Nowadays when a deadline isn’t met the immediate defence mechanism seems to be to blurt out “I’m too busy.” The reality is nearly everyone is busy so what are we trying to convey? That we’re busier or more important than others?
Maybe we’re even damaging our credibility by being perceived as:
- Having a failed productivity system or even no system at all?
- Focussing on the wrong priorities?
- That we like whinging?
Time is fixed. We can’t make more of it as everyone has 24 hours a day and 168 hours a week available to them. However, the tasks we choose to do and the energy we exert to do them aren’t fixed, they’re flexible ie. we decide when to go to bed, when to get up, what to eat etc.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted to have said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Are you using “I’m too busy” as your default excuse? Alternatively, if you truly are too busy then what are you doing to address the situation? Remember just working longer hours isn’t the long-term answer as it’s a short-term Band-Aid at best.
Have absolute clarity where you make a difference – Focus only on what’s important that you and only you can do. See 80% of your task list shouldn’t be there
Plan and schedule for success – Plans need to be achievable that consider both proactive and reactive work. See How to create an effective Weekly Plan
Action the plan – Execution is the single biggest difference between the highly effective and everyone else. Take action by doing the work. See How to stop wasting time in 3 simple steps
“I’m too busy” only has a limited lifecycle before it’s perceived as an excuse. Maybe it’s time to sharpen your axe.