The working title of this post was “The Badge of Busyness Is BS,” which pretty much sums up what I think about busyness in general, and the term crazy-busy specifically.
I also have issues with people who are more than happy to tell you how many hours they usually work – like they deserve a cookie.
I have been known to go into a full-on rant about this topic during my Productivity: The Secret Sauce for Success talk, trying to get the audience to commit to banning the term crazy-busy from their vocabulary.
Let’s face it: The baseline for life these days is busy. Few people are sitting around doing nothing. Even if you’re not working on a business or at a job, you probably have child care or elder care responsibilities. You might even have both!
When I am working with my clients in career transition, I tell them that looking for a job is not a full-time job. The air generally goes out of the room when I say this. I assure them that they can probably get the same amount done in a much shorter window of time. Adding in constraints, even ones that you know you could move, will make you get more done.
Busyness vs. Productivity
Busyness is clocking hours that may or may not be productive. Watching cat videos on YouTube shouldn’t be counted as time spent working. Sometimes you are on a deadline and you will work crazy hours. Sometimes you might just be goofing off.
Productivity, however, is doing the right things. The valuable things. The things that matter and will move your business forward.
That shiny object new product or service? Maybe it should go in the productivity column. Or maybe the distraction column.
Busyness and Overwhelm
The hamster wheel of busyness is a ticket to overwhelm. Having a ton to do but not knowing where to start is frustrating and exhausting, and makes you want to take a nap.
Having one or just a few scary things to do can send you into overwhelm, too.
However, Michael Port says, “Overwhelm is caused by not knowing what to do, not by having too much to do.”
This is true! We’ve all had times when we had a ton to do and everything got done with laser focus and elegant simplicity.
Better Metrics to Use
So, if busyness is the wrong metric, what is the right one? I don’t think there’s one right metric, but here are some measurable things to consider:
Now these are valuable, and will help you achieve your goals.
Can I convince you to move past this busyness nonsense and start measuring and working on things that actually matter? Please?