Do you get nervous when you’re not over-worked? I have a tendency to go that way and I don’t think it’s healthy.
I do, however, think it’s a common problem.
Maybe I’m projecting, but these days it seems that if you’re not over-booked, you don’t rate. Our mantra today is, to paraphrase Descartes, “I multi-task, therefore I am.”
Even though being so busy you scarcely have time to breathe, let alone smell the roses, is hardly a sustainable lifestyle, we still seem to admire it.
Watch what happens the next time you try to schedule a meeting. While coordinating calendars with a group of people is never easy, sometimes you can observe something else going on – people jockeying for power by showing how busy they are. The person who has the most jam-packed schedule wins.
I’m not sure what they win exactly. High blood pressure? A heart attack?
What, really, would you like to put on your tombstone? “He stayed busy?”
That’s no way to cap off an incarnation, or even a job. Rather than expending all your energy on looking busy, concentrate on getting results instead.
This will require you to do two things:
- Decide what’s important for you to accomplish.
- Learn how to say “No” to anything which doesn’t help you further those goals.
It’s hard to say which is harder to do.
It will take some deep thinking and soul-searching to figure out what your goals are. It might even take some politicking when at work, for example, there’s a disconnect between what you’re routinely expected to do and what you should really be doing to further the organization’s mission.
You might also feel like a bit of a wuss when you say “No” to that task force, or chairing that committee, but keep your eyes on the prize you’ve set for yourself.
But no matter how challenging you find it to focus on results, in the long run it’s easier than being habitually over-extended.
That’s because when you’re a frequent flyer on the Too Much To Do Express, it’s really hard to get off. Regardless of how much or little you accomplish, you’ll still find yourself filling in every opening in your calendar.
And that’s no way to live. Keep in mind that a spine is easier to injure when it’s over-extended, and that holds true for the rest of you, too. Keep pursuing busy-ness above all else and, sooner or later, something’s going to break, whether it’s your mental or physical health or your private life.
Concentrate on your goals instead, and you should find yourself doing less, but achieving more.
by Danielle Dresden