The definition of busy

13th February 2012

Life in the agency world moves a million miles an hour. OK make that a bazillion. There are few days I spend more than a few hours at my desk and without my two monitors and mobile phone, I don’t know how I could juggle all of my open projects. You could say things around here keep you a bit busy.

Last week, I challenged myself to rid the word busy from my vocabulary.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself stressing more about what I have to get done than actually tackling the projects in front of me with a smile on my face. The negativity leaves me dreading tasks rather than excited at the challenge. The truth is we are all busy, but what I’ve come to realize is we all have a different definition of the word busy.

A coworker and I had a discussion about this topic a few weeks ago while out for an afternoon run and came to the conclusion that you are really only as busy as you want to be. You can always make time for the projects you want to work on, the afternoon runs and the quick conversations that mean the most.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”  – Marcus Aurelius

After cutting the word (and a few others) from my vocabulary and focusing on what I could accomplish and how to get there, I found myself not only a lot more productive, but also more positive and less exhausted at the end of each day.

Clearly just cutting a word from my vocabulary isn’t going to force action, but luckily, there are quite a few tools out there to help you along the way.

  • Wunderlist – I keep note of all of my ongoing projects and tasks with this desktop app
  • Evernote – How did anyone keep track of multiple notebooks before this one? My favorite extension – seamless sync across devices. This means even my grocery list ends up here as I think of things throughout the week
  • A good old fashioned technology break – I know, crazy. Sometimes I am the most productive when taking a break from work. Trying eating lunch outside for 15 minutes this week, it will change your outlook, promise

There are some days that can’t be helped. Sometimes you just need to vent and sometimes there really are not enough hours in the day, but what I’ve realized is talking, thinking or stressing will not to accomplish any of it. Guess what? Next week I’m going to learn a whole new definition of busy, so what better way to prepare than to avoid the thought of it all together.

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