I’m not talking busy in the sense of laundry, grocery shopping, hit the gym, post office and grabbing coffee at Starbucks.
I’m talking busy in the sense that your free minutes are spent working towards a goal.
How many times have you had conversations with friends and colleagues about how cool it’d be if you did X? Or, about that great idea you had?
I distinctly recall a conversation from two years ago when I was chatting with some colleagues and the idea of creating our own media platform came up.
Man, wouldn’t that be cool!? We all agreed.
And that was the end of it.
Think about how many times you see something cool in the news that you can relate to and inspires you. Here is how these interactions usually play out.
Saw that person who is now making a living from blogging?
“I have always had this idea for a blog. It’s all about… oh wait, I need to go meet friends for coffee. I’ll get back to this. Too much going on right now.”
That one girl who now runs an empire on Instagram?
“Jealous! I have always had a passion for sharing creative, interactive content on Instagram. I could do that if I tried! Maybe later”
That one guy who travels the world doing X?
“That’s exactly what I want to do! I wonder if I could take my experience with Y to do this? Add it to my bucket list!”
*don’t even get me started on bucket lists!
Why does the conversation end there?
I think our generation has an excuse mentality and a perception that we are all actually busy. We are the most aspirational generation in decades. We love a good motivational quote! We love jumping from job to job chasing the next promotion. So many inspiring headline stories of young people building incredible projects, so little time!
Yet, we are holding ourselves back more than ever with the excuses we make because we are afraid to add new commitments to our routines.
Too much going on right now.
I’m too busy.
I don’t know how to start.
I need to get more experience with X before I can do Y.
Being soooooo busy is the most common excuse I hear and that is utter bullshit!
So, a year ago, I committed to acting on the things I’ve said I wanted to do with no regard to how I would fit them in my daily schedule. No more saying I wanted to do X. No more adding to a budget list. No more saying I was too busy. If I wanted to accomplish something eventually, I would start TODAY.
Flash forward to today and I’ve got a couple things going on:
- Founder, Editor-in-chief | PRSUIT.com
- Co-founder | Trep Media Group
- Co-host | The Hustle Sold Separately Podcast
- Co-founder | Accelerate Your Brand
- Co-founder | New fashion line (shhh! coming soon)
- Co-Publisher | New style publication (also coming soon!)
I’ve been featured on Entrepreneur.com three times in the past 3 months, been on CBS, WGN, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune.
To say I’m busy is a bit of an understatement. I also work full time for a start-up in Chicago that I love and am dedicated to.
I have embarked on an excuse-free journey where busy isn’t really busy but rather driven.
Here is what I’ve learned from being busy.
I utilize time more efficiently than you
To get work done, the environment doesn’t have to be perfect. I get work done on my 14 minute commute to my day job. I get work done when walking to grab a coffee. When I have an idea, I act on it quickly. I don’t add it to a a ‘to-do’ list. I prioritize tasks that take less than 5 minutes.
I have found that the majority of people fall into two groups. The TODAYS and the TOMORROWS.
The former gets shit done and executes fast. That doesn’t mean its at the expense of quality. It means that when they have an idea, they very rapidly take the first step towards accomplishing it. They kickstart momentum then and there.
The latter group group says, hey! thats a great idea! I’m going to do some research, plan a sit-down to really map this out, and then I’ll think about taking action”
While that process plays out, I’ve already launched, learned, pivoted and re-launched.
That is efficiency and has enabled me to accomplish A LOT while still maintaining a social life, solid sleep schedule and leisure activities.
I multi-task 24/7
People who can’t multitask drive me crazy. I think everyone at some point in their lives should wait tables. It teaches you to deal with an absurd amount of requests at the same time, prioritize them as they’re thrown at you and then execute accordingly (speaking from experience here… Applebees, I see you!!).
I run two daily publication, have hundreds of thousands of social followers, a large email list, advertiser requests, a daily webinar series and a bunch of other requests that require daily and hourly attention. On top of that I have a full time job. Did I mention I have a full-time job? I have a full-time job.
So how do I do it?
Effort and automation.
I adhere to the Paretto 80/20 rule which says that 80% of results come from 20% of effort. I have identified where I am effective with my input and how that results in output.
As a result, I don’t waste time on the massive timesuck that many new entrepreneurs fall into.
With those areas identified, I automate as best I can. Mailchimp, Buffer, various schedulers, Active Campaign, Click Funnels. There are so many tools that can enable you to effectively market, publish, share, etc. that require initial understanding but from there don’t require hourly effort.
Experience is the only way to learn
This might be the most important lesson learned on this list.
You can read every “how-to” book under the sun, complete every checklist, use every template, read every “how to be successful” list (except the ones on prsuit.com…those you should read!) but nothing will move you closer to your goal than actually taking action. Not just that, but while doing it, learning from actual people who have been there and done that. Not the gurus who promise you the sun, but the guys and girls who have hustled and grinded out their visions for years.
In tandem, knowledge from others and your own concurrent action is a deadly force.
When I have an idea I want to execute on, the first thing I do is ask myself “do I know anyone who has done this before?” If yes, I leverage that person’s experience.
If not, I do some quick but effective research and then execute. From there, I learn learn learn, pivot and tweak and then learn some more until I accomplish what I set out to do.
In that amount of time, I have lapped anyone who had the same idea but is still in the research phase.
Experience trumps any amount of planning. All good plans go to shit once you execute, so repeat after me… experience trumps all.
Busy yourself now or you’ll never have time to busy yourself… what?
I just turned 28 and as I see my friends and colleagues marry, have kids and move to the suburbs, their responsibilities grow immeasurably. Suddenly, the opportunity window to chase goals like these shrinks considerably.
I published an article yesterday about our desire to feel certain about our life purpose and to know that we’re on the right path.
I have found that the only way (for me at least) to ensure that I find this path, is to accrue as many experiences as possible so that I don’t look back in 10 years and say, man! I wish I had done xyz.
20s, 30s, 40s… I really don’t think there is a point where you can no longer take action and start working towards a goal but I will say that as you progress in life stages, you will find yourself faced with responsibilities that your will understandably prioritize over your own passions and desires to create (children, family, health, well-being, etc.)
You can’t know what the perfect path will be, you can’t know what the perfect you should be, you can’t know what your purpose in life is until it starts to uncover itself. You can’t know your destination until you get there. So instead of spinning your wheels with the unknowable, focus on what you actually have right in front of you.
You have to create what is in front of you. Busy yourself with discovering this by DOING and NETWORKING.
You have a lot more free time than you think
Here are some stats for you.
The average American works just under 8 hours a day.
The average American spends almost an hour a day on Facebook.
The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day (WHAT?!)
The average commute time to work in America is almost 30 minutes.
The average person in the U.S. spends 33 minutes per day playing mobile games
I’m not even going to talk about the fact that the average american is watching 5 hours of TV a day. 5 hours!
The point here is, you have a heck of a lot of time to do stuff, you just need to get off your ass and use it better.
Make some sacrifices!
Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent.
You are not entitled to anything just because you are busying yourself with work.
Not only that but results do not happen immediately (see #7).
I started PRSUIT almost two years ago. Sometimes I was really into it, others I didn’t even think about it. The result? No results.
Once I fully committed to growing it, that’s when shit got real. I didn’t miss a day of effort. I posted everyday. Emailed everyday. Networked everyday.
Consistency pays off.
Nothing happens overnight. I find a lot of people jumping headfirst into building their dreams, and that is great!
But you have to let it play itself out. Too many people think success happens overnight. The media exacerbates this but rest assured, behind success are countless hours of grind. I guarantee you that.
It does not happen overnight. It simply does not.
Gary says it best here:
I hope this inspires you to be busy in an all new sense. Not mindlessly busy. Not busy for the sake of being busy. But busy because you are more driven than you were before.
Photo credit: flickr