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Being busy is not an achievement...

Nor is it a skill, or a sign of success.
And yet, we all compete with each other for levels of busyness.   As if the busier we are the more successful, popular and cutting edge we must be.
No time for family or friends?   Very busy doing important stuff.
No time for holidays or relaxation? Even more busy doing mission critical work.
And so it goes on!
Women are particularly hard hit in this area, because there is a fair amount for the average working woman to do at home, too!
While do-it-yourself men also do a great deal around the home, these are often projects with a beginning, a middle and an end.  
Women’s home work is extremely repetitive to say the least, although I have heard that mindful dish washing is very relaxing.  (See link to article below).
However, for me, this topic transcends gender.  
There is always another meeting to go to, frequently a crisis that only you can manage, so when is there time to be a strategic leader?
Leaders need thinking time.   It’s as simple as that.  
Strategy and advance planning are a little like planning a successful career.    It makes enormous sense to have the plans in place, but life happens.
A great deal of successful strategy emerges from situations that arise every day, and leaders need to be able to react timeously, read the signs, and develop strategy that embraces current scenarios while still ensuring that the basics are in place.
My nephew, Dan, recently recommended a Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction book which I am thoroughly enjoying.  It starts with the moon blowing up and the end of the world being forecast as two years away.
I am learning a lot about both strategy and keeping busy for the sake of it, while being entertained.
As I am only about 20% through, there is no risk of spoilers, but I have picked up the leadership strategies that focus on:
  • giving people hope - even when there is very little
  • keeping people busy - we all thrive on actions with a supposed purpose
There is a deep cynicism, I think, in creating work that is meaningless to keep the masses under control.
However, sometimes we fool ourselves (and I am as guilty as the next guy) by keeping busy with tasks instead of opportunities.
As children, we were told that the devil makes work for idle hands, and we have bought into that concept. 
In the age of the knowledge worker, we seem to be buying into constant connectivity and fast responses to an ever growing deluge of email, as being productive.
Sometimes it is, but it can be a smokescreen, behind which people hide the fact that their work is not constructive, it is not mindful, it is not going forward, it is just things to do from nine to five which keeps matters ticking over.
I fall off the bus on this one, often.   I remind myself “Busy with purpose” and am lucky to have my COO, Cathie Webb, giving me great advice about how far I can stretch myself and the power of No…..
 Links, References and Notes
http://www.nealstephenson.com/seveneves.html
Note
Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source.
email:      tschroenn@accsys.co.za
twitter:   @TerylSchroenn

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