The number one complaint I get from corporate types is that they're too busy. And it's true that we seem to be busier these days. And more stressed.
But I wonder if the issue isn't really that we're more distracted, not more busy. We have plenty to do, but there's also a lot that's competing for our attention.
You're reading a blog right now (and I thank you for that). But how many blogs do you read? How much time do you spend on email? Facebook? Twitter? How much time surfing the net? IMimg? And that's just online. What about reality TV, video games, trashy magazines? All the things you do at home to just zone out?
And don't forget my favorite, the time we spend complaining about how busy we are!
My experience is that when I say I'm too busy, I often mean something else. Here are three possibilities that resonate with me.
1. Lack of focus. It can be hard to stay focused, and it's natural to want to take breaks. Trouble is that with all the distractions around us, a short break can quickly turn into an hour.
2. Lack of enjoyment. Sometimes, we enjoy the distractions more than we enjoy our work. I find myself completely zoning out on conference calls, comforted by what I can find online. And yes, distractions can include the support and attention that we get from others when we complain about how busy we are.
3. Lack of energy. Maybe we're not taking care of ourselves. If we don't get enough sleep or exercise, we can drag through the day. I know if I've not slept, my work day isn't about enjoyment, it's about survival.
When I feel a bit overwhelmed, typically one or more of these three things is going on. How about you?
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