“Being busy is not a sign of success. Being busy is a lack of priority. And by busy, I mean like crazy like, “Oh my god, I’m so busy.” That’s the lamest thing. Hey, how’s it going? What’s on? Oh, I’m so busy. That is lame. Can we stop that as a culture? Celebrating being stupid busy? I like to work hard. I start early in the morning and I work until late at night. I try to have some friend time in there, but I’m very, very focused. Busy, not without a plan. Busy with a plan is so much better. “
The guy who seemed incredibly focused on his studies, spending countless hours reviewing notes before a test, was probably deemed a “nerd” in school. Curiously, the guy who puts in extra long hours at the office, coming in on the weekends and staying late at night, is applauded for his work ethic. The guy who is busy all the time is praised for his ambition. Capitalism almost fetishizes the hard worker.
We prize individual achievement and there is this notion that if you put in the hours, if you work extra hard, you’ll reap the rewards of your efforts. So, work harder. Work more. Always be busy. Right? Maybe not.
The state of “being busy” or “being at work” has no value or merit on its own. I know this all too well as a freelancer, because “putting in the hours” is not what generate my income. It’s not about just working. It’s about working effectively. It’s about working efficiently. It’s about working on the tasks that actually matter and not getting caught up in mindless busywork.
Most people know Chase Jarvis best as a wildly successful and highly sought after professional photographer. But did you know that he has since expanded his professional portfolio consistently? He runs a creative education program that live streams over the Internet. He has a very active YouTube channel where he interviews some of the world’s best innovators. He also has a weekly video series, Chase Jarvis Raw, where he explores creativity and hustle and that’s where I pulled the quote above.
He’s a busy guy, to be sure, but he doesn’t equate being busy with being successful. When you get caught up with being “crazy busy,” the problem isn’t a lack of time. The problem is that you’re having a hard time prioritizing exactly what it is that you want and need to do. You’re not spending your time effectively.
“If you work in blocks of time, you can actually get a lot more done with less hours actually working. You can’t actually make more hours in the day happen, but you can have more energy and more rigor and focus for the time that you have actually allocated to work.”
Like me, you might fall into the trap of wanting to do too much. But there are so many hours in the day and there’s only so much you can do. So, you need to decide what is most important and what is going to get you closer to achieving your goals. Everything else has to fall to the wayside.
Chase Jarvis also recognizes the value of batch processing. Multitasking as a productivity hack is a myth. All you end up doing is wasting your time shifting modes in your brain. Instead, gather together all of the same kinds of tasks together and tackle them in blocks. Use your time more effectively and with greater focus.
In other words, just get stuff done.