"If you want work well done, select a busy man, the other kind has no time." – Elbert Hubbard
Derivatives of this famous quote can be attributed to several people including Benjamin Franklin and the comedienne, Lucille Ball.
It seems counterintuitive to get someone who is already busy to do more for you. Why not select someone that hasn’t got so much on their plate?
It goes back to the old saying: ‘Practice makes perfect’.
Busy people set up systems and processes that work for them. They can only function effectively if things are planned and managed well. They have a tight schedule to complete the tasks diligently so there must be a logical way to approach what is required of them.
As a person gets more involved in different things, whether it is a business person taking on more Clients, a parent helping out at their child’s school or a full-time employee volunteering for a charity they find a way of managing their time effectively without compromising their regular obligations and responsibilities.
A busy person finds it quite easy to take on additional responsibilities because they practise juggling a lot of the time so do not feel overwhelmed or out of control when faced with more; whereas someone who doesn’t have the experience of multi-tasking might.
How do busy people do it?
Focusing on the time they have, versus the task in hand, is fundamental. Busy people’s brains turn into a project management tool so effective that they juggle and multi-task to reorder the jigsaw puzzle in order for it to be completed correctly in good time.
For example, with 15 minutes to ‘spare’ before a lunch break, instead of starting an urgent report that will take a few hours to draft and complete, that short window is a perfect opportunity to clear a few of the quick, but not necessarily urgent, tasks that loiter on a ‘To-Do List’. Tackling an inbox for 15 minutes will create a sense of achievement in a short space of time so this psychological ‘win’ will most certainly contribute to a positive mindset to return to that all important report with the deadline being achieved more easily.
It’s about working smarter, not longer. Fitting in what can be done in the allocated time, planning the bigger projects so they are given sufficient time they require and so on.
Then a person can look at the steps required to logically complete their end-goals and put them in place accordingly.
The key to this is to take a step back and invest a little time to plan how the result will be achieved. The amount of time taken to do this will depend upon the level and frequency of the task undertaken. Little time may be required if repetition and experience come into play.
Mind maps, flowcharts, mental imagery can help, together with other ways to sequence events, with the aim to achieve the objective set.
Planning for all Eventualities
Hypothesising about what might go wrong along the way is the next step and consideration of how those issues will be fixed so a person’s plans are not scuppered.
Back up plans, contingencies and additional time set to deal with hiccups reduce stress levels and keep the problem solving brain working to counteract the hurdles that crop up.
Rarely does something go 100% according to plan in the way that it was meticulously prepared, however, it is how it is proactively managed thereafter that will define its success.
Once plans are put in place and the processes are being practised regularly, the results become clear to see. For the ‘A-Team’ fans amongst you, Hannibal’s “I love it when a plan comes together” quote comes to mind at this stage when things run smoothly and the routine is set.
It becomes second nature to juggle effectively, to adapt and flex where necessary and reprioritise constantly. As a learnt practice, the skills attained will often become subconscious, taking the effort out of what was once more mentally draining to achieve.
The continual practice of this builds confidence but it develops something that is worth far more to other people.
It emphasises reliability.
Once a person feels confident in doing many things at once, juggling and multi-tasking, busy people become reliable.
Reliability is a true quality that is often lacking but one which people want and need. This creates a demand for reliability.
The circle is formed because busy people become reliable and reliable people become busy.
Reliability leads to trust. Once trust is in place, more people will vouch for that person. Through reliability and trust, relationships are built and we know that business is built on relationships. You get the gist.
Positive and trusting relationships have longevity which knows no bounds. Opportunities become limitless and both parties in the relationship benefit.
If you want something done, ask a busy person.
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