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  • Writer's pictureBelinda M

Busy is the New Stupid

The two luxuries of the 21st century are space and time. Therefore, I was drawn to this 1:38min clip of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates which is called “Busy is the New Stupid”.

Being busy is not a status symbol, yet some of us and some of our workplaces seem to believe it is. Why are we sacrificing personal development and health for the sake of professional advancement? Is it FOMO? Is it the expectation of 24/7 connectivity? Is it simply a habit? Whatever the reason it might be time to reframe how we value “Busy” and do things differently.

The Chairman and Managing Director of General Motors Holden, my boss, Bill Hamel was not a busy man. Even with his huge role, he always made time to think and have white space in his schedule. He was an expert at MBWA, listening to stakeholders, and then spending time in his office simply thinking. My father was similar in his senior roles. Perhaps as we reframe “Busy” we need to look at our elders – from a time before 24/7 communication – and shift our mindset from “Busy as a status symbol” to “Busy is the New Stupid”. If Bill Gates – a creator of 24/7 communication – is willing to do this then we can to. If Warren Buffett – one of the world’s richest men – knows we can’t buy time, then we must too.

You may consider using my WorkStyle Week template to create the white space in your schedules that Warren Buffett, Bill Hamel, my father, and now Bill Gates are referring to.

Many clients are familiar with the structure that a WorkStyle Week provides.  This is a simple tool, but it is not an easy one to adopt. Many clients set up their WorkStyle Week, but then have trouble following it. 

So, let's set up a WorkStyle Week and then address three obstacles that often get in the way of using it...

Start by filling in two separate WorkStyle Week templates – one for how your WorkStyle Week looks right now, and one for how you would ideally like it to look.  I recommend you use three different colours:

Pink– for self-care, relaxing, rejuvenating, recreating, ‘me’ time, (white space) Green – for all the activities you have to do, such as sleep, shop, eat, exercise, children’s activities, walking the dog and so on Blue – for work related activities

If you are like many of us, there will be little Pink and much Green and Blue in your current WorkStyle Week. The idea is to move from your current to your ideal WorkStyle Week.  For some of us it may be a little shift/calibration here and there, for others of us it may be a huge leap, or a long term plan to get us where we want to be. 

The idea is to have the intention and desire to move to your ideal WS Week.  Be aware of these three main obstacles to actually following your WorkStyle Week:

  1. Not setting yourself up for success – be sure to allocate enough time for each item and display your WS Week in a visual format so you can refer to it frequently.

  2. Not having the discipline to follow it – be sure to enrol your partner, your friend or invest in a coach to hold you accountable.

  3. Not allowing for flexibility – be sure you have plenty of white space to accommodate the unexpected (ie. if something unexpected comes up, it doesn’t throw out the schedule).

Designing a WorkStyle Week is simple, following it can also be easy if you set yourself up for success, are disciplined and allow plenty of white space. The best plans can go astray. We can’t control our environment, but we can be flexible and control our response to the environment.

If you are not yet a client, and would like a copy of the WorkStyle Week template, send an email to . BelindaM clients can access WorkStyle Week’s as part of the many resources the Client Resources area of the website.

For more about how to manage time, download my free “21st Century Time Blocking – What, Why and How” resource here


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