How to be Authentic Even When You’re Crazy Busy

Unfocused busyness leads to meaningless contribution. You get so busy that you forget who you are and what you’re really trying to accomplish.

The secret to meaningful busyness is direction and reflection.



It’s necessary to let others impact the direction and agenda of your day. You’re interrupted by a pressing HR issue. The CEO needs information. Colleagues have questions. A customer needs you. An employee left in a huff.

You can’t ignore pressing needs, but if you aren’t careful, you lose yourself to busyness.

Establish direction to your leadership by choosing how you want to show up today. Set direction by choosing qualities and behaviors that reflect who you are and who you aspire to become.

Are you great with relationships? Add some results oriented qualities. Are you great with results? Add some relational behaviors.

How do you want to show up today?

  1. Kind.
  2. Curious.
  3. Open.
  4. Direct.
  5. Decisive.
  6. Calm.
  7. Forward-facing.
  8. Outward-facing.
  9. Solution oriented.
  10. Action oriented.

What simple behaviors express how you choose to show up?


Meaningful busyness requires reflection.

  1. What did you do yesterday that makes you proud?
  2. How might you clarify your intentions?
  3. What small contributions are you making to the people around you?
  4. How might you imperfectly step toward your personal aspirations today?
  5. What are you learning about yourself?

4 Direction and reflection tips:

  1. Take a minute at the end of meetings to reflect on the impact of your interactions.
  2. Make appointments with email, text messages, and phone calls. Try scheduling responses at the top and bottom of the hour, for example. Stay present with people.
  3. Modify open door policies. Everyone gets two hours a day to close the door and focus on deep work.
  4. Seek feedback on what it’s like to sit across the table from you.

How might leaders engage in meaningful busyness?