Where are you busy, busy, busy, but really you’re avoiding something?
Now, this episode is going to require some honesty pants and some curiosity and awareness on your part.
Today I’m talking about those ‘busy being busy’ tasks.
Those tasks that make it seem like you’re doing all the work. It can really feel that way.
You can burn out from these tasks but the reality is they are allowing you to avoid something bigger and scarier.
You feel like you’re busy all the time. But you’re not really getting anywhere.
There are a few things that could be going on.
Perfectionism. Not doing the task but being really busy fits nicely into perfectionism. Tweaking, tinkering, never being finished so it’s always on the to do list and you can’t actually press go.
Covert procrastination. I mean you LOOK busy, you FEEL busy…procrastination is surely when you’re sitting there KNOWING you’re not doing work. Nope. It can be sneaky, but it’s still procrastination.
Your ego wants you to avoid. Your ego is always going to try and keep you safe, it has many overt ways of going about this. Like mean inner self talk. BUT, this is a far more subtle strategy because it still feeds your self esteem in some way because feeling busy is something we often associate with success.
It could be something our primary caregivers modeled so we have an unconscious belief programme running that to be successful you need to be working all hours and stressed. This is the stuff we need to unpick a little.
There are many ways we can do this too.
Social media. Ohhhhh we can get lost in this one can’t we. We can get lost in the scroll hole. Looking at competitors (please don’t!) doing ‘research’, tweaking content. The reality is we can lose hours per day doing this so it’s time to get a little more intentional with it.
Batching content. Time blocking when you’ll go on. Turning off notifications. Otherwise you will lose yourself in it, without actually getting much of anything done at all.
Research. I’m all for a bit of research but let’s be strategic about when and what for shall we?
Planning out products when you haven’t promoted the other ones yet. Ooof. There’s some unconscious gremlins at bay here that could require some attention.
If you have a ‘not good enough’ programme running that would easily stop you focusing on the thing that could actually make you money over new ideas, mapping out new products, getting all excited. But then the one you’ve already created covers dust.
Email. How would it feel if I told you you actually didn’t have to respond to every single email that comes through, when it comes through. Shock horror!
I know we’re conditioned to have our emails open all the time. To respond as they come through. I get it, it took me a long time to train myself out of this one. BUT what if you time blocked in an hour at 9, 12 and 4. Or even less? Then you deal with them all at the same time. And you have 5 hours of glorious uninterrupted time.
The illusion of busyness can make avoidance difficult to spot.
We don’t like to admit, or perhaps more commonly, aren’t consciously aware that we’re avoiding something.
As always we need to get underneath it. Go back a few episodes and listen to the ones about procrastination for help on how to identify WHY you might be doing it and the strategies around it.
This episode is on the far more covert avoidance. Usually we know when we’re procrastinating don’t we. It’s quite painful and in our face.
THIS version…we’re so busy!
We’re wearing that busyness like a badge of honour because we’ve been conditioned to believe that busyness equals success.
But really we’re actually avoiding all the things that would actually move us forwards.
So it’s SO important to start taking stock of the kinds of tasks you’re doing.
Are they actually moving you forwards?
What might you be avoiding doing?
What could be an advantage of avoiding it?
What could you do now, today that you KNOW could move you forwards but you keep putting it to the bottom of the list?
What’s underneath the avoidance?
If we really take stock and do a task inventory vs a list of things that would really help move us forwards there’s probably a disconnect.
Taking a task inventory is simply about being consciously aware of where and how you’re spending your time.
What I want for you is to have the awareness to tell the difference.
It’s all well and good having a strategy and ideas on how to stop being in the busy being busy zone. BUT, you’ve got to look at the cause, not the symptom.
Look at why it might be happening.
Good old curiosity and awareness again…funny how that keeps coming up 😉
I also want to reframe busyness. And I’m guilty of this too and have to catch myself in all the time. Busyness does not equal success.
Busyness certainly does not equal happiness. We need to stop wearing it like a badge of honour. We need to stop making the assumption that if we’re not busy all the time that other people will judge it negatively and assume things like, we’re not doing well enough.
On that note I’d like to reframe ‘well enough’ too. Doing well enough according to whom?
I want to empower you to trust yourself to know the answers to these for yourself. To know that if it’s enough for you, it’s enough.
Let go of all the messages out there of what success ‘should’ look like because it’s all rubbish.
The only person who knows what that looks like, what success FEELS like, is you.
It’s about knowing your own priorities. Knowing what is non negotiable for you.
Being able to, with curiosity, go…ooooh i’m definitely avoiding that thing over there…I wonder why that might be. Figure it out and put things in place to move you forwards.
You’re the one in control here. Not someone else’s opinion. Not conditioning you’ve been given by caregivers, friends or society.
I always talk about overcoming self sabotage to live a life that you love. This is what I mean.
If you go by other people’s standards you’re never going to achieve it, because they aren’t necessarily YOUR standards. So don’t buy into the marketing messages and focus in, with curiosity, on what it is that YOU really want.
It’ll definitely put the fire back in your belly to stop avoiding things.
It’ll get you out of the busy being busy zone to one where you’re actually doing what you want.
Yes you can’t click your fingers and get to that point. You may need to outsource some things. There will be times when certain things have built up and you really do have a huge amount of work to get through.
Those times will happen.
But it’s about being able to take a step back. Breathe. Go, ok, what’s really going on here, figure it out (MUCH easier with help!) and put a plan in place to move forwards.
If you do the biggest task you’re avoiding, my goodness does that create some major headspace!
Brain Tracey calls it eating the frog. If you eat the frog first, everything else becomes easier.
Know that there’s always another, potentially more efficient way to do things that will get you closer to your goals. Faster.
Batching, time blocking, prioritising, the scary brain dump to do list, not multitasking. All of these are ways to be more efficient but also to keep your honesty pants on.
BUT, none of this is as effective as it would be with the awareness of why you’re avoiding what you’re avoiding in the first place, so start there!
I have something exciting for you guys. I know 2020 has been a very strange year. It can be really easy to buy into all the planning for 2021. BUT, I want you to be kind to yourselves. We’ve been through a lot this year. So i’m offering a limited number of 2 hour ‘sort the stuff’ sessions.
These aren’t something i’ve offered before but I know how much I can get done with someone in an hour, so imagine what breakthroughs we can get with 2!
The purpose of these is to sort through any stuff that may be lingering for you. Whether you know you want to make big changes in 2021 and you’re not sure where to start. Or you want to create more awareness of why you do what you do. Or you want to get more of a plan in place to really understand and map out what you want to achieve with what YOU want in mind. We’ll start to sort through it in these sessions so you can move forwards with clarity and confidence. If you want to grab one of these sessions for yourself just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘sort it’ or DM me on Instagram @imfranexcell.
Fran Excell, Mindset & Productivity Coach – Helping Business Owners Overcome Self Sabotage & Get More Done In Less Time at www.franexcell.com
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