What Does It Mean To Be Busy?

It’s been a while! Thanks for putting up with the radio silence, we have been developing some new projects so look out for some updates! Our goal is to publish a weekly story about Excel, productivity, and respecting the hustle. We’ll also be pushing out a newsletter with more news from around the Interwebs which will be published on our blog and sent via e-mail if you’ve subscribed to our blog. Without further adeu, onto today’s story:

We are big fans of Tim Ferriss’ podcast and one of Tim’s previous guests was Tim Kreider, an essayist and cartoonist. Tim K. reads an essay he wrote about being “busy.” The mission of KeyCuts is to help you be productive through Excel and other productivity hacks, but what about other aspects of your life? The whole point of being productive is so that you can have time to do the other things you enjoy in your life, but what if your productivity attitude seeps into your personal life? This quote from Tim K.’s podcast sums up his manifesto:

They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness, and dread what they might have to face in its absence. Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work.

Source: Tim Ferriss

Almost Everything You Do Doesn’t Matter

As crazy as it sounds, despite how busy and productive you are, what tangible thing are you actually doing? We recently saw this article from Thrillist about what it means to work in finance in NYC. While this listicle is a piece of satire on the finance occupation, one can’t help notice the amount of effort finance guys and gals put into making it look like they are busy crunching numbers in a spreadsheet. We don’t think it’s a huge stretch to say that most people with desk jobs really aren’t working much.

Tim K. goes on to say that most people are building tangible things anymore. It’s true, most of us are not researching the cure for cancer or solving world hunger, but the activities we fill our days with whether it’s work-related or not, can be debilitating. Going to weekly team meetings, figuring out how to do expense reports, spending days or weeks filling out your annual performance report for your next promotion; these activities all keep you busy but don’t really amount to much in the grander scheme of your life.

Is Your Purpose Defined By Your Busyness?

We know it’s deep, so follow along with us. Have you ever tried to schedule a meeting with a director at your company? You end up going through the director’s executive assistant to grab 15 minutes on his or her calendar. If you’re just an analyst, it may be hard to believe how someone can be so in demand, so occupied with seeing people or being a part of a committee that they would have time to meet with you.

Perhaps your lack of time and busyness validates your current career position. By committing yourself to projects, task forces, and people you end up spreading yourself too thin. Tim K. also discusses the notion of “plan shopping,” or never committing to any one event until you have all your options in front of you so that you can then ultimately decide on the plan that advances your career or love life. It’s almost like Tinder meets Thursday happy hours in Manhattan.

Creativity and Unstructured Time

The Professional Convention Management Association released a study about creativity in the meetings industry. If there’s one organization that knows about organization and time management, it would be the PCMA. They suggest that time must be carved out to brainstorm and push the boundaries of your industry. This sounds like a paradox. How many times has your team pushed a “brainstorm session,” or a “lunch and learn” where you get 1 hour to just spitball ideas back and forth? While it’s a step in the right direction, just plopping an hour on the calendar and forcing people to think creatively and then having them go on with their daily work routine could prevent a truly innovative idea.

Most of us don’t bring work back home with us but are thinking about work all the time. Without these thoughts about completing your projects and advancing your career, what do you have left? Perhaps the best way to rid work from your mind is to agree to plans you normally would think twice about. Imagine what an afternoon would be like that wasn’t scheduled around your Google Calendar and there weren’t any clear plans for the night. We think you would be surprised by the amazing things you’ll discover about yourself and the world you live in.

“Play some skee ball. Fuck in the middle of the day.” says Tim K.