“How is everything?” friends and colleagues ask. If your answer is–like mine is often–” I’m super busy!” we hope it is for the right reasons. Perhaps we should be aiming for “Just busy enough, thanks!”
Lots of projects
It’s nice to be wanted and appreciated for your skills and innovative ideas. Having a lot of projects to choose from is a great reason to be busy, as long as all of those projects are ones you want to do for clients who are professional and trustworthy. Choose your clients wisely.
Balancing work and life
When you’re working, you’re working hard and working efficiently, but you are also spending time on your hobbies, doing things that you are passionate about, and with friends and family. Busy during working hours is definitely the right kind of busy–as long as working hours aren’t 24/7.
Goal-oriented, once you have started a project, you work at it until it’s finished and then take a break. You probably experience a high degree of job satisfaction because you can check things off your list and relax when you’re done. And then you have time to relax, reflect and recharge.
There are times when we all get too busy, though, and it seems like a never-ending cycle. How can you get out of that loop?
Set a schedule–Separate working hours and personal hours and stick to your plan. You will soon teach yourself to work more efficiently within those limitations.
Be honest with yourself and your clients about how much you can take on—More work is great for the pocketbook, but if you are reaching your effective limit, negotiate for a start date a couple of weeks away. If your client really wants you, they can probably wait a reasonable time.
Turn off your notifications–Often overwhelming levels of busyness are a factor of how many times we are interrupted. We all need to remember we don’t need to check our email every 3 minutes or even answer the phone right away. Get to the end of that block of time and then check and see if anything was urgent.
“Just busy enough” is much better than not busy enough, but if you hear yourself complaining about how busy you are, it might be time to evaluate the reasons why. I really am “super busy” but it’s all with projects and clients I am passionate about, as well as volunteer responsibilities. I take regularly scheduled breaks and never work on Saturdays, no matter what. And I carry my hobby with me so I can relax when I find I finished something earlier than I expected. Just busy enough, thanks!
What do you do to make sure you are just busy enough? Give us your tips in the comments!
Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative