Why are you SO busy?

If you are like me there is not enough time in the day to get it all done. I have often times said “if there were 36 hour days and 9 day weeks I could get it all done AND have 3 day weekends!”  But I recently realized that the problem is with me, not the clock or the calendar.  Let me explain.

This goes back to one of my favorite quick reads for teams from over a decade ago: “The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey.”  This is a favorite of mine for a few reasons.  The first of which is that “monkey” is the funniest word in the English language.  My boss in Seattle shared this fact with me.  He then proceeded to explain the extensive research he and some other VPs at the company had done to come to this conclusion.  Needless to say this “research” was done in Las Vegas, but I admit it is hard to say “monkey” without at least a little  smirk.  Back to the content of the book.  It explains how tasks, projects and to-do’s are monkeys that end up on someone’s back.  It turns out that some of us are habitual monkey pickeruppers.  We might also be known as people pleasers, multi-taskers or go-getters.

It is either HELL YES or it is no.

Guess what? If you are always busy then you don’t have time to do the things you REALLY want to do when they come along.  At 57minutes into his interview, Derek Sivers tells Tim Ferriss his views on being busy including how he decides what to say yes to. Caution to those of you with sensitive ears, there is some big boy language in the podcast. Derek boils it down to that one statement, if you have an opportunity and you don’t think to yourself “Hell Yes!” then you should say no.  We need to get busy deciding what we WANT to do or what we GET to do rather than what we HAVE to do.

Telling someone you are too busy means that you do not have control of your life and you have unclear priorities. But I get it.  If you are like me you are working for The Man.  You nor I get to decide what we do at work or when we do it.  Or do we?  If you are like me, work is not an 8am to 5pm work day with a nice little lunch break in the middle.  I have a choice.

If the problem is not me then I cannot fix it.

I say this to myself a lot and if you follow me you read it a lot. I write it and say it a lot because it is TRUE.  You are busy because of you, NOT because of others.  How about the friends who want to go to lunch each day?  Could you maybe get involved in that cool leadership project if you ate a quick PB&J at your desk and spent that hour researching leadership development programs?   Or maybe you get to work at 8am because you sleep till 6am due to the fact that you were binge-watching Arrow or you just had to see THAT game?  If you had gotten up at 5am you would have made it to work at 6:45 (your commute is a lot shorter without traffic) you would have time to watch some of those Lynda courses your mentor recommended.  We all have choices.

So, the next time you have an “opportunity” to do something or to pick up another monkey ask yourself… are you thinking HELL YES! or should it be a no?

Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to.
Rob Bell

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