Working Toward Working Less
The reason you don’t get more done is you’re doing too much.
We tie our worth to being busy. The busier we are the more important we feel. There is some truth to the idea that being busy indicates we are valuable to others.
Perpetual busyness, however, is more a sickness than an indication of value. Perhaps busyness indicates we are smothering our pain in constant motion.
10 Reasons you are overworked:
You aren’t over-worked because of your abilities. You are over-worked because you lack ability. For example:
- You can’t make someone unhappy. (people pleaser)
- You refuse to hold others accountable.
- You avoid hard conversations.
- You can’t take things out of your bucket. All you do is add, add, add.
- You don’t delegate.
- You won’t trust others.
- You can’t organize and plan.
- You can’t say no. (That includes saying no to the boss)
- You aren’t able to prioritize.
- You can’t see the value in investing and enabling others. You live on quick fixes.
Believe you matter and what you do matters. You won’t matter until you decide to.
Focus, Focus, Focus:
Focus on things that matter most. The shorter the life span the less it matters. Cars last a few years; people have souls and spirits – they last forever. Focus on people. Would life change if you shifted from things to people?
Focus on the biggest bang for your buck. Are you wasting your energy doing things that don’t create the world you desire? Stop wasting yourself.
An unfocused life is a frenetic, wasted life.
Working toward working less:
Take one thing from the list of 10 reasons you are overworked and gradually live it. Then take another.
What suggestions do you have for people who are perpetually too busy to do what matters?
Perfecto Dan!!!! Love your list. Here is quick suggestion for your readers. Look at the things that give you stress. Figure out which ones you can control — and take massive control of those — focus on fixing those… and then learn to let go of ALL of the things you cannot control… the weather, the government, death, traffic, other people’s opinions, other people’s behaviours… just let it go – you can’t really do anything about it so don’t spend precious time and energy on this you cannot change — and do focus all of your energy on the things you can change / impact / control.
Magnifico! You added so much to this post.
Why don’t we get more done? We waste time and energy on things we can’t control. Now why didn’t I think of that one?!
Thanks for dropping in.
I think what you said applies to people as well Dan. the shorter our lifespan left, the more clearly we can see what does and doesn’t matter. Life would be simpler, and as you’ve said, more productive if we did less, and did more of what really matters, more.
Too bad we don’t figure it out earlier.
My only hope is the efficiences and focus born in making so many mistakes will enable us to maximize our time and opportunities.
BTW… love the expression: “do more of what really matters, more”
Like the post and the comments. Part of “being busy means I am useful” is cultural too. Working at a company I was told how come you leave on time every evening when people are still sitting and “working”. My answer – is everything you wanted done, done? Why should I sit late given that your answer is “yes”? Being busy does not mean accomplishment – people fail to understand or acknowledge that
Stop several times during the day to remind yourself where you are going. That way you will know if you are gettiing there.
Thanks for the list Dan. Scary, I’ve seen myself in all of those “sand traps” at one time or another. John Bruyneal, team director for all of Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France victories, tweeted last year, “The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” Simplistic, but a catchy way of saying “prioritize” (#9).
Hi Dan, love and hate this post. Love it because it rings true and hate it because it reminds me of endless busy work thought important at the time but proven futile later on. This all boils down to personal perception of priorities. Feeling busy andf looking busy does nor equate with accomplishment. Clearly your peers’ perception is important but one’s view of what we do determines worth and personal meaning for us. Validation may make busy behavior gratifying but it is the personal texture of our actions not their “bee like” qualities that motivate us to persist. It has taken a very long time for me to discriminate what deserves “busy” and what does not. I still struggle as to how much time to dedicate to different projects and the dynamic environment makes my criteria a moving target. I guess the thought of the moment for me is “constant adaptability” and “quick assessments,” both difficult, demanding and downright scary. Without doubt there is a lot of “busy” I wish I could take back and there is a lot of “busy” I hope someone can help me with. Perhaps someday I won’t perceive it as being busy but just “BEING” me, (Thank you Frances)
Your yes’s mean nothing if you never say no.
We have a wonderful bowl that says ” It is not enough to be busy, the question is,what are you busy about?”
I love it!
Love it Dan…….I’ve got to work on the less part of work and transform it to what really matters, more!
thanks! great list.. for me I would also add being overworked, becasue of the inablity to let go/accept less at times…
and not taking the time to get really really clear on what matters most.
Thanks Dan for adding the LinkedIn share buttom. I will share your excellent posts with my business groups. Regards. Yanik
When I look at the list I’m reminded that many of those reasons build out of fear, fear of upsetting people, fear of believing in people, fear of going with your beliefs. Like poker players, leaders must accept and cherish reasonable risks if they want to be effective.
Thanks for the thoughts!
I often think about what got my juice today, and whether or not I or anyone else will remember it a year from now. Sadly, much of the time we probably won’t.
Great post Dan! What a great reminder to spend time on what really matters and let others come along side to help with the rest.
I agree that the busy man gets time for everything and a looking busy person does not get time for even small things. I agree that usually people do not get time for productive work because they want to do everything. This focus shift derails their concentration and eventually they do nothing but pretend to do everything. I believe that people who want to do everything try to please everyone. And the bitter truth is that the person who tries to please everyone actually pleases no one, And these kind of people lack self belief. They do not believe in themselves. The reason is simple, their parameter for success is externally driven and they get their satisfaction from outside than inside.
I would suggest perpetually busy people to be true to them. They should believe in their strengths and should try to satisfy themselves first. They should love what they do, and do what they love. And the most important thing is they should know how to say “NO” to them who they want to please. It is very difficult for them but I bet this is not impossible.
Great post, Dan. I struggle with this everyday and I’ve been thinking about my unwillingness to allow others to “fail” even though I know that I can give them the right tools to not fail. I know this is to my own detriment and adds to my inability to move forward in my life personally, emotionally and professionally.
Good stuff as always, Dan. I’d add that we do way too much multiple-tasking – fragmenting our energy and focus. Multiple-tasking is an unproductive behavior that some gurus say cost companies over $600B in lost productivity. Try fast-tasking, giving everything you do 100% undivided attention – including every interaction. Put fast-tasking versus multiple-tasking to the test. My bet is that fast-tasters get more quality work done.
It is important to allow others try on some of those things that makes us too busy because we cannot be on seat for ever.
Thanks Dan. Great post. Lots to think about!
Good way of explaining, and good article to get facts regarding
my presentation focus, which i am going to present in academy.
Hi dan, thanks for that hard hitting post.. I relate to a lot of those traps.. I feel one reason for exhaustion is also being unrealistic about how much you can pack in in a day.. I feel if I can be happy with having done my best and best here including the stuff you have written… life would be so much better!
Thanks Natesh. It seems everything takes longer than we expect. When you add passion to get things done to being unrealistic about how long things take, you have a formula for frustration and stress.