What do you believe about being busy? When you’re busy, does that mean you’re productive? When you’re busy, do you assume you’re getting important things done? When you’re busy, do you feel alive?
What has happened to create this epidemic of “busy”? Maybe one reason for so much “busy” is the multitude of options. 250,000 apps for the iPhone. 387 breakfast cereals. Seemingly unlimited entertainment options. Downsizing at work creating more work for those left. Over committed children creating over committed parents (or is it the other way around?).
I bristle at the phrase “I’m too busy!” It hasn’t always been that way for me because once I too thought “I’m busy” meant “I’m important,” “I’m productive,” and “I feel alive.” But I see it differently now.
What’s the real truth about busy?
Busy just to be busy leaves you tired and empty.
Busy on purpose leaves you satisfied and fulfilled.
Busy on purpose:
- Is engaging.
- Contributes to others.
- Serves a greater good.
- Outlasts busy for busy sake.
You only live once, but if you work it right,
once is enough. Fred Allen
Finding your purpose
Figuring out your purpose isn’t necessarily quick or easy but is a process of reflection, dialogue, trial and error.
Here are two exercises to help you figure out your purpose:
- Picture a huge billboard on the highway running through your town. You have been given the freedom to write or draw any message you like on the board. Thousands of people pass by every day and look at the sign. You have the opportunity to impact those drivers in any way you like. What would you put on the billboard? What words? Images? What impact would you like to make?
- You have lived to a ripe old age and now find yourself sitting on a porch in a rocking chair with your close friends and family. As you sit there on a cool evening, everyone starts telling stories and speaking of the difference you have made in their lives. What do they say?
After you have written down your answers, keep writing and chopping until you come up with a phrase that captures your purpose or main contribution in life.
Once you have your purpose – get busy!
Four more thoughts to guide being busy on purpose:
- Put people first
Busy on purpose that hurts or neglects people is off base. Make sure your purpose includes others and isn`t just all about you and what you want.
If your purpose doesn’t involve people,
only a life lived for others is worth living. Einstein
- Learn from failure
You are going to make mistakes and over commit from time to time. The key is not to beat yourself up but to stop and reflect on what you can learn from your mistakes and commit to doing better next time.
- Keep moving forward
Persistence is critical in purposeful living. It`s not how well you start but how well you finish. Don`t ever give up working towards a life lived on purpose that reaps a lasting reward.
The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand,
as in what direction we are moving. Goethe
- Include God in your purpose
My personal conviction is a life purpose without God will ultimately fail. God has been directly involved in helping me figure out a life purpose and stay busy during this season of suffering and recovery when it would have been so easy to slide into a place of despair and frustration.
What is your purpose?
What are you busy doing you need to stop doing so you can be busy on purpose?
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