Do you think about your defaults? These are your automated systems and responses that come up over and over. For example, when someone says, “how are you?” do you automatically say, “good, but busy!” If you schedule a coffee meeting, do you book it for an hour? When you see you have an email, do you respond immediately?
Defaults are one of the ways that our brains make our lives easier. The problem is, sometimes these defaults have been set by someone else, or under different circumstances. Many of the defaults that we live by are not choices that we have made, but choices that were made for us.
Things we default to that add to busyness:
Saying “I’m busy,” when someone asks how you are doing.
Telling people you are busy is an American badge of honor. We feel as though busyness equals success; it doesn’t. It’s the opposite for many of us. Saying you are busy puts you in a busy mindset, making that bade of honor a trap you set for yourself.
Scheduling meetings for 1-hour
Who mandated that meetings should last an hour? Richard Branson aims to have all of his meetings last 10-minutes. Most well-planned meetings should last less than an hour. Give a 45-minute meeting a try; you may find that the meeting is better, and you will save yourself 15-minutes to use as you see fit.
Picking up a screen every time there is a down moment.
When you are waiting, what do you do? Screens dominate our lives more and more. While they offer great value, they also rob us of downtime. We no longer have those moments letting our minds wander as we stand in line or wait for someone. Instead, every moment our minds are focused, either on conversation, tasks or in those few in-between moments, a screen. Essentially our minds never rest, making us feel busier and more frantic.