Busy Is Not Always Good

Jun 14, 2016 | Time Management

Have you noticed how busy people are these days? People were busy last year, and now they are even busier today. 

But busy is not always good.

There are many different kinds of “busy.” Just like the Eskimo’s have many different definitions for “snow”, we need to differentiate between the different kinds of busy.

Here is a list of “busy”–first the good, then the bad. Which busy are you?

  1. Focused/busy.

This is means you are going after a goal, and strictly focused on executing that goal. It means your team knows what the goal is, and knows what the important priorities are for hitting that goal. This is good-busy, if the team is working in lock step and everyone knows their role and goals in the business.
  1. Productive/busy.

This means you are getting a lot done with your time. Perhaps you have a lot of clients to service, or a large backlog that you are  working your way through. Or it can mean you are following the 20-80 rule, and you are doing the work that is most important, and delegating (or simply not doing) the rest. Busy-productive should show up on the bottom line and in the growth of your firm.
  1. Proactive/busy.

This means you are getting “ahead” of issues. Either you are visiting customers, or job sites, or prospecting for business, or meeting with your peer group, or talking to influencer’s in your community. When done right, this is a good busy, and should make your firm more competitive.
  1. Innovating/busy.

This means you are growing in a new direction, adding new services, and busy figuring them out and selling them. This means your team is trying out new methods for executing the work. It can also mean you are expanding into a new geographic area. Busy-innovating is good busy; because it will drive your profits.

But busy is not always good, for example:

  1. Reactive/busy.

This means you are busy responding to emails and phone calls and knocks on the door. You are reacting to the agendas of your customers, your suppliers, your subs, and your staff. It means you are not setting the agenda. It may mean your leadership is weak, and you are in a state of followship.
  1. Fire fighting/busy.

This means you have big complaints that are consuming your time, or big quality issues or contract completion issues.
This means your customers are screaming, or your banker is screaming, or other stakeholders in your business are screaming. 

(It can also mean you did poor planning this winter and you now are paying the price, responding to the poor planning. This is related to busy-reactive.)
  1. Changing directions constantly/busy.

This is the “attention deficit disorder” busy. This is due to not following through on your plans, and constantly creating new plans and new directions. It can also mean you are easily distracted. You thrive on chaos, and it keeps you busy.
  1. Doing double work/busy.

This means your systems force you to do double administrative work, or even triple work. This is the kind of busy work that stops a company from growing easily.
  1. Busy work/busy.

This may mean you have gone past the 20-80 rule, and you are simply working on too many projects; unfocused and without great results. You probably need a break to recharge your batteries.

Everyone is busy – though many people are not the right kind of busy.

What kind of busy are you?