What Busy Gets You

Busy-ness is distraction disguised as accomplishment.

Why is it so easy to be distracted? Here’s my theory: We crave an immediate affirmation. When we get to check a to-do off our list, respond to that quick email, or handle that quick phone call, there is a tangible result that we get to look at and say, “Ah, yes. I did that. I have accomplished something.”

So how do we stay focused on the long-term work and generate authentic productivity instead of just being busy?

Clean up your physical workspace

When the disorganization overwhelms and distracts me, I take thirty minutes to attack the mess. After thirty minutes one of two things has happened: either everything has been put in its place or it has been moved out of sight until I have time to sort, stow or throw it away.

Close your virtual workspace

Pull an Elsa. Shut down your email, web and calendar apps and let.it.go. Make it that much harder to get at those distractions. Try working on that presentation for 30 minutes and nothing else. See how far you get.

Clear your mental workspace

Dump it all. Put every single thing you have to do down on a piece of paper (or your favorite to-do list app). Observe with wonder how amazing you are for all the responsibilities you carry. At the same time, remove those irritating intermittent hijackers of your productive work from your mind – get back in your “flow.”

Be a musketeer

All for one and one for all applies to your tasks just as much as it does to a team. What one thing do you need to focus on this week that will help you demonstrate your highest and best value? Chances are you dumped it on that piece of paper with all the other noise from your busy mind. If what you’re doing isn’t helping you achieve the one thing for the week or it is getting in the way of the three things you need to do today, STOP it. Go back to your list and rededicate yourself.

True Value

The most important thing that you can do – and the most foundational – is to understand the unique value that you bring to the table. When you know that, you can align the work you do with how you show up at your best. And when the world sees you at your best, your confidence grows and possibilities become more apparent.


Tara Lynn is a leadership development speaker, Fascinate Certified Advisor, coach, and writer. She brings polished, insightful ideas to companies and individuals, helping them clarify their unique value and rise to higher standards of success. The practical tips and tools she shares get her clients from point A to point C while solving for the mysterious point B. 

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