My guess is that you hear this question several times each day as you go about your normal activities. I would also venture that the “busy” answer is used more often than not. Since when did being busy become so appealing? Something to strive for in order to appear better in other people’s eyes. Or at least to avoid appearing lazy or on the way to skid row. While the answer of “busy” is most likely true, answer me this. Busy doing what? How do you fill your day?Â Or an even more popular sentiment, how do you manage your time? To quote Timothy Ferriss in his work The 4-Hour Work Week;
Just a few words on time management: Forget all about it. In the strictest sense, you shouldn’t be trying to do more each day, trying to fill every second with a work fidget of some type. …Being busy is often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.
It is extremely easy to create busyness. It starts with rarely using the word no and it is perpetuated by working without an over-riding life goal or purpose in mind.
Have you stopped and asked yourself: what’s this all for? The idea of working for 40 to 50 years in order to save up enough money to enjoy retirement and live a life of leisure – when that is the time in life when you are physically the least able to enjoy what you have worked for. Instead, what if you had a list of 10 to 20 things you wanted to do in life, starting right now, and incorporated these into your monthly and yearly personal and family goals.
For the past 3 years I have been carrying around in my wallet a list of 25 things I want to do or accomplish before I die. Things like climbing the 14ers in Colorado, publish a best seller, travel to Scotland with my father (which I will check off the list this summer). Whenever I am sitting around waiting for an appointment or for my food at a restaurant, I will refer to this list to see which one I can check off next. While this list is not my ultimate life purpose or goal, it does help me to remember to enjoy the things in this life. I encourage you to create a list of your own. As you do so, remember that anything goes. No dream is too big.
Now that you have little reminders of the things you want to incorporate into your life, let’s turn our attention to some steps that will help you make the most of the time you have. Learn how to work smarter, not harder. Be more effective with your time. Then learn to be more efficient in completing the tasks each day. Whenever you are working on an important, high life-priority task, don’t answer the phone. Since when did a ringing phone become such a sacred object that we must respond to? Voicemail and answering machines are great things to help you stay on purpose. Email is the same way. You are working on something on the computer, the inbox chimes so you interrupt your time only to discover that you have the opportunity to assist some foreign guy in the transferring of a large sum of money from Uzbekistan, of which you will get to keep a large portion.
Ever wondered how we lived without cell phones, email, instant messages, etc. The answer: just fine. As you make your time more valuable to yourself, others will to. By living more on task and purpose, you will begin to align your life, your dreams and your goals. Slow down and remember this: Most things don’t really matter anyway, especially in light of a life dream or purpose. “Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action” (Ferriss).
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