Some time ago I wrote a short piece called “No Virtue in Being Busy.” My point was to say that I believe there is very little value in how busy we appear to be because our calendars and schedules are full to overflowing. A follow up article published here recently was called “The Appearance of Productivity” and was based on an article by James Surowiecki in the January 27 issue of The New Yorker entitled “The Cult of Overwork.” His point was that our culture tends to put some kind of value on because we work so much, such long hours and seven days a week, that proves that our job is really worthwhile.
Many of these observations on my part have come from watching the frenetic concern that so many seem to express about cramming as much as possible into a day, week, month or year. The more you can demonstrate you can handle, the more competent, successful and high achieving you are. Really? Is that how you choose to spend your time and energy? In working during the vast majority of your conscious, waking hours? And, in most cases it seems to be justified because it is helping and serving others. Someone said that few people at the end say, “I wish I had spent more time working.”
If for some reason you had to eliminate about half of what is on your schedule, could you do it? One-fourth? What would you keep and what could you jettison? Let’s explore why that could be a good idea, or at least why considering that option as a possible choice might be a good exercise. If you haven’t had to do it yet because of some kind of family crisis or emergency, there is a good chance that you will. And if you did it, what happened to those things that you let go? Either some one else took care of them or you followed up later, right? Those things decreased quickly in order of importance in the face of more important needs.
I want to suggest here that you choose to take some time for yourself as a more important need. Doing that means you will then be able to take care of others better, whether colleagues or family members. You can choose to take time to reflect, renew, regenerate, recharge or maybe even get rid of the re part and generate, charge and think about what you’re doing and why. Focus on purpose as much as productivity. Consider how you and others value what it is that you are doing with all that time that you devote to your work.
On the Professional Development page at www.leadershipanddesign.com you will find four distinct opportunities that are designed with you in mind. They are essentially about leadership and focused on you, the leader. If you choose to take this time for yourself, I assure you that both you and those with whom you live and work will be the better for your having done that. Pick the one that speaks to your needs and desires and sign up now if possible. Some are already limited and others are open. These opportunities are here for you to choose in response to your own personal and professional expectations and not those of anyone else. Your choice, your time, just for you.