Reclaiming Your Time: Embracing Productivity Over Busyness

Two weeks and two emails, both saying, “I’m so busy, I forgot to complete the class.” 

Sadly, “I’m so busy” has become a common refrain. But have you ever stopped to consider whether that busyness is truly leading you towards your goals? 

Renowned investor Warren Buffett once quipped, "Busy is the new stupid." And he’s got a point. Let's delve into why being busy might not be the badge of honor we think it is.

Think about the times you've heard someone boast about their busy schedule. It's almost as if being overwhelmed is a status symbol. But in reality, being excessively busy can hinder your progress. There's a clear distinction between being busy and being productive. Busywork might make you feel important, but it's often just a distraction from meaningful work.

Think about the most successful people you know – your agency leader, leaders in your community, high-level volunteers. They may always seem occupied, but they manage their time efficiently. They prioritize tasks that truly matter and give their full attention to each interaction. They understand that being present is far more valuable than spreading themselves too thin.

Unfortunately, many of us fall into the trap of wasting time on trivial matters. We fill our days with activities that don't align with our goals, whether it's endless meetings, administrative tasks, or mindless errands. And then, we proudly proclaim how busy we are, as if it's a mark of significance.

Now, think about those leaders who are always too busy. The ones who work on holidays rather than having dinner with their families. The ones who skip their children’s school functions to work at the office. The ones who don’t have time to go to dinner with friends once a month. The micromanagers who try to control everyone around them rather than focusing on their own work. Are they productive? Usually not.

So, here's the truth: busyness isn't cool; it's counterproductive. It leads to rushed decisions, oversights, and missed opportunities. 

As journalist Sydney J. Harris aptly put it, "Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."

So, how can you break free from the cult of busyness? It starts with acknowledging that your time is valuable and should be spent wisely. Instead of using busyness as an excuse, try being honest about your priorities. When you tell someone that a task isn't a priority for you, it forces you to confront your choices and reassess how you spend your time.

Adopting this mindset can be transformative and make you more conscious of how you prioritize your time and communicate with others. Saying "it's not a priority" may be uncomfortable at first, but it's a powerful reminder to focus on what truly matters.

Next time you catch yourself glorifying your busyness, pause and reflect. Are you truly being productive, or are you just spinning your wheels? Remember, it's not about how busy you are; it's about how effectively you use your time. By embracing productivity over busyness, you can reclaim control of your schedule and pursue what truly matters to you.

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