The Inside Job of Leadership: Are you a busy-ness addict?

Susan S Freeman Blog

Busy-nessIt’s the first full week of summer.  For many, it’s the traditional time for taking things a bit easier; enjoying long weekends, perhaps a long-needed vacation, or simply getting time to complete those long, lost “to-do” items on a more relaxed schedule.  Are you feeling too busy?

Time is the great equalizer.  Everybody gets the same amount: 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour. We can’t save time or accumulate or rearrange it. We can’t turn it off or on. It can’t be replaced.

I hear it all the time from leaders and influencers.  The lament of not having enough time has become a national anthem. Everywhere people find themselves constantly in a rush, over-booked and over-scheduled with no time off. Life is accompanied by the ongoing stress of not enough time. Work takes over our lives and we are running more and harder just to feel as if we are in the same place.

And sometimes doing too much and being too busy can be a way of numbing feelings or disguising sadness or anger.

Does this sound familiar to you or someone you know?   Though it may not always seem so, how we fill our time and how we spend it is our choice.

Answer the following questions to discover if you’re caught up in the “too-busy” cycle.

True or False:

  1. I constantly find myself doing “urgent” things and trying to catch up.
  2. I allow myself to drift into obligations when I don’t know how much time or energy they’ll require.
  3. I find myself running from when I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night. I’m always tired and never feel like I accomplished enough.
  4. Busy WomanI seldom schedule a day off for myself and when I do, I tend to fill it with activities.
  5. I don’t make time for “self-care” activities: physical exercise, nurturing or “pampering” myself, cultural stimulation, spiritual well-being, learning something new, playing, or simply doing nothing.
  6. I seldom have time to do the things I really love.
  7. My work and project areas are cluttered with “I’ll look at this later” stacks and “to-do” piles.
  8. I often miscalculate how long certain activities will take.
  9. I often miss deadlines or work long hours to meet a deadline.
  10. I respond to interruptions such as phone calls, faxes, email, beepers and pagers, and allow them to take me off track.
  11. I tend to move from one urgent thing to the next, rather than working toward specific goals and objectives.
  12. I find myself constantly wishing I had more time or projecting an imaginary future when I have more time, making comments such as “as soon as…” or “next year…”
  13. I spend time doing things I could pay someone else to do.
  14. I often do things because I “should,” or continue to do things that no longer fit who I am.
  15. Other people complain that my schedule doesn’t allow enough time for them.

If you answered “true” to more than 8 of the above questions, chances are you have a busy-ness habit that is no longer working for you.  The good news is that this can change.  You will need:

  • Mindset ShiftA mindset shift

  • A desire and intention to shift

  • New habits and

  • Accountability support until the new ways are established

Living and working busy is one way to be productive, but it’s not sustainable in the long run.  If left un-checked it can lead to deteriorating health, loss of productivity, and impaired relationships

Effective leaders manage their values, vision, priorities and energy.

 Are you ready to become a Step Up Leader?

For more ideas on getting started, download the free audio “Five Secret Every Effective Leaders Should Know” at and sign up for a free 30-minute strategy session.  Make it your business to overcome the busy-ness addiction!

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