When i greet someone and ask how they are, the response i so often get is,” oh, i have been so busy”.
I love to clarify this statement and ask them, is that busy good or busy bad?
Their body language usually gives the answer away.Whether they look flustered and run off their feet or whether they look poised, excited and energized.
We can all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.But ultimately we need to ask ourselves, who is the boss of who here? We either run our day or our day runs us.
Are We Busier Now Than 60 Years Ago?
With all of our modern technology today making everything so quick and easy and the average working week in 1952 being 48 hrs as opposed to today on average being 37 hrs( According to The daily Mail) it makes me wonder how we could possibly be busier today than back some 60 years ago.
According to” The Economist” it is a matter of perception.When economies grow and incomes rise,everyone’s time becomes more valuable.Everything is stringently measured according to time.
I remember a vacation i had some years ago to Fiji.They had a term that they referred to as “Island Time”.I discovered what this was when i was left waiting for a tour bus some 2 hours after it was due.Apparently this was a regular occurrence. I brought back a clock that reflected the culture perfectly.
After marrying a Filipina and bringing her over to Australia to live, i was very curious to get her perspective on things after living with me here for a few years.Back in her country, she had lived through extremely stressful situations.There was no time for recreational pursuits.Everything is about survival.The idea of a vacation was a dream never realized.She would work Eleven hours a day, six days a week for the equivalent of $100 Australian per month.
Despite all of the difficulty in her country, just surviving, she would tell me that it is much more stressful here living in Australia.Everything operating on very tight time schedules.Things need to happen now.Our lifestyle is very fast paced compared to what she was accustomed to.One of the side effects of this is our level of impatience.
More than 20 percent of internet users will leave an online video if it takes more than 5 seconds to load.Recent scientific research shows that our attention spans have fallen from around 12 seconds in 2000(around the time of the mobile phone revolution) to 8 seconds in more recent times.Meanwhile, goldfish are believed to have an attention span of 9 seconds.
We can easily live in the dimension of distraction when we are bombarded with a million voices and a million choices all screaming at us simultaneously.We are literally spoiled for choice.
Is it any wonder that people feel busy?
Efficient or Effective?
Perhaps we could draw a parallel between the value of time and economic progress. The problem becomes when economic progress is the end game.Where did our peace of mind,happiness and fulfillment go whilst we were off chasing down “Progress”.What did we gain and what did we lose?There is always an exchange taking place.
The lines have become very blurred now with the availability factor.The need to be connected and contactable at all times.I first gained a sense of this back some 20 years ago when my manager was going for a toilet break and mentioned to me that he even has to take his mobile phone with him in there (it was the size of a brick back then) just in case someone needs to contact him.
We wear our “Being busy” tag almost like a badge of honour.We need to make the distinction between efficiency and effectiveness.Efficiency may indicate the numbers being produced.For example, maybe we were able to contact 500 people today through e-mail where if we spoke to them in person, we may only have contacted 5.The difference is the personal touch.
Effectiveness is in the result.We must remember that at the end of our efficient, time-saving devices is a person.Making real connections,getting to the heart of a problem and investing our time to have real conversations with real people cannot be substituted.
One of my mentors Darren Hardy, set himself a goal of going for 100 days during the year when he would be completely disconnected from all technology.A very ambitious goal in light of the fact that he runs many business’s.His time is well sought after,but he gets right to the heart of the matter when it comes to using our time most constructively.
He states that when he has disconnected from all technology, he can then be completely focused on either of two specific aims.Either , he is able to be much more productive if he is working on a project as he has removed himself from all distractions.Or he can completely relax and be totally available to those closest to him if that is his aim.
We have been introduced to this idea of multi tasking, but what is so unimportant that you would try to divide your time whilst doing it. Either it is worth doing with undivided attention or it is not worth doing at all.
Getting clear on what it is that you are aiming up at needs to be at the top of your agenda so that you can continually work on the all important skill of concentration and focus.Being a creator of your own life instead of being consumed by everyone else’s agenda.
For every detail that you leave out, someone else will fill it in. You are probably not likely to be happy with the way someone else makes those decisions for you as they don’t know you like you do, so planning it will be some of the most important activities that you could invest your time being busy doing.
Please let us know how you set your goals and plan your time to achieve them.I would love to hear them.
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