Last week, my post about the choosing to be less busy received a lot of great feedback. Many people wrote to tell me that they feel “trapped” in this busy lifestyle because they don’t want to miss out, or feel like they are falling behind. Reading the emails reminded me of a quote I love by Thomas Edison:
Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment, and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”
When we spend our entire day responding to email, running around from meeting to meeting, and processing requests that come in by phone, we are not really working. Yes, we are busy, but when we get to the end of the day, what did we really accomplish? We have to be careful not to confuse activity with accomplishment. Remember, “Seeming to do is not doing.” Identify your priorities and start the day with a plan of what you absolutely must accomplish. Then, block off distractions and ensure that you are moving forward on your important tasks.
Yesterday, Guy Kawasaki wrote a post on LinkedIn about the glorification of busy, where he reviews Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder. Kawasaki states, “Our two main metrics for success are money and power, and they drive us to work longer hours, sleep with our phones and tablets, miss important moments with our families, and impacts our health. Arianna proposes a third metric for success: thriving. When you thrive, you take care of your health, get enough sleep, and do not live to work.”
I love this topic and the slow shift that it is bringing to our society. As a productivity expert, one of the biggest misconceptions that I often clarify is that time management is about learning how to do things faster so you can do more. The truth is the exact opposite. Time management is about doing the most important things first, which might mean you end up doing less. When you recognize that taking care of yourself and spending time connecting with the people you love are as important as getting your work done, then you can’t help but thrive.
If you want to hear more about this topic, you can join the live Goggle+ Hangout, How to Thrive and Create Joy at Work with Guy Kawasaki, Arianna Huffington and the author of Joy, Inc., Richard Sheridan to talk about building a life and business around the third metric and stopping the glorification of busy. You can watch live on 3/31 at 10 am PT or catch the replay at your convenience. I am planning on being there.