Why You Need To Ban The Word Busy Right Now

I wish I could eliminate the word busy. It is worn as a badge of honor, used to imply importance or seek sympathy when it needs to be deleted from vocabularies everywhere because it masks the truth. 
I hear it all the time when I ask how are you, how was your day, how were your holidays. 
"Oh busy" 
"Oh really busy" 
"I've never been busier!" 
It is commonly used when interrupting someone. You ask, "are you busy" when you need to say, "do you have time for a quick question on...." 
It is often used as an excuse "I was too busy to get to...." when you need to say, "I prioritized other tasks, or I completely forgot"
It is used as a mask for inefficiency or unproductive behavior. "I have been too busy to prepare for the board meeting until now" or "I'm too busy to plan for next year, I have too many emails and immediate issues to fix" when you really need to understand why you aren't prioritizing the right work or delivering against what you committed to. 
When executives I work with tell me they are too busy we look at their time, energy, and resources, and check how Thoughtfully Ruthless® they are. 

  • One busy CEO at a rapidly growing technology company busy-ness was a result of unnecessary drama within his executive team, once we eliminated it, he now has more time to proactively work on building his business.
  • Another newly appointed CEO realized they had to change out several executives and board members if they were to hit the customer and sales expectations for the year. Instead of stalling or wallowing in busy-ness, we focused on a fast transition and galvanizing the new team. 
  • Another executive had to deliver new products that would support the companies triple-digit growth. The busy-ness was an endless search for perfection which was slowing down new products on shelves. We changed the development cycle to factor in speed and quality which brought products to market faster. 

Wasted time on decisions, over-committing your kids to endless extra activities, spending time with friends who you would rather not be with, inefficient use of your board, failing to prioritize what matters, and the wrong team around you all contribute to your busy-ness.  
But here is what many people fail to realize:
It is within your control far more than you think. 
You are the number one reason you are busy. Where can you create more hours right now?
Take back control of your life, and please, never use the word busy again.


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Ibiza Musings

My reflections as I leave the country known as the White Isle after six glorious days with my brother and his wife:


- St Eulalia where I stayed, banned all corporate brands. No Costa Coffee, McDonalds, no Uber, or KFC. Supporting local businesses everywhere it has a quaint frozen in time feel to it. Local government have power to excert if they are bold and deliberate.


- People are brave and broke enough to hitchhike. All ages, all hours of the day due to the high cost of living. What is dangerous in one country is normal in another. Do you take time to learn what is usual and acceptable in each country you work in or visit?


- It is perfectly normal to go out at 11pm or midnight. Dinner reservations usually start at 9pm.  You don't have to let your typical clock guide what you do. Eating, dancing, and working can happen when you feel like it.


- The traditional siesta is alive and well. It needs to be adopted worldwide.  So many people operate on too little sleep every day that they have forgotten what it feels like to have an succession of deep rejuvenating, and lengthy nights of sleep.


- Music makes people smile.  Why do so many workplaces operate in silence?


- Dancing is a perfect form of exercise and frees your mind. Children and teenagers dance everywhere. We lose this as we grow older. I'll be finding more time to dance (just perhaps not at 4am every week!!)


- Clever restaurants and bars remind you of their hashtags. Someone needs to create #hashtag dinner plates. Think of all those Instagram-ed food photos. Why not make the #obvious lucrative?


- "It's the end of the season here that's why service isn't great" I can't believe how many times I heard this as a reason why waiters were curt, boat rental agents overslept, or someone was just miserable as a public facing representative of a business. Imagine if everyone in the service industry acted that way at the end of their shift!


- We met many transplants on our trip from all across Europe. Their common attitude was "why not now?" when deciding to move, quit their corporate job, create a new business, or expand their business. Their thought to action ratio was in the right place.  My sister-in-law has done just this, following her love for photography has launched her new photography business. It started with buying a second home in Ibiza last year, and then creating the life she loves around her. It's no surprise her business is called Sally Dreams, but she doesn't just dream she DOES too.


Are you dreaming or doing?


Next stop: Reykjavik


Why Do We Need Permission to be Invisible?

The cameras are always rolling. Every angle, every move, like an episode of the latest Bravo reality TV show. But do we really need to ask permission to be invisible? 

An old 90's hilarious comedy The Fast Show had a hilarious character running around and his catch phrase was "You ain't seen me--right?!" When he was running in suspicious places up to strange things. 

It happened this week while at CrossFit, the cameras started to roll...and one of my friends said "NO! I'm not meant to be here--no posting photos!"

The new teacher of one of my daughters is a prolific instagram, twitter, and Facebook poster of kids pictures, I had to remind her that I didn't want any public boomerangs, photos or videos of one of my seven year old on her sites. 

Maybe the Apple executive Eddy Cue accused of screaming profanities at Rihanna wishes he was invisible, or Travis Kalanick's infamous uber ride recording of his verbal attack on one of his drivers.  

Either way, the cameras won't stop rolling, you can no longer be invisible. Occasionally you may be able to ask permission to be a ghost like my friend at CrossFit. But instead, pay attention to the virtual you. Google yourself--what appears? Your prospective employees, employers, headhunters, and board members will be.

I always do this for all of my new executive clients and they are often surprised what I uncover (who knew MySpace still exists or that Vimeo video from 1990 is public?)

What do your results represent?

Does the virtual you reflect the real you?


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The Ghost at CrossFit Resistance this week