busy writer 2016

Being a “busy” writer in 2016

busy writer 2016

We’ve all heard it before: someone you know or work with is “too busy”.

Busy” has become the desired outcome – a trump card.

We’ve forgotten the very negative connotations of its actual definition: engaged in, involved in, employed in, working at, labouring at, toiling at, slaving at, hard at work (on), wrapped up (in/with)

Despite not living or working in Japanese culture – where employees often clock over 60 hours a week – to be frazzled, burnt out, or otherwise able to complain about how unable and ineffective at making time you are is now commonplace and perceived by the material of us with a perverse pride.

However, when countered by the following questions, colleagues and peers often falter:

How many hours a week do you work?”

Answer this writer receives: 35 but really it’s over 40.

How many children do you have?”

Answer this writer receives: none.

How long have you been married to a busy person?”

Answer: I’m single.

What sports do you play that take up your time?”

Answer: I don’t play.

Which musical instruments do you practice?”

Answer: I don’t play.

By this point, I can often tell they’re getting the hump with me, and as a proponent of “active listening” I’ll paraphrase a summary to recap to finish the conversation.

It typically sounds like this:

So, if I’m hearing correctly – correct me if I’m not – you’re in your mid-twenties, live with friends in the city, are single with no kids, work less than 40 hours a week, play no sports or instruments and yet are still complaining that there aren’t enough hours in the day?”

My audience shuffles its feet.

Have you thought about waking up earlier in the morning?”

By this point, I am in danger of getting slapped, for reasons I still can’t really understand.

I mean, let me start by saying that I am categorically NOT busy; I’ve taken great lengths to stop being so, and am confident it was the right choice to make.

My anecdotal evidence suggests something that the likes of LinkedIn Pulse and its various experts suggest at a rate of once or twice a week.

People have productivity problems.

People can’t say no.

I can.

I started thinking about this back when I wrote the busy writer’s schedule. I have learned a lot since then, and whilst I don’t go to the gym at 6am every morning, I do get up at that time, often to read.

It is SO worth it.

It has CHANGED my life.

Maybe I’m not a better writer, but I do know that I’m trying and I feel better. When I look around, that is more than I can say for a lot of people. Sadly.

In life, as in work, the difference between being productive and being busy is working smarter instead of harder. I’m not the best person at anything, but I’ll take runners up any day over spending so much time in meetings or complaining that I get nothing done.

In summary, here are three incredibly simple things you can do to be less busy and more productive each day:

  • Spend an hour learning. I use LinkedIn and Quora.
  • Say no more than you say yes.
  • Set tiny, achievable milestones that will cumulatively add up to something.

Ps I know I haven’t blogged in months. I’ve been really busy.