Juliet Funt is an expert in productivity and talks about how even the best leaders give in to time thieves, what the hidden cost of busyness is, and how to add white space to your work and life so you can reclaim some sanity and improve your performance and quality of life.
Welcome to Episode 446 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
Plus, in this episode’s Ask Me Anything About Productivity segment, Carey answers Karen’s question about what to do when you feel like you have to do everything.
Have a question about productivity? Let Carey coach you. Leave your message here!
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So let’s talk about busyness—specifically how busyness has somehow become an aspirational badge of honor.
Think about it…Saturday morning, you were answering emails during your daughter’s soccer game. Tuesday night, you were on a call with a client about a new initiative during your son’s piano recital.
Friday night, you went out to celebrate your anniversary but you were so distracted by intrusive thoughts about work that you can’t remember what you ate. Monday afternoon, you took time to plan and prepare for the week ahead while your family went for a bike ride. Sound familiar?
Let’s get uncomfortably honest here: How long has it been since you were fully present?
That ends today, and our friends at BELAY can help. BELAY, the incredible organization revolutionizing productivity with their virtual assistant, bookkeeping and social media strategist services for growing organizations, knows ‘busy’ all too well. They can help you reject that “Cult of Preoccupation” to find balance, peace and happiness, even when “busy” feels out of our control.
You can get a FREE copy of their resource, “5 Blind Spots That Steal Your Attention” by texting CAREY to 55123.
A Minute to Think by Juliet Funt
The Reinvention of Work by Mathew Fox
Why is My Life so Hard? Freakonomics
CNLP 403: Cal Newport on Why You’re Distracted and Unproductive at Work, How to Structure Your Work Life Far More Effectively, and Cultivating Influence Without Social Media
At Your Best by Carey Nieuwhof
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Insights From Juliet
1. White space is necessary in life, both at work and at home
Juliet and her team define white space as time with no assignment. It is any period of time that is at liberty for you to improvise with it. It can be 30 seconds to take a breath, it can be an hour to plan your business or it can be a second and a half before you answer a question instead of just diving in. Those white spaces, the literal moments of unscheduled time, when they’re interlaced through the day, make everything different.
When your calendar is stacked with back-to-back meetings, you have no time to process, or take your notes and put them into your task manager, and you haven’t had time to plan. This can lead to forgetfulness and tasks left undone.
At home, you might find yourself too busy to notice sweet moments with your family or an opportunity to appreciate nature. Take a moment and build white space into both your work and home life.
2. Rest can make you more productive
There is actual science that proves the brain needs rest, meaning we physically need rest to be at our best. So, why is busyness glamorized and rest so shamed?
The only way to give the brain more clarity, and make it work at full capacity, is to give it a break. All sorts of things happen when you interlay space as part of the day. You’re more creative, more thoughtful, more strategic, more replenished and even kinder.
Consider taking a nap during your workday (Carey does) or giving your team a wellness day. You will likely find that it has exponential benefits to productivity.
3. Busyness can cost you financially
Through Juliet’s consulting, she has found that companies spend about a million dollars annually for every 50 people on unnecessary work. Wow! Busyness tricks you into thinking it adds value.
In the episode, Juliet outlines the scenario with an employee she calls Hannah. Hannah is a rock star, and you pay her a salary of $100k. And whether she’s doing high value work and generating revenue for your company, or she does low value work and spends the majority of her time in Zoom meetings or playing computer games, you’re still paying her the $100k salary—so it costs you either way.
Juliet suggests avoiding all of the busy touch points—the endless meetings, emails, the CCs, unnecessary reporting, etc., and instead, take control of the high value work.
Quotes from Episode 446Rest must be laced into the daily experience. @thejulietfunt Click To Tweet The more you abdicate control, the more you let go, the more growth you can have. @thejulietfunt Click To Tweet People want work where they can serve others with their labor and dance their dance. – Matthew Fox Click To Tweet Self-care is not self-indulgence. Click To Tweet Leaders who quell busyness and make more space have the ability to write their legacy like a story they're writing with a pen. @thejulietfunt Click To Tweet If you don't have a gratitude practice or a celebration practice as part of your work, you're always going to be spending the day noticing the things that went wrong. @thejulietfunt Click To Tweet There is this shame around rest in our professional culture that I would really like to be the champion against. @thejulietfunt Click To Tweet It's the ratio of high value work to low value work that leaders need to take control of. @thejulietfunt Click To Tweet Busyness lures you into thinking that all of its touch points have value. @thejulietfunt Click To Tweet The daily reprieve of busyness comes from, first, remembering that the price on my life is very big. @thejulietfunt Click To Tweet
Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 446
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Next Episode: Charles Duhigg
Pulitzer Prize winning and New York Times bestselling author, Charles Duhigg, explains what most leaders don’t know about innovation, why deep thinking is the killer app throughout history, and how to develop better habits.
Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 447.