Conversations at work or social gatherings often ring with cries of “I’m so busy.” It’s as if we regard how busy we are as some sort of badge of honor in the delusion that “busyness” somehow equals success.
In fact, “busyness” has also been labelled as “the Western Form of Laziness” because it generally stems from lazy, unfocused thinking and indiscriminate action. And what is the first excuse that flows out of our mouth when we fail to keep our word? That’s right… “I’m so busy.”
You can spend a lot of time doing something well that is unimportant but it won’t bring about success. It may keep you busy but it s not moving you towards your goal. We often hide behind this cloak of “busyness” because while we consume our time doing something minor, we are putting off having to do the major activity that we may not feel as confident about. So, in reality “busyness” can often be an indication that you are scared.
Another cause of “busyness” is just a lack of focus and organization. It is also ironic that the emotional state that you get into when you are “doing busy” also lowers your daily productivity because you are so worked up emotionally that you don’t think clearly.
In the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Burton found that being stressed and anxious lowers your daily productivity by 13%. Assuming you sleep for eight hours, that means that “doing busy” results in you wasting 2 hours, 4 minutes and 48 seconds every day. This equates to 759 waking hours (over 47 days) lost every year due to the stress of doing busy.
Now also consider, the health impacts from the emotional stress of doing busy. Stress is the number one causative factor in the development of heart disease, stroke and cancer. So is running around doing busy, really worth it?
I think that the desire to be busy is a futile attempt to masquerade success in the hallucination that we are not worthy. The reality is that you are worthy. You don’t have to slay a number of dragons or achieve certain things in order to prove your self worth. Just be you…the self confident, feeling-worthy, authentic you.
So how do you act when you are being your authentic self?
Firstly, you don’t waste your time on frivolous masquerades. You begin to focus on the most important things in your life and the actions you take begin to have greater meaning associated with them and produce greater results.
Vilfredo Pareto, an economist from the late 1800s and early 1900s explained this greater productivity with his Pareto Principle, or the 80:20 rule. He shared that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions.
So focus on this major 20% of your actions that create the greatest results rather than spinning your wheels with the other 80% of activities that only bring 20% of the result.