Focus or Flurry – Too Busy
Non-stop from the moment you get up until it’s time to put your head on the pillow. Personal and professional schedules often overlap. You spend a good amount of time driving from location to location. Sometimes you cut activities short in order to rush on to the next one. When you are ready for bed you are totally exhausted and can’t seem to catch up on rest.
There is nothing wrong with being busy. Busy keeps us active and keeps us from wasting time focusing on the negatives of our lives. It’s not being busy that is the issue, it’s HOW we are being busy. Are we busy with things that are targeted or are we simply busy with activities? Busyness that is not targeted and purpose-driven can lead to a distinct feeling of emptyness. We are so busy that we must be getting somewhere, but why does it still feel incomplete. Our busyness has no real meaning. We spend our time in flurry.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Socrates
“It is not enough to be busy. Even the ants do that. The question is: what are we busy about?”
Henry David Thoreau
Not sure if you are one of those who are too busy? Here are 7 signs that you are too busy:
- You are always surviving. You can’t remember what open time on your calendar looked like or the last time you were ahead of schedule.
- Meals coincide or overlap with other events. If you don’t have time to sit down and simply enjoy a little family meal time or quiet meal time, that’s definitely a sign.
- You tend to be tired even in the mornings. You can get rest from all the flurry.
- You can’t remember the last time you read a book.
- You have interruptions to your interruptions.
- You cannot consistently set aside a time-frame for a specific activity, like exercise.
- You do not engage in intentional, daily growth
Focus or Flurry – Making the Change
We must make the transformation from being too busy to being productively busy. We have to move from flurry to focus. And it starts with the decision to do so. You must resolve that you are tired of being tired, you are fed up with not getting where you want to be. It doesn’t solve your problems, but it helps provide the resolve you are going to need to implement this.
Create calendar blocks. Each block should be at least an hour preferably but certainly no less than 30 minutes each. You won’t need to block every waking moment, you are simply trying to make sure that you set aside specific activity blocks. You will protect these blocks ruthlessly, letting nothing short of real emergencies (spurting blood, sinkholes, hurricanes, earthquakes) get in the way. You need these blocks labelled on your daily calendar:
- Spiritual Time. I call this devotional time but you can call it what you want. The point is you need daily time dedicated to developing your spiritual life. This helps make everything else better, it is THAT critical. Ideally, this is your first block of the day. Get up earlier if need be to have time for it. I find that’s what works best for me, before everyone else gets up to have my devotional time. If you have kids, it’s even better to let them see you engaged in this daily as it also encourages them to develop the habit.
- Hard Time. This block is set aside for doing things you know you need to do that day but avoid and postpone until it is too late to do them. Set aside time for it and strictly do not allow yourself to do anything else during that time frame until the hard thing is done.
- Personal Growth Time. A block designed for you to intentionally grow yourself. Remember my 1% rule: if you simply grow yourself intentionally by 1% a day you will see exponential results.
- Reading Time. Do nothing but read. Magazines or trade journals, books, white papers. Do not spend this time on the newspaper or social media. We want reading time that feeds us.
- Me Time. A block where no one else but you is your concern. Do whatever you want as long as it isn’t for someone else. You need this for your sanity and balance.