THE BLOG
10/22/2014 01:01 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why You Should Be Busy Instead

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Where I hang out online, there's a lot of talk about freeing up time, having shorter workdays, setting boundaries etc... I'm sure you're not new to this topic as well - the topic of carving out "me-time" and working towards that elusive "3 day work week" goal. Of course, that isn't everyone's goal. But I know I secretly look at these people and wonder how they do it. And where they spend all that extra time.

I know that many of these people are mothers who want to carve out more time for their children and family. But today, simplifying tasks for more time is such a hot topic that it extends not only to working mothers, but to every business owner. Don't get me wrong - I am all for simplifying systems and making life easier for yourself, but somehow the focus has been to save time for the sake of saving time, and to just avoid being busy.

It's almost as if busy has become some sort of dirty, undesirable word in the online entrepreneur sphere. It's kinda weird, but it's just what I've observed. Everyone's trying so hard to be "less busy."

But today I want to turn that on its head. I want to tell you that you should be busy instead, but you should know what to be busy for.

I believe these "simplifying" and "not busy" courses/talk started out with good motives. People genuinely wanted to escape the rat race of the corporate world, where you were busy for the sake of being busy - pushing papers, typing furiously on the computer for someone else's business. It seemed a daft idea to get away from the furious hustle of the 9-5 and get into a crazy world of 60-hour (or more) entrepreneur workweeks.

But did we forget something along the way?

Don't simplify for the sake of simplifying, or just because everyone else is doing it. Don't stop being busy because "busy" is being frowned upon.

Really know what it really is that you want to spend your time on. And be busy for that.

What we really wanted to run away from wasn't busyness. It was the stifling of our creative talents and our greater purpose. The knowing that we could do so much more on our terms that propelled us to escape the stability (or not-so-stable now) of a 9-5 and create our own freedom. Freedom of expression. Freedom of enjoyment. Freedom of choice.

I know that not all of us enjoy having only a 3-day workweek. I know that for some of us, our spouses/significant others are also enjoying their fulfilling careers as well. I know that not all of us have children. I know that for some of us, working 5 days a week is perfectly okay, and even enjoyable, because we're BUSY DOING WHAT WE LOVE TO DO.

Is it sad then, that we are trying to run away from more time with what we love to do? Now, don't get me wrong again - I am ALL FOR simplifying and spending more time with family. But this is subjective. For some, 2 days a week off is plenty. For others, 4 days sounds like a better idea. We chose this path precisely because we could choose what we wanted to do, not to just blindly follow someone else's notion of busyness.

I personally LOVE being busy doing what I love. I, too, set boundaries, and hate doing some parts of business. But the parts I love? Oh, I could go at them for days and not feel worn out, or burnt out, or sad.

It is all about intentional spending of your time. It is all about the legacy you want to leave. For some of us, being busy at what we love to do makes our lives so much better instead - we feel more fulfilled, more joyful, and more creative. We are constantly inspired and want to get our hands on something. There's nothing wrong about that.

Don't fight busy just because everyone else is fighting busy.

Fight for the things that matter most to you. That you want to spend your time on. That you want to look back and think, wow, am I glad I spent my time on this! and create something great that you want to leave behind. Be busy for that.

Create a custom, made-for-you schedule, and not one that's based on someone else's. Don't let someone else make you feel like a horrible mother, or an undutiful wife, or an unfeeling daughter just because they chose to do something different. We all have a way of eventually making our lives work for ourselves. You are getting there. You know what needs to be done and you are working on it, at the same time being busy at what you love.

You don't have to sacrifice one for another. You can create a perfect balance that works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all in business or life.

FIND YOUR DEFINITION OF BUSY:
Ditch everything you read about time management, about healthy work/life balance etc. for a moment. What feels right to you? How much time with your child a week feels right to you? How much time at work feels right to you? How much time do you spend on writing is good for you?
You see - when you try to use someone else's time frame/timelines, you are sacrificing quality. You will not be as present with your children as or you might not be as inspired as you might've liked to.

Write down all the things that matter to you. Your big ticket items in life. The things that you want to go into your legacy. Then rank them, and divide your time amongst them. Listen to your heart, and dedicate time intentionally to be busy for the things you love.

Being "not busy" is overrated. It is only bad for you if you are busy doing something you hate.
Remember, you call the shots. Act like it.