B-U-S-Y is the New “Fine” A Paradigm Shift On Time

TD90 Hourglass Background

For decades we have been told to manage our time. We’ve received tools, workshops and endless books on Time Management. Yet, I want to ask is managing our time what is needed? Does it solve our problem with productivity and a quality of life? Let’s face it filling in your schedule from 5am to 11pm does not equal getting things done. 

I want to propose a new thought paradigm and give an opportunity to realign our relationship with time. Instead of attempting to control time use through simply listing our responsibilities and obligations – I want to propose planning our days through a priority filter. Imagine your “Yes” and your “No” being strengthened and without apology?

How would business as usual transform if we made the paradigm shift from Time Management to TimeLeadership? Can we get honest? Busy is a choice? I dare say this four-letter word is a liar and an addictive pattern! I was reminded a few years back by a personal coach that, “You are ridiculously in charge of you!” he said. It was a sobering thought and it caused me to take stock in my words and actions in a fresh way.  The first thing that stood out to me was the constant use the phrase, “I’m busy.” It was aggravating to me that it was often my first response when people asked me how I was. Busy has truly become the new “fine,” which we recognize stands for: “Freaked-out Insecure Neurotic and Emotional!” No thanks.

I made a decision and swore if I heard those words come out of my own mouth ever again, or I'd kick my own butt! I was done. Done feeling out of control; being a slave to pleasing others; and constantly feeling like I never had enough time. Can you relate? Is your schedule driving you?

For many people, being busy can simply be a seasonal thing, but in today in our society busy can truly be a trap. Tim Kreider in his New York Times article, "The Busy Trap," makes the argument that many people today are addicted to being busy. He says, "well-educated working parents have become busy worshippers." What do you think? Is it possible as much as you dislike being busy, you are addicted to the cycle? 

Like other addictions of alcohol, pain meds and binge-watching your favorite Netflix, busyness numbs you out. Dr. Brene Brown says we develop a dependency on activity. When we are dependent on chronic busyness, we can experience high levels of stress. Often fighting feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm, busy leaders are on their way to burnout. If you struggle to focus, busyness maybe the root cause of a cluttered mind.

What are we communicating when we say, "I'm busy?" It's such a common phrase, like many things, you repeat it enough it all but loses meaning! In Kreider's article he discusses that when we say we are busy we are telling ourselves and others that we are important and in demand. If we are busy it means we are making a difference and winning at life. We can unknowingly wear B-U-S-Y as a badge of honor.

Now, this is not negating the fact that you are a powerful world-changer that is cultivating ripple effects of change - but the truth is, you don't have to be busy to be amazing!

I urge you to pause for a minute and reflect on how you are personally living.
‣ Do you NEED to stay busy to feel like you're accomplishing something or to feel needed?
‣ Do you use busyness as an excuse to numb out and disconnect from uncomfortable circumstances?
‣ Are you currently paying a high price to be busy? Exhaustion? Health issues? Chronic stress?

After spending well over a decade coaching business owners and leaders, I know transforming how you leverage your time isn’t easy. Honestly, if you’ve continued to read this far, I’m proud of you! I recognize how limited your time is and how heavy the responsibilities you carry are. If you are done having your schedule drive you and you’re hungry for realigning your time use – I want to encourage you there is a better way.

Time Leadership isn’t hard, it’s simply a different approach over Time Management. Instead of dumping a massive to-do list on paper and consistently beating yourself up for not completing the whole thing – we flip the model on its ear and start to take back your life with 4-simple keys: Priorities, Focus, Simplicity and Consistency.

Less truly is more. When you are aligning your time to your priorities that require your unique fingerprint, the lists get shorter, your focus becomes like a laser (ditch multi-tasking please!) and you set yourself up for consistent follow through.  Your time is a precious resource, when you steward it well it pays in high dividends. 

This process of shifting to Time Leadership has changed my life and put me on a mission to end our cultural addiction with busy. I’ve created a tool called the Time Dance 90-Day Planner to help leaders build their priority filters and live with greater intentionality. If you would like to learn more about Time Leadership consider booking one of our team workshops or simply set up a Solutions Call.

Powerful transformation starts with small daily steps, please be patient with yourself in this process as this is just the beginning.