Being Busy is No Excuse

Being Busy is No Excuse

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A refrain I hear from clients and colleagues is, “People are not getting back to me, keeping appointments, or delivering what they promised.” They all say they are too busy.

Somehow being busy has become a badge of honor. Perhaps it’s just a convenient excuse?

Here in the West, activity is valued. So people create lots of activity. Yet how much of that activity is aimed at delivering results for them? I have several clients in healthcare and they are frustrated by having multiple meetings scheduled at the same time in their calendar. I know one CFO that has three meetings scheduled for each hour of the day. When I ask how that happened, he says, “People have access to my calendar.”

Whenever I ask, “why don’t you take control of your own calendar they invariably say something like, “Oh I can’t do that. This is the way things are done here.”

            “Activity is not the same as motion.”

Here is another view. If someone has a deadline and they miss it, they can always point to their calendar and say, “see, it’s not my fault, I have been so busy”. They can point to their calendar and play that same excuse for:

-        Being late

-        Lack of exercise

-        Not eating right

-        Not returning a call

-        Not performing their 1:1’s

-        Not taking on a new initiative.

Believe me, the list could go on and on.

What is the answer? It is really about managing your priorities, not time. We really can’t manage time, it marches on. It is about slowing down to get very clear on what will move your business or your team forward. If you are in an organization, it is about what will help you move your assignments and objectives forward.  In the case of an over abundance of meetings, determine which ones do not move your objectives forward and get out of them. In the case of people bringing work to you that is not yours to do, the word NO is an awesome word. Use it.

If you want to master your business, get really clear on the three to five things that are important. If you have more than that, none of them are important.  Then execute on those priorities until complete or until they are launched.

Strong business leaders are clear, undistracted, and focused on the things that will move them forward.

John Gies

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