Busyness does not equal productivity, much like eagerness doesn’t always equal excellence. I hear from people all the time about how busy they are, how much they have on their plate, and how full their calendars are. If we aren’t busy, we find something to make ourselves busy, or look busy. We equate extreme busyness to our self-worth, and that is not a healthy place to be.
I know from experience what a trap this is. The wheels never stop turning and there is always one more thing to do, one more email to answer, and one more project to tackle. The problem with all of this is we all have limits. There is a wall we all have and we need to be aware enough to see the wall approaching and change course, slow down the train, and avoid the wall. If we don’t we can do irreparable damage to our careers, our families, and in the worst of circumstances, to ourselves.
Earlier this week I wrote a post on the benefits of developing the people around you and empowering them to achieve great things. This post highlights what happens when we don’t do that. No one is indispensable, and no one is capable of operating at the breakneck pace we pretend to be able to do for prolonged periods of time. We are not machines. We are flesh and blood. We need downtime to reflect, regroup, recharge, and rest.
A few weeks ago I was at the airport in Austin, TX and I was watching all of these people rushing hurriedly to their gates from another flight, or barely making it through security. They were on their phones the entire time, never pausing to take a breath, let alone assess their surroundings and the other people around them. I remember wondering, “Where is everyone going in such a hurry? Did they eat? Drink a glass of water? Did they do anything to refresh themselves?” I used to be that guy, and honestly sometimes I still am. I need a gut check and reminder that nothing is more important than my health and my family.
Busyness is everywhere. And it’s only getting busier. Unplug, Unwind. Undo. Be present. Make a difference. Stay focused. Assess if everything you are currently doing is really necessary. And if it is necessary, honestly determine if you need to be the one doing it.
But whatever you do, don’t lose what’s most important. Yourself.