A recent article in the New York Times suggested that everyone is busy today because they want to be. People perceive themselves as being more valuable if they are busy – as if we are programmed to think that there is something wrong with us if we sit on the beach for too long.
Of course, this is a trap. Being busy does not necessarily mean that you achieve more. It is possible to spend all day chatting on Twitter – does it mean you have achieved more with that working day than you could have done if you focused on the tasks you really need to complete?
But what is modern life for most managers anyway? Meetings – lots of them.
And what do they achieve? Usually, very little.
I know that I have looked at my diary before and seen back-to-back meetings scheduled for several days. Each of them is important in their own way, but meetings usually lead to actions and if your day is just spent rushing from one meeting to another then when are the actions ever actioned?
Being busy isn’t the best way to achieve a lot at work. Thinking about what you need to achieve and then focusing on that task, rather than just using your email as a to-do list makes an enormous difference.
That’s real achievement at work, not just looking busy.
Photo by Daniel Morris licensed under Creative Commons