If your schedule is constantly jam-packed and you lack any semblance of balance, have you considered that you may have fallen into the busyness trap?
You may, not even be aware of your busyness addiction as you rush through your daily routine. I was that person—voice activating text messages in route to meetings; checking email while dialing in for a conference call, and simultaneously working out on the cardio machine!
Fortunately, I received a wake-up call after reading a New York Times article which states, “Busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily; classes and activities they’ve ‘encouraged’ their kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they may have to face in its absence.”
Before I could trade my busyness for balance, I had to debunk the following three myths.
‘Busyness’ or constantly being busy is inevitable in the 21st century. Wrong! People with busyness addictions have chosen this uber stressful way of life, or merely acquiesced to professional and social pressures. Learning how to communicate, ‘No’ confidently and in a manner which protects the relationship is critical. Without these skills, which are taught in the world famous Dale Carnegie Course for Effective Communications, we lose control of our own schedules and ultimately, our lives.
Busy people are more important than less busy people. Are the same people still working in the office when you leave each night? I once naively believed that these people must be very important to be so darn busy all of the time. In reality, however, they may struggle with their own busyness addictions or may not have the ability to delegate nor to handle all of the responsibilities demanded by their role within the organization. On the other hand, when groups of co-workers headed to lunch every day, I thought, “They must not be that important if they can take off like that every single day!” Truth be told, those employees have more than likely attained work-life balance and fiercely protect their break time because they know it enables them to be more productive when they are in the office.
Multi-tasking makes me more productive. This simply is not true. In fact, it is physiologically impossible because the human brain is incapable of processing two simultaneously occurring actions. Shifting back and forth between tasks actually causes your productivity rate to plummet. In the book, Brain Rules, author John Medina reveals that multitaskers experience a 40% drop in productivity across the board. Moreover, Medina shares that it also takes 50% longer to accomplish a single task and make up to 50% more errors when compared to workers who focus on one task at a time.
Dale Carnegie said, “Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” Have the courage to say ‘No,’ to focus on one task at a time and to trade busyness for balance.