What you focus on grows.
Stop managing your time.
Start managing your focus.
“Am I making meaningful use of this scarce and precious day?”
That’s a simple question Angel and I challenge our course students to ask themselves anytime they feel busyness overwhelming them.
Because excessive busyness is rarely meaningful.
And make no mistake about it—excessive busyness is a widespread, modern-day illness!
We fill our calendars and our social media feeds with various kinds of busyness, oftentimes just to avoid being bored… to avoid being exactly who we are, exactly where we are. The instant we feel a bit idle, we run off in the direction of the nearest shiny object that catches our attention. And in the process, we not only miss out on the serenity and beauty that exists within ourselves, but we also miss out on experiencing that same serenity and beauty in the environment around us. Our busyness has blinded us with “hurry” and “worry,” and the endless need to be somewhere else, doing something else, as fast as feasibly possible.
Angel and I are not immune to this either. Just like every other human being, sometimes we let busyness get the best of us—we let distractions get in the way of what matters most. And that’s the real tragedy of it: we confuse being busy with being effective. We feel a day late and a buck short across the board, because our priorities are completely misaligned with our daily efforts.
A Widespread Misalignment of Priorities
Truth be told, most of us suffer from a severe misalignment of our priorities.
In a recent survey we conducted with 700 of our course students, we asked them questions to determine how much joy they derived from their most common daily activities. As you might expect, the joy rating for work-related obligations typically fell below voluntary personal activities. But what surprised us is this:
Most of the students surveyed said many of their voluntary personal activities did NOT give them joy. For example, several of them said they derived more pleasure from time dedicated to family, practicing spirituality, or working on a passion project, than from time spent watching TV and browsing social media. And yet these same exact students admitted to spending more time watching TV and browsing social media than engaging in the activities they say give them more joy.
If anything, our student survey shined light on a rather widespread misalignment between what we do and what we deem meaningful and…