‘How are you?’ one business women says to another.
‘Good… but busy. Flat out actually,’ her friend replies.
We’re all busy. It’s like a badge of honour. If you’re not busy then what are you doing with your life? If you’re not busy then you’re obviously not working hard enough, and not deserving of success, love or coffee. Maybe the coffee is going too far. But you know what I mean. We all feel the pressure of being busy and some of that pressure comes from our peers and our clients, but a lot of it comes from ourselves.
And there’s nothing wrong with being busy. Not the public face of busy-ness anyway. But I believe there’s ‘Good’ busy and ‘Bad’ busy.
I’m talking about what goes on behind the scenes in your business and your life, as you’re juggling all of the things.
There will always be times that are busier than others. A deadline, an event, a big client proposal or job, a sale or a launch.
Then there’s the personal stuff. Your child doing HSC, family members illness, elderly parents, your own poor health, a wedding or new baby, buying a house, building or renovating, car trouble, relationship trouble. It can be good or bad, but it’s all stressful.
And stress affects your hormones and your health. Long term it can affect your wellbeing, fitness, weight, and overall happiness.
So what you need to watch and monitor is for when that short term ‘busy’ turns into long term ‘busy’. If you’re constantly overwhelmed by deadlines and stress and busy-ness with no end in sight, then something has to change. It can’t continue.
What can you do when you’re caught in that busy-ness trap?
The first thing to do is the last thing you probably think you have time for – Stop. Take a time out.
Step back and take your self out of the business for a day, an afternoon, or even an hour.
Turn off the phone and get away.
Spend some time thinking and asking yourself these questions.
- What is happening, how long has it been going on, and is there an end in sight?
- What can you do to take the pressure off (see this blog post: delete, delegate or defer)?
- Who can help?
- Is it long term or short term?
The other thing that can help is to talk it over with someone.
Get a mentor, a mastermind group, or even just a friend. It’s good to get a new perspective, and someone else can often look at the big picture and see things that you won’t when you’re too close to it.
So how busy are you?
Is it ‘good’ busy or ‘bad’ busy?
And next time someone asks you how you are, pause for a minute before you reply, and see if you can think of an answer other than ‘busy’.