Stop Being Busy. Start Being Effective.

A homemade reminder hangs on the wall in the office of one of my clients. 

A homemade reminder hangs on the wall in the office of one of my clients. 

Are you too busy? If you are like most people, your answer to this question is a resounding “yes!”  Of course your life is busy—your challenge is shift your perspective from being BUSY to being EFFECTIVE.

We are surrounded by cultural influences that reward us more as human doings than as human beings. Many of us even wear our busyness like badges of honor. Without thinking about it, we are telling ourselves that the busier we are, the better we are doing in life.

I believe that the tyranny of busyness is one of the most common dysfunctions in our culture. By staying busy, your mind is constantly focused on the future, racing ahead to what you need to accomplish next.  But busyness is only effective at one thing: killing “The Now.”  When you focus on your busyness you are shutting out the only moment you actually have—the present—and the only place that that your spirit resides—in the NOW. 

Our busyness is often rewarded by others through social exchange. It has become a form of social capital—we exchange “busy” greetings as a form of belonging and acceptance. Conversations typically go something like this:

“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Great, but crazy busy. You?”
 “Me too, with (fill in blank here: work, school, kids’ activities…)”
“I can relate!”

The good news is that you do not have to engage these transactions. Every time you do, you are passively withdrawing power from your life. Decide to detach from this kind of public conversation, and you will find new room to notice spirit working in your life.

Today, your challenge is to try and shift your focus from what keeps you busy to what makes you effective and creates meaning in your life. Remember that every meeting, e-mail, and phone call, every casual catch-up with a friend, is an opportunity for you to move away from the busyness trap and focus on creating more meaning and effectiveness in your life.

All of us are busy—get over it. Start being...effective!