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Leadership Development Blog

What do you miss out on by being too busy?

We are all busy, whether we are entry level employees or senior executives.   It almost feels wrong somehow if we are not busy. But what is the cost of this level of activity?

The most obvious ramifications of being too busy is the risk of missing deadlines or producing less than your best quality of work, but the problem is so much bigger than that – especially when you are dealing with changes and the changes associated with exiting or merging businesses and people.

There is no doubt that with the responsibility of leading a team comes pressure and conflicting priorities and the burden of ‘putting out fires’ in many cases.   The problem with this is that approach tends to be more reactive than proactive and with that comes a whole range of problems.

It is almost impossible to identify future opportunities if you are caught up in the issues of the day.   If you miss emerging trends or business leads for example, this can affect your efficiency, productivity and in the medium term the viability and financial success of your team or department.

Whilst you are managing individuals and being ‘problem’ focused it also prevents you from being an active team leader who can identify the individual strengths and development opportunities for your star performers.   By not cultivating and recognising the people who by the nature of their exceptional quality of work are the easiest to manage, you in fact risk losing them altogether if they don’t feel rewarded and appreciated.

On a personal level, aside from the much talked about work/life balance conflict, if you are too busy to perform at your best, this can have a detrimental effect on your career advancement and remuneration, particularly if it is linked to team outcomes and performance. Your individual learning and development is often also a casualty in the busy stakes, which can have an impact on your capacity to grow and forward your career.

The two most personal losses when you are too busy is your ability to enjoy your work and at worst case, your health. It can be all too easy to forget what attracted you to your industry, your role and your organisation in the first place, and lose motivation and personal satisfaction on a day to day basis.   Health wise, being busy often means stress due to the inability to reach our goals or produce the quality output we once achieved. Stress has a proven detrimental effect on our sleep, digestions and mental alertness, and the downward spiral continues.

How you can become less busy is a topic all of its own, and requires individualised and targeted assessment and solutions. It’s not just about getting some good points down, it’s about changing habits of behaviour. So as you embark on changing your business model, scaling up or down, think about how you can manage your challenges in a more comfortable manner and let other experts step in and up when you need them most.

Posted by Ricky Nowak on 26th August, 2015 |

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