How To Avoid The Busyness Trap

Dan Sullivan
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I find that busyness is often worn as a badge of honor these days. I’m especially amazed when entrepreneurs fall into this trap. And it is a trap. It seems no matter what these individuals are doing, they’re always distracted by something else—they’re never fully present no matter where they are or who they’re with.

It makes me wonder: Where are they?

A troubling problem for an entrepreneur.

For entrepreneurs, who are in the business of marketing and selling after all, this presents a problem. When an opportunity does come along where something big and exciting could be launched or inspired or decided, they’re not conscious enough to take advantage because they’re too busy being busy.

Busyness is a consciousness killer. Busyness is a creativity killer. Busyness is a connection killer. Most important, busyness is a credibility killer.

I find that people are very busy looking outside of themselves for the next thing that’s going to propel them as an entrepreneur, when, in fact, the answer is inside themselves: Stop being busy. Stop filling your time with activity, with tasks. Work on being present instead.

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A decision that changed my own sense of time.

Three years ago, I made the decision to make a change in the way I was operating. Since my business and life partner, Babs Smith, and I work 210 days out of the year and take 155 days of the year away from the office, where we do no work-related thinking or doing, we have only 210 workdays to get everything done. And, of course, every year, we want to accomplish more at Strategic Coach. That requires being very focused.

I looked at the 210 days and thought, “What if on each of those days, I did just three important things.”

The focused entrepreneur: quality vs. quantity.

I notice that as I become less busy I’m able to be totally present whatever the situation because I have great confidence that my time is slowing down. Things aren’t flashing past, there aren’t a hundred distractions, and there aren’t a hundred things to do. There are just three.

At the same time, the quality of the three things I do every day keeps increasing. Since I can’t increase the quantity of things I’m doing, those three things have to have greater impact.

One of the greatest skills.

If I look at the math, out of the 210 days a year I’m in the office working each day on my three most important things, that’s 630 important things in a year! What entrepreneur wouldn’t be growing if that were the case, with both productivity and profitability going up?

Being present means that wherever you are, whoever you’re with at that time, your attention is 100 percent on that person in that situation on what’s being discussed. This is one of the greatest skills that any human being can have in a world where hardly anyone else has the attention for anything. Those with a busyness mindset have put themselves in a precarious position where, as the world keeps speeding up, they’re only going to get busier and busier.

It’s the focused entrepreneur who will win the day.


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