We are all busy. And for a lot of us, we feel we are busier than ever before. People are working weekends, longer hours, and even bring working home from the office. But how much of this extra effort is actually work? Too often people confuse “busy” with progress, success and work.
The real question is: are you busy being busy or are you busy progressing? To find out where you fall in the spectrum, review these common mistakes of the “busy just to be busy” crowd:
Failing to act. Many people avoid issues in the hopes that if they don’t do anything to solve the problem it will just go away. However, more times than not, if you fail to act things will likely fail to turn out the way you want. The repercussions of the avoidance will likely create unnecessary work in the future to solve the problem.
As a CEO you are going to have tough situations come up; you get to choose whether to address them or ignore them. If you want to progress, deal with the issue promptly.
Giving up too quickly. Too many people take this route. You try to solve a problem, but it didn’t work so you give up assuming it is not possible. In reality, if you would have tried a slightly different approach you may have found success.
Sometimes all you need to do is modify your plans to find the outcome you are looking for. Don’t walk away from something defeated if you haven’t exhausted all the possible solutions. It may only take a minor tweak to turn failure into success (and save you time in the future).
Failing to measure the things that are important. Assumptions are often made about the outcome of specific situations, so you simply accept them and don’t bother to set up measurements. The issue with this approach is that you don’t know how successful or unsuccessful the outcome really was. You are left with only a gut feeling of how you did rather than really knowing. Was progress one of the outcomes? Was the time you invested worth it?
Staying in your comfort zone. If you continue to do what you’ve always done, expect the results to be the same as they always have. If your expectation is growth or change, you are going to need to step out of your comfort zone to achieve the new result you are looking for. Stepping out of your comfort zone will require you to step away from the “being busy just to be busy” mentality.
Confusing “busy” with work. Chances are that not everything you do throughout your day is actually work. A great example of this is the average meeting. Keep in mind that meetings do not equal work; they equal time. Work is when you are actually accomplishing something, whether you are exchanging information, making a decision, or moving a process forward. A bunch of people sitting around talking may or may not be work.
To adopt a “busy progressing” work attitude, you can either limit the number of “busy meetings” so you can accomplish more work or transition your meetings into “working meetings”.
Hiring people to change them. You may think, “This person is perfect! Except for this and this.” So you hire them with the anticipation of changing them to be exactly what you need. The truth is, people don’t usually change. And if they do, it isn’t that drastic. If the person isn’t right, don’t hire them or you will find yourself picking up some of the burden of trying to change them and doing the work they aren’t suited for. The solution is simple, hire the right person instead of the almost good enough candidate.
Do any of these mistakes look familiar? How many of these have you made? How can you change your work day to avoid these mistakes in the future?