Don’t do busy work

I think as a society we cajole the attention and admiration that comes with “being busy.” There’s this sense of importance, superiority and significance. Of course, all of that clings on the hope that others don’t really find out what you’re busy with. Right?

Listen, if you’re wondering where or how the whole day went by you’ve got a serious challenge that needs to be addressed. It’s this — know what the heck you’re busy with! Unless you plan to live like that rudderless ship that’ll let the waves determine it’s destination.

I know what you’re thinking — that’s cliche! Perhaps it is. But that pales in comparison to the grand accomplishments you want to achieve and the amount of work you’ve done to make it happen. I think we ignore the power of putting in the work on a daily basis. Instead, we focus on those grand goals for the next 1, 5 or 10 years. How the heck are you going to achieve them? Lord knows. You certainly think you know or will figure something out, but you won’t. Why? Because you’re busy!

And here’s the worst part — you’ll have everyone in your team doing busy work as well. Because you can’t stand the sight of employees slacking off. I respect that. But what exactly are they busy with? And how is their busyness helping your company/team to move further towards the established goals?

I get blank stares when I ask these questions. The challenge is that we have the right intention to set plans but not enough motivation to work the plans. How do you get that motivation? By working on your goals every day. Without fail.

Get your team to help you out with your goals. Make them part of your big goals for the year (or the next 5/10 years) or perhaps one of your smaller (but significant) goals and hold them accountable! Set DUMB goals* and get after it!

Let me tell you amount of energy that we spend doing busywork is stupendous! We’re so much better served siphoning all that energy into work that is meaningful and will help us and our organisations/teams to grow.

The key is to raise the bar but don’t leave it hanging there, make an effort to reach it!

P.S. *Here’s an awesome video that I found on DUMB goals. And I really encourage you to consider adopting this. It’s way (aayyyyyy) more engaging that SMART goals and much fun!

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