Brilliance not busyness

Reading time: 4 minutes

Listening to Oliver Burkman’s excellent recent radio series on busyness got us thinking about how it relates to high performance. We already talk about managing your performance energy not your time – Now we’re thinking about managing your mindset towards your tasks and managing your ego too!

You just think you’re busy!

Performance is doing what you need to do to get the results you want. If performing is doing something, then high performance is doing it really well. But we know many people are in jobs doing the hours required to get the job done, yet the job’s never done.

Finally we know that the internet, an expanding leisure industry and a 24 hour world means there’s no shortage of things to do when you’ve done the necessities of eating, washing, sleeping etc…

You’ve the same time as everyone else

The research shows at least a couple of things. One is that we’re no busier than we used to be. If you define leisure activities as things only you can do for yourself – someone else can’t go to the cinema for you – then we’re no busier than we’ve been. We’re simply trying to cram more in. Secondly we’ve become accustomed to asking about how busy we are, and replying we’re busy when asked, as a way of testing and demonstrating our worth.

We’ve never heard elite performers in the world of sport talking about time management. That’s not because they’re weird. Yet we’ve heard it a lot in business from people who are no different to the athletes. Both have lives to live and things they want to achieve, often with families too that they support or who support them. However we see the elite athletes do something differently.

We see them using goals superbly to motivate themselves and give direction. We see them focusing constantly, and with discipline, on the basics that will move them towards their goal. We don’t see them getting too distracted by trivialities like facebook, soaps or cleaning the car. We don’t hear them saying they don’t have enough time because they have the same as everyone else!

You choose

What we do see is elite athletes making clear tactical choices about what they do and when. We see them reminding themselves of their goal and what will move them towards it. We see them applying themselves by choosing their attitude. We see them supported by others, and working well with others who support them, to do these things. Finally we see them prioritising rest and recovery.

So the next time you’re asked how you’re doing, and your tempted to reply ‘ pretty busy’, use that as a prompt to pause. Is your busyness self inflicted? If not, are you sure?? And whatever it is, then what would you change?