Busy Does Not Equal Productive - Essentialism
I love the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKoewn.
According to Greg, Essentialism is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter. It is about doing less, but better, in every area of our lives. Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.
I agree, the time has come. But more on that later! Let's jump back to Greg and what practicing essentialism means.
Based on how you work, Greg would either consider you an essentialist or a non-essentialist.
The best way to explain the difference between the two is with the figure below:
The same amount of energy is being exerted in both images; however, one is way more productive! The image on the left, the non-essentialist, is making progress on everything she is putting her energy towards; however, each project is only moving forward slightly. On the other hand, the image on the right, the essentialist, is working on fewer activities, so her energy can push that project further along.
If you are running, running, running, being busy all the time, you are exhausting yourself and lessening your impact. Not saying you aren't making any progress, you are, but only little arrows worth of progress.
I think this image is very impactful! Don't you? Anyone of you saying, "Damn, I'm the left circle"?
If you are, it's ok. We've all been there. Or are currently there.
I would venture to guess that the vast majority of the American population is executing and living based on the left image. I don't have any official research to back that statement up, but I did spend 10 years in corporate America, 6 of those at a Fortune 50 retailer, and my essentialist nature was not a common trait among my colleagues.
So, you're not alone. No judgement here. And stop judging yourself!
But why are we all so busy? And why will many of us stay busy even after reading Greg's Essentialism?
Because we, as Americans, value being busy way too much.
Busy makes us feel better than others. It makes us feel important. If we have too much to do, that must mean that we are really important to our company, right? Being busy, which by default means I'm important, means I must work more hours, answer emails in the evenings, set up meetings on the weekends, and that is what success looks like. Right? That is why I worked my behind off for each promotion, so I could work more, right? And get more money... but I'm pretty sure as a culture, we've all decided that that promotion and that money HAS to come at a price, right? And that price is being busier and working longer hours. No other way...
But if you agree with Greg McKeown and his concept of essentialism, which I do, then you'll agree that success and achievement does not have to come with the extra hours and busy price tag. Because you know that busy does not equal productive. You can be more productive and have a greater impact by working less.
Still don't believe me? Look at the image again. Is busy you or essentialist you more productive and valuable to your company?
Let's work smarter people, not harder! Let's turn essentialism into a living, breathing movement. Why? Because the outcome is amazing. Both your work life and your non-work life will benefit.
Work life = you get to kick ass more because you're accomplishing more at a higher level.
Non-Work life = you will have more energy and time for your family, hobbies, chores, brain, reading, crocheting, sports, whatever it is you like to do for fun!
Again, let's work smarter people, not harder.
I'm looking at you, managers, business leaders, executives, this movement starts with you! It starts with you as the example.