A daughter ran away from home and went to live with her boyfriend. After a few days, she called home. Her mother answered and she announced, “Mom, we’re engaged!” Her jaded mother replied, “In what?”
That would be our response as well if someone announces that they’re busy at work or business. Busy-ness is normal. What is NOT normal is “What are you busy about?” Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing or are you doing things for the sake of doing things? What are your priorities? Are your priorities in order? Let’s see what a few of them might be.
Is a full third of your schedule scheduled for “Nothing Time”? “Nothing time” for reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts, walking along the beach and calling on a contact or two just to talk about dreams and possibilities? Catching a flight to a nearby island for lunch? Yes, I do mean during so-called “business hours”. If you don’t have that, time to do something about it. Make sure your people have it, too!
2. Shopping time.
Yes, you already have people doing this for you. Would you be interested in browsing, getting a sense of what others are doing, what the people you serve really want? Are you making the effort to meet people more successful than you are? Do you network with your main goal being to meet and develop long-term relationships with people from all walks of life, not just with those whom you think will give you some advantage? Do you sample your own products and services just to see whether they are really as good as everyone in your company seems to think? Take a break. Go shopping!
3. “Volunteer” time.
One of my basic concepts is that if your business doesn’t really benefit all your stakeholders, then you need to ask yourself whether you have any business being in business. I view things like Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as really being superfluous to the business. Any business that does not increase value and prosperity for all stakeholders should not even exist. Talk of “giving back to society” is irrelevant. What did your business “extract” that you feel a need to “give back”? Having said that, I do recognize that businesses are increasingly feeling the need to become value enhancers wherever they go, and “volunteering” for worthy causes is one way back to that ideal.
4. “Your People” time.
How are you investing in your people? I don’t simply mean an L & D budget, I mean how much of your life are you giving to them? Do you know and support their aspirations? Are you at least aware of how their families are doing? Do you specifically pull people off the job so they can go celebrate their anniversaries, for example? Do you spend time and energy coaching people so that they do better next time? Do you get down on your hands and knees and show your people how it’s done? Do you take time and effort to set them up for success and then give them credit for it? Do you let them carry on with mistakes you already see, let them experience the pain of failure, and then come to them with the soothing balm of your wisdom, showing them how to turn setbacks into successes? Are you willing?
Notice I didn’t list “Own time”. You’ll find that when you start getting busy with those things, you start getting more fulfilled, and “own time” fades away in importance.
Well, are you still busy? With what?