The Leadership and Management Division (LMD) of the Special Library Association (SLA) presented a webinar in their professional development series entitled “Beyond Busyness” by Tony Crabbe.
Tony Crabbe discussed how people can deal with a “world of too much”. He argued that the answer is choosing strategically. He provided examples of several companies that have decided to focus their activities on certain strategic goals. These companies demonstrate that in order to prioritize one goal or strategy we need to drop others because they cannot pursue everything and hope to do any of them well.
The same applies to individuals. People should figure out what their top life priories are and focus on those. They should choose only a few priorities (for example 5 priorities not 20) and should avoid committing to any activities that do not support any of those priorities.
Crabbe argued that people should not turn to time management as the answer for dealing with busyness. He finds that when we do more with our time we tend to trade quantity for quality both in terms of the results that we achieve and our level of satisfaction with our day. Sometimes the tools that we use to organize our time can lead us to focus on the little, boring, easy-to-do things rather than focusing on the things that really matter. Multitasking also causes our intellectual performance to drop.
The biggest factor in helping us to focus on the things that matter is to monitor ourselves. We need to monitor ourselves daily and make sure that we do things every day that help us to achieve our big goals.
Crabbe also discussed the reasons why people procrastinate on moving on their big priorities. He noted that some of the reasons for procrastination might be linked to our emotions or psychology and there are no quick tips to get through them. The only way to move forward is to work through whatever issues are keeping us from working on achieving our goals. Take small steps to get started.
Another piece of advice that Crabbe offered was communicating our values and setting boundaries. He gave the example of a senior executive who never missed a family event. This wasn’t a problem for him at work because he clearly communicated to his employer and employees that attending important family events was a priority to him and that he would not miss them. Because this boundary was clearly articulated it ended up being accepted.
Tony Crabbe emphasized the importance of quality of life and encouraged participants to avoid using busyness over relationships. He advised avoiding responding to the phone while engaged in conversations with people. He also recommended not telling people that we are busy when they ask how we are. Avoid choosing the unimportant over the immediate.
Featured Image by Paul Downey