An email arrived from my friend Yinka a while ago, informing me that rather than being productive, I was actually being lazy.
My mouth dropped open. I was momentarily outraged.
Then I read on.
She’d been listening to an audiobook and heard the narrator say this:
“Being Busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
WTF? Lazy people aren’t busy! Lazy people lounge around moaning about stuff all day, don’t they?
Well, yes… but also no. Apparently the audiobook went onto explain:
“On a superficial level, being busy is a satisfying substitute for doing important work. It’s very easy to confuse ‘activity’ with ‘productivity’.”
At this point in my friend’s email, a lightbulb went on and I sat back to have a little think about it.
Because I am busy.
To the point where I find it very difficult to just sit down and BE for a while. I feel like I’m wasting time if I’m just chilling out, if I’m doing nothing, if I’m resting. How bonkers is that?
(Very. You don’t have to answer that)
But that’s not even the worst thing. The worst thing about me and my busyness is I use it as a form of procrastination — the thing I find very hardest of all is getting started. I’m great with ideas, I have tons of them; and I’m very enthusiastic about them, too — I’ll plan and make notes and get excited… and then struggle to get started.
Instead, I’ll be busy.
Which, as the audiobook said, is just a con. My brain cons me into thinking I’m being productive, when what I’m actually being is busy, and they’re not necessarily the same thing at all.
I’d go so far as to say they’re often not the same thing.
All this prompted me into using my life planner slightly differently… so I can make sure the top 3 things I have to do each day are actually useful. Only after I’ve done those am I allowed to be busy.
How about you? If you’re really honest with yourself, are you getting the right stuff done? Or are you just busy?
The first thing I get you to do when you join the Inner Circle is take a long, hard look at yourself and your business and get your priorities straight. I also give you the tools to focus on the stuff that makes a difference:
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS Here’s one great result of focus: over the past month, the cartooning course I’ve been doing has been on a break. It would have been really easy for me to also be on a break… but instead, I set myself a goal to draw a cartoon every day. And aside from one day – Christmas Day, I think – I did it. I’ve entirely filled my little Moleskine sketchbook: the last drawing went in last night (you can see it up there↑)… and today, the course starts up again.