“It’s been crazy – busy around here recently.”
“I’m just so slammed!”
Does this sound like you?
Unfortunately, these are relatively common phrases I hear from Owners, mid-market CEO’s and Executive Directors alike. All too often, it’s the top excuse for avoiding something significant getting decided or done.
My question: “If we’re all so busy, why is so little getting accomplished?”
Spoiler Alert: If the boss is constantly “too busy,” it fosters a group busyness culture where it becomes the go-to excuse for everyone. After all, it’s being modelled from the top down.
We all know that famous Drucker truism, Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast!
Granted, the prevalence of the Smartphone synced with the emerging Information Economy are all contributing factors to general busyness.
A common complaint from executive leaders and senior managers is that too much time is wasted on pointless interactions that produce energy drain and information overload.
The Problem? Connecting and interacting have never been easier. While technology has helped us do many things more efficiently, it hasn’t helped us be more effective. It certainly hasn’t slowed down the pace. If anything, the opposite.
There seem to be endless meetings, and we wind up drowning in real-time virtual technology. There’s Zoom, Slack, Teams, group texting, WeChat, WhatsApp, Messenger, Loom and so on.
The downside is that actual productivity and value creation get sacrificed in the arena of frequent and low-quality virtual interactions.
I’ve found that actual value and productivity work best when leaders and their teams collaborate in three essential areas.
- Complex Decision making with robust buy-in
- Creative solutions and group problem solving
- Critical information sharing and coordinating efforts
Three Field-Tested Fixes for the “Too Busy” Syndrome
These are three personal favourites from experience. This is by no means a comprehensive list.
I’m a massive fan of the Eisenhower Matrix. I’ve used it for years, both personally and professionally, to avoid being busy with the wrong things.
If you do a quick search, you’ll get dozens of iterations of this simple but effective tool.
Me? I try to keep the bulk of my priorities in the “Important But Not Urgent” zone.
Earlier in my career, I used to schedule myself at 100% and then flat-out go. As a high achiever who loves productivity, that is just what you do, right?
When inevitable, critical interruptions occur (which happens a lot when working with people), I would be frustrated, annoyed and get way too busy. It wasn’t in the plan.
When I learned to schedule myself at 80%, there was a margin for interruptions. I could be more relaxed because now it was in the plan. My personal productivity didn’t suffer; in fact, it overall improved.
It helped a lot when I recognized slowing down was a choice.
It meant saying “no” a lot more.
Often, they were excellent things, but saying yes would push me over into the too busy lane.
Choosing single-tasking over multi-tasking was a much more calming process for me. Much better than having multiple projects with multiple pressure deadlines
How about you ?
Got a personal tip or strategy to combat busyness? Shoot me a quick note. I’d love to hear about it.
I’m sure it would benefit other readers.