March 16, 2014

Rachel Strella

Quit Being a Victim of Busyness

Busy at work

Today is bittersweet for me. It’s the 14th anniversary of a fateful accident that changed my life forever.  If there’s anything I’ve learned about all of this – then and many years later – it’s that time is precious.  Yet, sometimes we don’t realize it until it’s too late or until circumstances require us to make a change.  My hope with this post is that you’ll be inspired to shift how you think about time…

Ask almost anyone how things are going these days and you’ll likely get the reply “busy.”  Small business owners can certainly relate.  We wear a lot of hats and often have to transition at a moment’s notice.

But, if I had to be honest, I think we also have ourselves to blame for perpetuating this cycle of busyness.

In fact, in Carrie’s Wilkerson’s book, The Barefoot Executive, she says:  "A lot of you are too busy being busy. The difference between business and busyness is the i and the why - what purpose are you working for?"

Ouch. When I read that statement, I had to admit there was truth to it.

It inspired me to take an honest look at my own so-called busyness.  After much introspection, I’ve determined that it comes down to goals: knowing what they are, remaining steadfast in your approach and refusing to deviate because of guilt or fear.

If I can offer any advice, it’s to ask yourself a few questions before adding that next appointment to your calendar. They are:

By saying “yes” to this, what am I saying “no” to? There are only so many hours in a day and we must use every one of them wisely. If you say “yes” to something that doesn’t align with your goals, then you’re probably neglecting a bigger opportunity.    

How promising is this “opportunity?”   Watch out for requests for “coffees,” “opportunities” and “exploring ideas.” I’ve come to find out that there are many out there who are taking “shots in the dark” and simply wasting your time. I’m all for networking, but be leery of scheduling appointments that have no clear purpose.

Am I scheduling this because of guilt?  It’s human nature to do things we would rather not in order to avoid feeling guilty. Stop. Doing. This. Now. You’re not helping anyone by reluctantly scheduling appointments to please others.

Tip! What’s really been helpful to me is tracking and analyzing how I spend my time. I’m also a big believer in devoting time each week to business development.  I’ve tracked my growth over the years and can tell you that my stagnation points occurred at times when I stopped spending time ‘on’ my business. (Probably because I was too busy!)

When you start saying “no” to things that are wrong for you, you open yourself up to say “yes” to the right opportunities.  Don’t wait to purge yourself of busyness. Life is simply too short.

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4 comments on “Quit Being a Victim of Busyness”

  1. I have so got the busyness thing going on. I think I say yes too much and loose all my personal time. Thanks! Great Read!

  2. Hi Rachel, you mentioned tracking your growth over the years. Do you have any tips or techniques for how you do that?

    1. Hi Kieran,

      Thanks for reading - and for responding. Well, profit/loss is always a given. I think it comes down to goals more than anything. For me, the goal was increase revenue, but work less overall hours. That's what I worked toward and what I tracked.


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