Busyness vs Business
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There is nothing wrong with being busy. There is nothing wrong with being in business. But, there could be an argument made that when being “Busy” is your Business, you just miss some important things in your life.
Keirkegaard put it best with the following statement that he penned - “Like a murmuring brook…If you go buried in your own thoughts, if you are busy, then you do not know it is passing…But, if you stand still, then you discover it. How many times in your life have you been so busy, that you forget to call someone, miss a Birthday, or even miss a view? A view? For many years, I was selling to Physicians. This involved logging many hours behind the wheel of my car rushing from office to office. I had my routine down like the best of them. I knew how many offices I could get to in my day, with the least amount of wasted time in order to maximize my productivity, and if I drove a little faster – I could squeeze in a few extra It was Go Go Go Go! Eat? I would do it on the way to an office. Coffee? Thank God for to-go cups. Rest? Who needs it!
In a Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Dangerous Allure of the 70-Hour Work Week” Author Sylvia Ann Hewlett states the following: “The first thing that becomes clear is that successful professionals are working harder than ever. The 40-hour workweek, it seems, is a thing of the past. Even the 60-hour workweek, once the path to the top, is now practically considered part-time, as a recent Fortune magazine article put it. Our data reveal that 62% of high-earning individuals work more than 50 hours a week, 35% work more than 60 hours a week, and 10% work more than 80 hours a week. Add in a typical one-hour commute, and a 60-hour workweek translates into leaving the house at 7 am and getting home at 9 pm five days a week.”
Let’s just say that I felt their Pain. Eventually I began to grow weary of the pace I was striving to maintain. Weariness transformed into exhaustion, and eventually Business turned into Busyness. I would fit any extra time I had at home into my business model. If I had idle time, I would think of where I could increase Sales to be #1. I would quote Peter Drucker in general conversation just to keep myself focused on the business at hand (my mom would just love this). I had dinner with customers more than my family. There were times where I would not go on vacation for fear of getting behind in my quota. I was Busy.
Let me for one minute qualify where I am going with this. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. There is nothing wrong with having lofty goals. There is nothing wrong with trying to be #1. Frankly, if you are in Business and especially Sales, you should want to be #1. But remember there is that little thing we all learned in Economics – Opportunity Cost. Energy spent here, can’t be spent there. Resources allocated to marketing, may not be spent on increasing headcount. Everything comes at a cost! Someone very wise recently said something to me that still resonates in my core. She said - “Be careful with where you spend your time. Because once it is spent, it is gone.”
In all my Busyness, I missed a most fantastic view. Thousands of miles driven, and I passed right by it DAILY! I missed where God was leading me, I missed what God was teaching me, I missed the Biblical perspective – God’s View. I was so busy I framed my prayers around business success, I fit church around my planning, and I fit God into my life where I could. Well, in his Sovereign Grace and with his Mercy he brought my Busyness back to Business. He brought mentors into my life that were examples of balance, of faithfulness, and examples of Christ. They taught me about resting because it was good for my family, as much as it was good for me. They taught me to stop, to listen to what God is saying, and to stop being so darn Busy! Like the babbling brook that can be missed when you drive right past it. God’s perspective in our life will go right by, if we do not stop and consider it.
Now, my wife will tell you that I still struggle with this at times. It is still hard for me to disconnect from work some days – but I am making progress, not perfection! I still have to get some work done while my wife goes to sleep, but I have made it a priority to be more balanced. I am building my mornings around my Devotionals, and I am making a consistent relationship with Christ my #1 Strategic objective. I am in essence less busy, and more Business. I get more done with less time, and am more Strategic with my intentions. Who would have thought that if you stop, pray, and listen to where God leads, you still get stuff done? Well, you do! Ask God.
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