busyness


I don’t Multi-task…I JUGGLE!

Multitasking

I used to describe myself as a self-starter and brilliant multi-tasker.  When someone needed to get six things done at once, I was the gal to call! You know the old saying, “When you want something done, ask a busy person!” Well, that was me. Always busy… and always willing to make time to take on one more task. I prided myself on getting it all done and doing it all at once.

After reading a few articles on the dangers of multi-tasking, however, I realized that when I’m being most productive I am not multi-tasking, I’m juggling!  Think about it. Juggling is about breaking down complex patterns and maneuvers into simple tasks to keep a number of rapidly shifting balls in the air. It’s a process. And having worked for many years with Beth Schneider at Process Prodigy (as her lead ‘Systems Goddess’), I learned to recognize, appreciate and love a good process!

Look, I’m still a fan of any product that ‘cleans my toilet bowl while I work’ or makes me beautiful while I sleep. Anytime I can accomplish two things at once, I’m in! I love that I can set the cook time on my oven and write a blog while the casserole is cooking. And though we might call that multi-tasking, it isn’t really, is it? Two things are happening concurrently, but I’m only actively doing one at a time. And, to carry this even further; if I’ve also loaded and started the dishwasher, dropped off my car at the dealership (where they wash it after fixing it) and asked my neighbor to pick up a few things for me when she goes to the market… I’m mega juggling!!!

The following is an excerpt from Fast Company, Juggling by Anna Muoio: As you read it, think of juggling TASKS instead of balls, fire sticks or knives. It makes so much sense!

“We all have to juggle different types of things…  If I throw you three different objects all at once, you have a limited time to gauge the weight, texture, and size of what’s about to fall into your hand.  So you have to develop different ways of grasping the objects.  If you try to grasp one as you would another, you’re going to miss— you may even get hurt. Try to understand the characteristics of the objects coming at you.  Worse than dropping objects is letting them collide in the air and fall in random patterns.  To prevent this, you need to create a separate flight path for each object.”

If you look at things in only one way, you’ll be greatly restricted in how many objects (or tasks) you can juggle.  Yet, you can be a very successful juggler if you’re willing and able to look at your objects or to-do list of tasks, in a number of different ways – to get a clear perception and unscramble the patterns; see them all at once, and create a plan that addresses all of them and creates balance.

Balance is an essential skill in juggling— as essential as it is in life.  But the balance I’m referring to is not perfect equilibrium and stillness.  It’s the ability to make quick and exquisitely refined responses to any unexpected change.  In other words, expect the best and plan for the worst!

Just like a good juggler, I’m constantly figuring out how to best keep ‘all my balls in the air’.  I know I can never have absolute control over any situation, so I stay alert, flexible and open to change. Juggling – including task-juggling – builds your focus muscles. It’s about being flexible in dealing with the unexpected and adjusting as necessary, keeping all your balls in the air and staying FOCUSED on one thing at a time! It’s good to be a juggler!


BUSYNESS IS NO BADGE OF HONOR

Busy

 

Did You Get the Memo? The Gig Is Up And The Word Is Out: BUSYNESS, which has long masqueraded as the ultimate identifying trait of significance and productivity is finally being recognized and widely regarded as what’s it’s always been: an unsustainable, seldom productive, stress producing, potentially life-threatening condition. SO GIVE IT UP! STOP IT RIGHT NOW! Busyness is no badge of honor… it’s just plain CRAZY!

Your life is not a dance card that someone else is filling in for you. No one appropriated your precious Google calendar and triple booked your life. It was not a stranger who signed you up to bake two-dozen homemade cookies for the luncheon or forced you to edit your neighbor’s son’s resume. Your friends did not twist your arm or threaten you with certain death if you did not invite them over for a dinner party next weekend, and no one is making you go to that play that you don’t even want to see.

When the phone rings you don’t actually have to answer it – some people believe in the magic of voicemail. Facebook, Candy Crush, Instagram, You Tube, Words With Friends and your email all have off buttons. The only person making you so overwhelmingly, crazy busy, is you. Isn’t it time you were a little nicer to the person who feeds you and chooses your underwear?

Busyness, especially in the extreme, is a choice, not a condition. I like to stay busy; it makes me happy. Or at least that’s what I’ve always declared – and what I’ve always done. Being referred to as the prototype for the Energizer Bunny has always filled me with pride. When I’m “crazy busy” I get so much done. I feel so accomplished and valuable. Productivity is a party for my ego and I love a good party… BUT (There’s always a ‘but’, isn’t there?) maybe I have my priorities messed up.

What if busyness is a detriment to productivity (scientific fact: IT IS!) and multi-tasking is it’s creepy, sneaky partner (another scientific fact: IT IS!)? What if never napping or sleeping in ISN’T proof of greatness, as my father always told me?

Okay, time for me to take a look at whom I’ve been “BEING” in the area of busyness.

Could it be that I’ve been using my busyness as a safety net – a way to avoid the things that might enhance my life… but, then again, might not? When there was a task that I didn’t get done (or done really well or completed on time), did I use busyness as my popularly accepted, credible excuse? “Oh, I was soooo busy.” And when I was asked to do something that either scared me or that I simply didn’t want to do, did my almost manic busyness become my unrecognized, built in excuse – politely declining because I was, well, “so crazy busy”?

I get it. My busyness is not really serving me. It needs a serious overhaul. My beingness needs a workout plan. When I have my plan worked out, I’ll share it with you… If I’m not too BUSY!

 


I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO THAT I’LL PLAY CANDY CRUSH… 1

By:  Sandye Linnetz

Candy Crush

You know the feeling. I had it just an hour ago. It’s that fuzzy headed, stomach tightening, anxiety ridden sense that you’re doomed. You can’t possible get it ALL done, so what’s the use? Why tackle it? I mean, really, where do you even start? Everything is important. Most of it’s kinda urgent. You promised to finish all of it by bedtime tonight…

So you sit down to attempt it (okay, I sat down to attempt it) and found myself first staring blindly at the computer screen and then beginning to ‘surf’. Even though I know better… even though I tell my clients to eliminate distractions, turn off attention grabbing dings, buzzes and rings and tackle the tough stuff first – today I simply vegged! Unfocused and unsure of what to do first, I started out on what I randomly chose to be task #1 – not because it was the most important – just because. Okay, truth? Because it was mindless. Then, almost immediately, I decided to take a smoke break… Went downstairs and remembered that I don’t smoke anymore. Walked back upstairs to my office and checked my email, facebook and my nails. I moved papers around on my desk. I went to the bathroom. I DID EVERYTHING BUT GET TO WORK!

See, this morning I had this whole list in my head (danger! The list was WHERE???) from business stuff to personal calls and from household chores to weights to lift, but I just couldn’t seem to get started on anything! I promised myself that I’d write three blog posts, work out with my weights for 20 minutes and take a quick shower within the next two hours. I PROMISED! Then I had the brilliant thought that perhaps a quick game of Candy Crush would relax me and get me into work mode. Fifteen guilt-ridden minutes and two levels later…

STOP!

That’s the way it was for me (though perhaps I was a bit more frenetic than the picture I just painted). For a full 37 minutes I did nothing of ‘value’. I was in the process of berating myself and feeling crappy, when I literally shouted: “STOP!” Clearly it was time for me to follow my very wise coaching advice … and a re-frame.

First I congratulated myself on taking the 37minute break that I so obviously needed. I reminded myself that taking care of my needs allows me to be a far better producer! Then, sitting at my desk, I took a few deep breaths, drank some water and began to make a task list. When the list felt complete and the absolutely must dos had been circled, I turned off the ringer on my phone and the sound on my computer and dived into the list – starting with the stuff that HAD to be done.  The new clarity was joy producing!

So here I am, blogging away… checking stuff off my list… feeling pleased with myself and the world. I’ll play a quick game of candy crush later!


BUSYNESS is a CHOICE – Part 2

Busy

BUSYNESS is a CHOICE – Part 2

By Sandye Linnetz

For people like me, being busy is a choice, not a condition. Yes, we all have the same amount of time each day and we choose how to use that time. I like to stay busy (BUSY, I hear, is the new “fine”). If we’re “crazy busy” our egos get to celebrate our supreme importance. And, come on, who doesn’t like to be supremely important? We probably won’t miss anything even if we’re not constantly checking email and social media, but… why take that chance, right? And, in case we don’t get something done (or done really well or completed on time), we do have a popularly accepted, credible excuse. And in case we don’t want to do something, we have a built in excuse for not doing that, too. We were busy. The question is: Busy doing what?

When busyness is courted as a virtue, we give it carte blanche to be used as a description of who we are and the REASON for what we do and don’t do. I call ‘bull-shit’! There’s no such thing as being too busy to do something you value. If it truly matters to you, you make the time for it. When we tell someone we’re “too busy”, it isn’t necessarily a reflection of our schedule – it’s more likely to be a reflection of where they (or what they need or want from us) are on our priority list. Ouch, that doesn’t feel very good…

Here’s a thought: What if we didn’t gauge the value of our days by how busy we were – or even how productive, but by how we (and those in our lives) feel at the end of a day? If you really WANT to be busy, be busy… I’m going to be busy taking a run this morning. After that I have decided to be busy taking a relaxing shower and maybe even a short nap before I do client calls and writing. I know I’ll be wildly productive because I’ll be busy being grateful, doing good and spreading joy, too! What will you be busy doing today?

P.S. I did it. I ran (though I was sorta busy listening to a book on tape at the same time) and I did have a long and lovely shower (yes, there’s a drought so I guess I won’t wash tomorrow). I skipped the nap but I did at least sit down and do NOTHING for 10 minutes straight (it seemed so much loooonger)! Here’s what I noticed: PEACE and CALM! I got everything done and felt terrific. The only thing I didn’t do was play computer games – no loss there. So, I got busy doing things that totally supported me and had extra energy for the work I FOCUSED on later in the day.

There’s NO BUSY-NESS like slow busyness.


How BUSY I am in None of Your Busy-ness! (Part One)

 Too Busy

How BUSY I am is None of Your BUSY-ness! (Part One)

By Sandye Linnetz

“Don’t bother her, she’s very busy.”

“He doesn’t have time for that, he’s a very busy man!”

“If you want something done ask a busy person to do it.”

“Better BUSY than BORED.”

Most of us grew up believing that busy people were (by definition) unavailable, important and valuable people. Being busy, more than a good thing to be, was a condition to cherish; synonymous with hard at work and proof of success. What if being busy just sucks?

I saw a quote (attributed to no one in particular) that referred to ‘busy’ as the new ‘fine’. In the ‘good old days’ when you asked someone, “How are you?” the default response was “I’m fine”. Today the most common answers are: “Busy”, “So busy” and “Crazy busy”! When did we adopt this aversion to free time, relaxation and idleness? We stay ‘crazy busy’ to avoid all of that. Admittedly, I am the poster child for busy-ness. I can’t sit still, I don’t nap or rest or assume the role of couch potato in front of the TV. My father always told me that ‘lazy people’ nap and sleep late – smart people were active and productive. Looks like I bought that…

My father taught me to judge my days based on my productivity. The more I accomplished the better I was! (Today, for example, I got up at 6:30am and by noon had done a work out, a load of laundry, made a fresh pot of coffee, emptied the dish washer, changed the bed sheets, flipped a mattress, watered and weeded the plants, ran three miles, showered, played candy crush and Sudoku, washed the kitchen floor, outlined a blog post, read some emails and the ‘news’ on facebook, had a coaching call with a client, did some internet searching, made breakfast (of course, cleaned it all up) and emptied out all the junk from my car. Whew! I am so proud of myself… and so totally exhausted! Busy is a drug that people like me are addicted to.

It would appear that most of my busyness was productive, right? Well, I neglected to say how MUCH Candy Crush and Sudoku I played… And, yes, I spend waaaay too much time on facebook and those games. Not all of my busyness is business! Often I find myself busy being busy. I start something, move to something else, do something for someone else, make a phone call, go back to thing one, take a phone call, leave it to start a new project… It’s hard to FOCUS when you’re busy! Being busy is doing stuff – not necessarily getting valuable stuff done.

People today wear their busyness like a medal of honor – like being busy means they’re important and worthwhile. To feel truly significant, it seems that we are somehow ‘required’ to be in action all the time – even when doing nothing might be a better way to go. Here’s a thought, maybe doing nothing and totally enjoying it is way more powerful than being ‘busy’ doing nothing. What if the ‘downtime’ actually allowed us to be more productive? In the blog next week I’ll experiment with ‘doing nothing’ (which, if you know me, is a BIG DEAL) and report back.