The task list never seems to end, does it? There is always something or someone pulling on our time and our energy. But I’ve learned that it’s usually not the task list that’s the problem — it’s the feeling of not making progress that’s the problem.
So take a pause.
As you read this, just pause.
Pull your head up, out of the weeds. Pan out. Take a breath.
And then ask yourself this question, “What am I getting from being so caught up in the doing? Why am I not allowing myself to get important things done?”
George demonstrated this tendency for busyness perfectly on Seinfeld. (Just walk around looking stressed, huffing and puffing, and making general gestures of annoyance.)
But why bother looking busy? Because we have a strange badge of honor that we’ve attached to busyness; the busier we are, the more valuable we are. And the more we complain about how busy we are, the more sympathy we can get. It’s a race to the bottom to see who can be the biggest victim of their busyness.
It also allows us to ignore other parts of our lives. If I pause long enough to see what’s actually happening in my life, to fully pan out, I may have to face the state of my intimate relationship or address my health issues. Being busy keeps us safe from reality. So long as you stay busy.
Try to imagine the opposite. Picture walking to the office in a zen-like state and completing your tasks with a sense of ease and calm. Notice all of the stories you tell yourself about this state. It’s not possible. It’s not real. Everyone will think I’m crazy. Or worse, that I’m not working hard enough.
We cover up our natural state of peace and ease out of fear. And yet, there is something in our wiser self that keeps nudging us in that direction. It has us wondering about the limiting belief that we need to be a stressed out, overworked, and overcommitted person to get the job done.
So, stop. Pause. Breathe. And ask yourself what might happen if you chose to relate to the stuff of your life differently.
Maybe that calm and easy state you keep dreaming of isn’t as far away as you imagine.
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The Leadership Weekly
Weekly wisdom from the DS Leadership Life team.