Removing the 'BUSY' Badge of Honour that we may wear

If you ask someone how they are doing, how many responses start with "I'm so busy"? In the 21st century, many of us are slaves to the curse of 'being busy'. But are we putting our energy into the right tasks? The things that help us to live the life we desire?

It can take additional energy to remove tasks and distractions that only serve to hold you back, yet in the long run, it’s worth it.

Here's how you can separate urgent and shallow activity from the important and deep activity.

  • Step 1: Stop

    The first step is to stop what you’re doing now and become conscious of your present circumstances i.e. what’s going on in your environment, your finances, relationships and demands on your time.

    Don't be tempted to do more. Stop doing the behaviours that hold you back or are preventing you from completing your goals.

  • Step 2: Plan

    Having a plan is essential in our work life, but how often do we do the same for our personal life? As soon as you recognise that you have control over the details of your life, that power is there for the taking.

    Your plan should address the reason behind the vision you have. Once that is clarified, then you can work on how you put this into practice and start the steps to get you there.

    A plan doesn’t need to be a 5 or 10-year long term strategy. Break this down into smaller chunks, such as 3 or 6-month activities that you can achieve and celebrate. This also means that you become flexible and open to new opportunities that pop up along the way.

  • Step 3: Track

    Tracking how you are going is essential to measuring the success of your goals. This often requires an investment of time itself, but research shows that when you track and evaluate behaviour, it improves. And if you’re not tracking things, you may be further away from your goals than you think.

    This doesn’t mean that you need to track everything. Start with your core priorities; a good rule of thumb for this is to stick to three. This could include your finances, personal relationships and physical/mental wellbeing. Once you measure progress, you’ll have more control over progress.

  • Step 4: Reflect

    It's easy to get caught up in the doing, without spending time reflecting, thinking or meditating. Taking some time to be mindful of where you're at is essential and can provide clarity about what you're doing. Clearing your mind can open it to new possibilities and ideas that are crowded out when you're rushing around.

    Whether it's a bush walk, yoga, listening to music or writing, reflection is a powerful tool.

  • Step 5: Move

    Make sure that progressing towards your goals becomes one of your regular habits. To do this, you should aim to perform at least one task a day to help you get close to your goals. If you don’t do this, your goals will soon become lost in the whirlwind of those smaller, more urgent (and arguably unimportant) tasks that consume our lives.

    Many people do these things at the beginning of the day before other interruptions begin.

Once you get into the pattern of performing these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the big goals that will steer you where you want to go. If you organize yourself, plan for the future, track your progress, focus on reflection and keep at it, you’ll see a step change in your life.

Author: Peter Robinson
Team Leadership Services