one of the most difficult things to do for many of us is to tell someone that your time is better spent elsewhere. we will sit through a meeting we have no stake in the outcome of because we believe it is our responsibility to be there. we make a choice based on duty to waste our time on meaningless activities. we’ll waste time writing ephemeral status reports that—if ever read—will be forgotten in a week or sooner. we’ll churn through our inbox reading and organizing our email when most of what we receive is—let’s face it—even in a corporate environment best categorized as spam. we’re so afraid to say ‘i’m sorry, but this is a waste of my time.’
we embrace busyness because it makes us feel like we’re doing work. if we’re scurrying around from conference room to conference room, and dialing in to meeting after meeting we can point to our schedules and say ‘i’m a busy person’ and all too easily excuse ourselves from doing the work that matters. instead of spending time investing in ourselves and in others and building something for the future, we waste our time on fleeting things we can point to and say: ‘hey, i’m doing what i’m supposed to be doing.’
but are you really?