Busy or Valuable?
“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.” – John Wooden
There is a large segment of the population, including a lot of leaders, who value “getting stuff done”. The more tasks we complete, the more valuable we are. If we can keep checking things off our to-do list, then we must be doing our job well.
What if most of the things you’re checking off the list aren’t worth that much? What if the tasks you complete aren’t that valuable? I ask people how they’re doing, and the most common answer I get is “We’re really busy” or “I’m staying busy”, as though busy-ness is a goal in itself. What if you’re busy doing things that don’t matter?
Leaders in particular need to make sure that the energy we spend is spent doing things that bring real value. If you’re a leader, and you spend an entire day doing something that really isn’t that valuable, and at the end of that day you’re completely exhausted, was that a good day? Or did you just waste both time & energy on stuff that doesn’t matter.
Not only do we only get so much time in a day, but we only have so much energy to use. We can adjust the energy amounts (diet, exercise, attitude, etc.), but in a given day there’s only so much in the tank. If we use whatever we have on things that don’t bring a lot of value, are we being great leaders? Or are we just overpaid?
Easy example in today’s world: email. Most people spend hours and hours sorting through emails. Some of important, most are not. How much of your energy is devoted to that task every day? What if you spent half as much time on email? How much your energy would you have for other things?
I’ve learned that my productivity is exponentially higher when my email is closed and my phone is somewhere I can’t see it. It’s like my brain says, “I guess I can’t focus on those things right now, so I’ll have to focus on something else”, and whatever important things I have in front of me get a much better version of me.
The internet is another great example. How much time & energy do you devote towards semi-mindless scrolling/reading? Never mind what specifically it is you’re reading. Rarely does anybody feel energized after cruising the internet. More often people are irritated, which beats down your energy in its own way.
Think about where you spend your time. Think about where you spend your energy. Think about what you’re doing when you’re really adding value to your business, to your employees, to your customers. Do those things overlap? They better, or you need to make some changes. Make them today.