’s your day going?” you can say, “productive”. Which says to them you’re positive about your day and in control.

I know which one I would rather hear.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Sheer,
Managing Director, Be Challenged

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