This saucy, (but accurate) quote from Tim Ferriss keeps bouncing around in my head as I sit here working to prioritize my goals for the next few months, “Being busy is a form of laziness–lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.”
How can we stop ourselves from being busy? Sometimes it feels as though our jobs are designed for interruptions–crying kids, overwhelmed teachers, and angry parents who all need our help now.
How can we know what is important versus what is urgent? To help answer this question, I’ll pick one (sometimes two) goals for the day before I start the day and that’s what I’ll strive toward. I keep a list of my big goals for the year or semester on the wall in my office to keep me focused and make tiny steps toward them one day at a time.
We’re often overestimating what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a year–it’s about the little actions applied consistently over time that make all the difference. When you have the startling realization that a single hour each day totals 15 days per calendar year, you start to see time differently. Suddenly, a big task is broken down into something more manageable and no longer casts a shadow over your life.