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21 Reasons Why You Should not be Proud of Being Busy

21 Reasons Why You Should not be Proud of Being Busy

It’s 2015, and you are laser focused. You built a vision board, cleaned your work space, and mapped out your short-term and long-term goals. You’ve got back to back meetings, a new idea for a side hustle, and all types of new ideas. You’re on fire.

Unfortunately, fires aren’t always sustainable. The best ones eventually fizzle out, and if they don’t get the right amount of oxygen and kindling, they become ashes. That shouldn’t happen to you though, and here are 21 ways to keep your busy life from affecting your goals.

1. When you’re busy, you aren’t present.

Life is made up of hundreds of thousands of moments. Some that move us, others that change us, and some that provoke us to action. Being busy takes us away from those moments.

Millennial expert Jullien Gordon has a remedy for this: know the difference between being a workaholic vs. a high performer. The former wants to look more important, but the latter seeks out important work. Knowing the difference can help you do more in each moment of your day.

2. When you’re busy, you opt out of opportunities.

Opportunities are everywhere. They come up in coffee shops, via social media outlets like Twitter, and through mutual connections. When you’re busy, you often miss opportunities because you only see them as distractions, not spaces for you to grow and advance.

3. When you’re busy, you confuse motion for progress.

We all want to do more with what we have. Unfortunately, we think being busy means we are making strides. The Pareto Principle presents another hypothesis which deserves some attention. It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your time. If you are able to figure out what that 20% looks like (and the actions you take to get there), you can create immeasurable leverage. That means you’ll spend more time doing the things that really drive you toward your goals, and not just “things” to fill space.

4. When you’re busy, you don’t prioritize effectively.

Priorities are how we separate the things that we need to do, versus ones that we should. They keep us in line and on track. But when we are too busy, everything seems like it needs to be done. It doesn’t. When you identify what matters versus what can wait, you become efficient with your time, allowing you to do the things you really want to do and with more regularity.

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5. When you’re busy, you make excuses for actual problems.

When we have so much to do, sometimes we can’t focus on problems. That can be productive, but unhealthy. Issues in our lives can only be ignored until they seep into other places where they shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t wait until you’re on the verge of a breakdown to address something that’s hurting you. But when you’re too busy, sometimes that’s the only way to get your own attention. Don’t wait for it to get there.

6. When you’re busy, you’re more prone to multitask (which your brain hates).

How many tabs do you have open right now? I average between six and nine on a good day. That alone damages my brain by 40%. That productivity we so desperately crave is undermined when we do a lot of things at once. That workflow has to stop. It feels great, but it’s terrible for you.

Instead, try a new workflow. Single-tasking is exactly what it sounds like: doing one task, with no distractions. It may take some time to adopt this new type of workflow, but it will do wonders for you in the long term.

7. When you’re busy, you forget to invest in yourself.

You are the most important company you’ll ever work for. In order to keep growing and expanding, it’s imperative that you fight to continue your growth. The internet has become the new library. Ted Talks, Khan Academy, and thousands of other courses are there for you to take advantage of. It doesn’t have to be “traditional” learning either. Taking time to invest in a hobby or side project can help you be better at your job.

Before you say you don’t have time, here’s a better question:

Can you afford to stay the same and still grow?

8. When you’re busy, your vision gets blurry.

Ideally, you’re busy because you are working towards something. A new job, a promotion, financial freedom, or simply trying to change something. It’s hard to remember your “why” for doing what you do. But it’s arguably the most important motivator you’ll ever have.

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That’s exactly what Lo, the founder of Can’t Stay Put, did. Can’t Stay Put is a lifestyle movement built to inspire people to break out of their comfort zones, see the world, and live the lives they only dreamed about. She did that by finding her vision and purpose on a trip to Maui, and hasn’t looked back since. She transformed her life by finding out exactly what she was supposed to be doing.

9. When you’re busy, you forget to love and care for yourself.

Self-love should be non-negotiable in your life. It should be a part of how you remain successful. Taking a vacation or a day off isn’t being lazy or neglecting your responsibilities: it’s a part of remaining in shape holistically, in mind, body, and spirit.

10. When you’re busy, you don’t make time for doing nothing.

The most successful people in the world take time to actively not do things. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner schedules blocks of time that are free periods for him to think, strategize, and refocus. If a CEO can find time, I challenge you to also figure out areas where you can block your own time. If your schedule is preset, try waking up earlier

11. When you’re busy, you equate patience with complacency.

Great things take time and effort. With only a finite amount of time, you can control your effort. Sometimes we think our efforts should put us in a different place immediately. It’s never that simple, though. Being busy creates a myth of perpetual progress: the faster we move, the closer we are getting to our goals, right?

Not always. Your effort, multiplied by your consistency, is what sets you up to capitalize on the moments that are made for you to shine. Patience means you’re not watching the scoreboard, as you’re in the game everyday. Don’t count the number of shots you take, because you only need one to win the game.

12. When you’re busy, you unconsciously sacrifice consistency.

Since being busy isn’t tied to getting work done, its easy to become caught up inside the daily grind. Things change, and the time you had dedicated to gaining a skill or learning something new gets pushed aside. That might appear expedient in the short term, but building that new skill could be the key to taking you or your business to the next level.

13. When you’re busy, you don’t have time to think.

Thinking deeply and clearly is a skill that comes with practice. When we’re busy, we have to deal with floods of information, and often we are responsible for opening the dam. Professor and author Cal Newport describes the benefits of deep work (which requires deep thought) in three ways:

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1. Continuous improvement of the value of your work output.
2. An increase in the total quantity of valuable output you produce.
3. Deeper satisfaction (aka., “passion”) for your work.

Those outcomes are exactly what we try to produce as a result of our productivity

14. When you’re busy, you neglect to set boundaries.

Our world is always-on. Texts, tweets, emails, and status updates. Most of them can be dealt with later, but we choose to take all of them at once. Answering email isn’t your job; its a function of the role you have. If you dont have distinct times when you aren’t doing that, then you can easily be side tracked. If you’re focused, you’re always going to be thinking about your work in some aspect, but you shouldn’t always be available. Know the difference.

15. When you’re busy, you aren’t working to your potential.

Being busy requires a consistent shifting of focus, which takes you away from using concentrated effort to complete the tasks you need too. The Harvard Business Review calls this cumulative attention debt, and it keeps people from generating new ideas and solutions to complex problems. Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert has an insightful quote on how to tell if you’re really living up to where you should be:

“Innovation is rewarded, but execution is worshipped.”

You can only execute when you have the space to develop ideas. Being busy takes you out of that space.

16. When you’re busy, your friends can quickly become acquaintances.

Friendship is a critical component in how we engage in the world. We need other perspectives and opinions to help shape us, push us, and develop us. But being busy, we often put our friends on the fringes. We’re so busy on the grind that we don’t have time for their counsel or insights. That’s a risky endeavor, as they are sometimes the only people who are able to tell us about ourselves and have it stick. Make time for the people who will tell you the truth, especially when you don’t want to hear it.

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17. When you’re busy, you become emotionally unavailable.

How many times have you tried to be there for someone, but knew only 60% of you was there? The other 40% was scattered around various places, and your mind was racing. Executive coach and charisma expert Olivia Fox Cabane lists three key components for developing higher levels of charisma: power, warmth and presence.

18. When you’re busy, you’re really joining a cult no one ever wants to be in.

Everyone is always doing something, and our culture rewards efficiency, even when it’s not practical nor sustainable. The ‘cult of busy’ is an association that we opt into because of work, the speed of life, and an incessant desire to try and do everything. It taps our relationships, drains us physically, and leaves us confused and looking for answers. Work will always be there, but the connections and moments that we cherish and are intrinsic to our humanity, won’t be.

19. When you’re busy, you forget to dream.

Dreams fuel us. They let us break through our current state, and are the building blocks of desire. Without the dream, your passion and drive won’t be sustained long enough for you to actualize them. Dreaming is what allows seemingly ordinary people to do extraordinary things

20. When you’re busy, you put your health in danger.

Being constantly busy can trigger chronic stress, which leads to a host of issues that aren’t good for your body. It doesn’t have to be that way, especially when you build a routine that prioritizes your health. There are dozens of apps to help you maintain a better regimen and routine. But it’s really about what you want for yourself. If you’re truly serious about doing incredible work, then you will be equally as committed to keeping your body in tune.

21. When you’re busy, you forget your “why”.

Your “why” allows you to achieve and persist under adverse circumstances, when a lot of other people might tap out. It’s what allows you to persevere through crazy work hours in the first place. But you’re not simply a worker. To consistently remember it though, you need to create time to refresh and think about the reason you do what you do.

Having things to do isn’t bad. But busyness without purposefulness is a recipe for burnout and personal dissatisfaction. Make 2015 the year for you to live (or find) your purpose, commitment  to being present, and fight to own your schedule. It isn’t easy, but nothing worth having is. Let’s make 2015 the year we measure the importance of the work we do, instead of how much of our calendars we can fill up. Let’s hold each other accountable and make this year the best we’ve ever had.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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