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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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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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