I know that we are all busy, especially working or managing a small business. In the past, the more money you had, the more time you had to spend off and with family; the richer you were, the less you worked. However, that is not the case anymore. Now, the more you work, the more admired you are, ambition is attractive to people now.
The Cult of Busy
Nowadays employees brag about overworking and are trying to show off how in-demand they are, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. Instead of showing off your flashy items, you show off your overpacked calendar.
The new definition of success in the world is showing just how busy you are. I know it is easy to look at how busy other entrepreneurs are and wonder if you should be doing more. It makes you think that you are not doing enough and could be more ambitious or doing more for your own small business. That is a dangerous mindset; it is at this point that we start trading productivity, sleep, family, or our own well-being for trying to be busier. The crazy thing is, that doing this really does not get us anywhere.
Do you ever wonder how or why that is? It’s because the idea that being busy causes productivity is a myth. Just because you are moving and doing something does not mean that you are moving forward. Being successful in your business is more than other people’s opinion of you or your success.
Many of us have experienced burnout, overload of stress, and even sickness due to that stress from work. You are not alone in this, a survey reported that 46% of workers also are affected by this. This does not only affect us, but it says that it can cost U.S. business more than $150 billion in revenue a year because of, “lost productivity, absenteeism, poor decision-making, stress-related mental illness, and substance abuse.”
In our haul towards an attempt to grow, a study from the University of Chicago shows that we end up wasting time, resources, and our sanity on things that do not matter all in the name of feeling more productive.
Bottom line: People are not wired to multi-task, the more we shove into our daily work days, the more we are actually conditioning our brains to be less productive. Here are five ways that being busy can be dangerous.
5 Dangers of Being Busy
Here are five ways that being too busy can hurt your business.
- Being busy distracts from your customers.
When you are overly busy things such as customer service fall through the cracks. Your customers are not getting the attention that they deserve or need in order to make you memorable for them. Also, great customer service details are important to set you apart from competitors and make your customers feel valued. In order to give them the attention they need, it is important to not get caught up on being busy.
- Being too busy is not good for your health.
In order to run your business successfully you need to be in good health. While you should have a good team behind you, every person matters, and you are in charge of focusing on your vision and long-term goals for your business. Studies are showing that less people are taking their vacation days and more people are working longer hours. Working longer hours, not taking breaks, not sleeping enough, and too much stress are detrimental to your health and therefore your business.
- Being busy can destroy your team morale.
Speaking from experience, when your employees feel like there are too many useless meetings and busywork, it can crush morale and workplace spirit. It is important to carve out time to coach and mentor your employees and give them space to work like the professionals that you hired. When you have too much going on it tends to sress you out more and typically the burden of that falls negatively onto your team. This creates a negative domino effect of stress, bad productivity, and negativity.
- Being overly busy will lead to burnout.
In your business you need to focus on working on bettering your business instead of just working inside your business. Do not fill your day with busy work that anyone can do. Your job is to look at the big picture and work on growth for your company. You do not want to get stuck in only focusing and overworking in the present because that will lead to burnout which ultimately will halt your growth and productivity.
- Being busy will hinder your creativity.
A lot of people tend to get their best business ideas while in the shower, taking a walk outside, playing with their kids, watching a movie with family, or any other relaxing activity. This is actually very scientific! Neurologists studying brain scans discovered that our biggest creative moments happen when our brains are resting. When you are too busy and not resting, creativity falls behind.
3 Ways to Break Free
Now that you know how detrimental being too busy can be to your business, here are three things you can do to try to break free from “busy”.
- Press Pause
Do not be afraid to stop and rest. Resting is a good time to revisit your priorities and think about what really matters most for your business. Try to begin to think about time not based on activities, but priorities. So for example, instead of saying, “I do not have time to do that,” instead say, “that is not my priority.” This will begin to change your mindset to see the difference between productive and unproductive tasks.
- Learn how to say “no”
In order to grow your business, you want to be excited about projects that you take on and that will fill your time. If you are not passionate about something, then do not be afraid to say no to it. Only say yes to things that move you and your business forward.
- Track and guard your time
Sometimes I decide to take a break and look at FaceBook on my phone, and the next thing I know an hour has passed! This is common for a lot of people. Many times people do not realize how much time they are wasting. However, there are some good, free tools available to track how you are spending your day, such as: Timely or Harvest. Maybe take a period of time such as a week or two and track yourself and review the results. Then you can see what activities you do that help to grow your business and try to cut back on ones that are wasting your time.
On this same note, do not be afraid to guard time for yourself. I know there are times that I forget to eat lunch or do basic self-care when I get into a project. It is an important part of taking care of yourself and sometimes, that means we have to prioritize it and put it on our calendars. Information from: Felicia Sullivan with Small Biz Ahead