There has always been a great emphasis on staying “busy” (or at least looking busy). It was once seen as a surefire way to stay employed or to gain admiration from others. But a closer examination reveals that “busy work” has little value in itself.
And value is important. Just as “quality time” is more important than the quantity of time, busy is falling out of favor while measuring productivity is becoming more vital.
This is certainly true in most professions, but what about in your own personal life? What do you really care about?
With only a few precious hours in each day, are we using them to catch a glimpse of what we are capable of – who we are destined to be – or are we spending them shuffling papers and alphabetizing the soup cans in the pantry?
Important questions, because important desires are calling us all the time. The inspiration to write a book or a poem. The yearning to lose the extra weight. The urge to build something of our own versus sticking with a dissatisfying job.
Is the urgency of a busy life getting in the way of a productive one?
A text comes in. Your tires need air. A client demands an impossible deadline. Real life. But also an excuse to delay dreams one more day for the sake of another fire drill.
How do you make the leap from busy to productive? How do we start living the life that’s important to us instead of just responding to the everyday emergencies?
Think of it this way: you’re going to spend the next decade doing something.
Will you respond to what is urgent, or will you choose to pursue what is important, instead?
Is your craving to be noticed or appreciated (busy) winning out over the ability to be present and satisfied (productive)?
Of course handling responsibilities is part of life. But how long will you delay what’s important to you just so that you can handle the Next Urgent Thing in front of you? How long will you put off what productive thing you’re capable of doing, just to maintain what you’re currently doing (staying busy)?
Will you wait 12 months? Ten years? Your entire life?
If you want to start living a productive life, then choose a clear direction for yourself right now. It takes courage to say, “This is what is important to me and I’m going after it,” but you can do it.
Otherwise, you’ll only be living the life that other people expect you to live.
You’ll soon find that having a clear purpose and a specific goal prevents you from being sucked into the multiple vortexes of time–consuming, unimportant busy work.
A Specific Goal
A crucial point to understand is that a specific goal is different than a desire. Wanting to get in shape is a desire, running a marathon is a specific goal. Wanting to start your own daycare center is a desire, securing the first three paying families is a specific goal.
The secret to living an important, productive life is recognizing that it will never demand your attention right now, on its own. You have to cultivate that sense of purpose and prioritize it over the long haul.
There is a lot of talk these days about getting back to normal. Abandon that notion and think more about going forward to new. Start the slow march from busy to productive by picking one thing that you care deeply about, and get started today.
Trade frantic for focused, and you’ll be surprised how soon perfectionism gives way to purpose.
Become a purposeful soul, instead of a busy body, and you can celebrate success for a lifetime.
By Mark Smith, contributing author
We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before. All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!