But there’s a growing body of literature that suggests that “busy” is a disease, that we are poor managers of our time, and that we can do better. One advocate who believes that you have more time than you might think is Laura Vanderkam (lauravanderkam.com/), author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, and the more recent I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time. Vanderkam, who is the author of several time management and productivity books, looks for practical, research-based ways to help individuals combine work, family, and time for themselves on a daily basis.
When it comes to putting the notion of “saying yes to more” into practice, even entertaining the idea can feel like too much. The questions I have had to ask myself are, “Am I really too busy, or do I just believe that I am?” and “How does my busy-ness impact my ability to seek out new opportunities?”
Yes, I have time to support that project.
Yes, I have time to talk to my friend.
Yes, I have time to read an extra chapter to my child.
Yes, I have time to edit that document for you.
Yes, I have time to exercise.
Yes, I have time to plan healthy meals.
Yes, I have time to attend that networking event.
These “Yeses” mean that I have to say “No” too.
No, I don’t have time to waste on Facebook.
No, I don’t have time to spend on projects that are not professionally fulfilling.
No, I do not have time to drive two hours round trip to attend hot yoga.
No, I don’t have time to use on activities that will not result in my goals.
No, I don’t have time to focus on my being busy.
And these “Yeses” have to be realistic.
Yes, I have 10 hours this week to support that project.
Yes, I have time to talk to my friend on Friday evening.
Yes, I have time to read an extra chapter to my child after we’ve done her homework.
Yes, I have time to edit that document for you if you get it to me today.
Yes, I have time to exercise for 30 minutes.
Yes, I have time to plan four healthy meals, but we’ll order pizza on Saturday.
Yes, I have time to attend that networking event to talk to the five companies in which I am interested.
Instead of wallowing in busy-ness, let’s try focusing on the possibility that comes with saying “yes” in a realistic manner. Let’s see what happens when we stop being busy and start being open to change.