PM Article

Busyness to Business – Busyness is probably the Biggest Corporate Disease

Yatin Samant

Yatin has proven track record of business results of more than 34 years of Corporate working, across a diverse set of industries in India and Asia Pacific, during different business phases of Start up, Growth & Turnaround. Exposure to diversity of geography & culture gives him a sharper understanding of Issues and human behaviour.

Yatin is a PCC level trained, credentialised Executive Coach.

Research tells us that most of us are underleveraged to the extent of 95%, with only about 5% of our abilities being used, not because of lack of skills or talent, but due to application gap. Primarily we are too busy to find time to discover and bring forth our full potential. Worse still many of us are blissfully ignorant that our ‘busy’ state of mind, is blocking our rise to our full potential.

I am convinced that for a fulfilled work & life, we need to get beyond the ‘busyness’ trap.

‘Busyness’ is a silent killer and is probably the biggest and most debilitating Corporate Disease –  I call it as a  ‘3 Cs’ Disease  : Contagious, Chronic and Cancerous

  • Contagious: Affects everybody around / working with you
  • Chronic: The more you remain affected, the deeper you sink
  • Cancerous: Unless detected & prevented early – can be terminal

Being busy is like falling into a trap which one finds tough to come out of. Getting busy is like getting into a marshy land, the more you stay there, the deeper you sink.

Being ‘busy’ is a vicious cycle, similar to the situation that Abhimanyu from the Mahabharat encountered. When he was trapped inside a Chakravyuh, he did not know how to come out. Busyness leaves an individual fire fighting and constantly in a reactive mode – where tomorrow is no better than today. Since future can be created only in Proactive mode , ‘Busy people cannot create future for Self or for the Organisation they work for, Simply because they do not have time for Future !

Busyness has serious, lasting consequences

  • In your career – Effectiveness, Productivity, Career growth
  • On your organization – Results reached, Cost / benefit of efforts deployed, Growth plans
  • On your colleagues – Busyness & its aftereffects are contagious — like a chain reaction or a relay race, one person’s busyness & delays affect each person at next / successive stage.
  • On you as an individual – Work-Life balance, Morale, Confidence

There is a big difference between Leaders who are successful and those who are not. The former are ‘Meaningfully engaged’ while the later are just ‘Busy’. Meaningful engagement requires connecting with a Purpose, not just aimlessly trapped into activities as busy people are.

Symptoms of Busyness

It is not difficult to ‘detect’ the onset of busyness disease. It has two components

  1. I) Physical
  • Missing deadlines, always firefighting • Struggle to be ready on time, for anything • Repeating mistakes
  1. II) Phychological
  • Tired / low on energy, overwhelmed • In ‘ victim’ trap – blaming others • Quick on self defence, basking on past glorification

Is Busyness real or imagined? Is it a state of matter or a state of mind?

Busyness prevails in the absence of an organized mind! – just like darkness in the absence of light. The clutter is not circumstantial, it is inside! It is not how much you work, but “How” you work which makes you ‘Busy’.

  • You can imagine how much time it will take to access a book you need in a Library where lakhs of books are well organised v/s how much time it will take if all the books were to be drawn out, well mixed & spread on a table. These two scenarios are actually a reflection of two very different states of mind of two different types of people: Organised & unorganized mind respectively.
  • Busyness implies that your time is falling short of your task. This shortfall is not necessarily due to less physical time but often is a prioritisation & time efficiency issue. It is about Productive time getting compromised due to unproductive time consumed by unorganised and unscheduled activities.

Busyness is not real – it’s a state of mind! , you can come out of it if you want. Since the roots of this ‘disease’ are in the mind, solution starts from reorientation of mind.

Way out of “Busyness Chakravyuh” 

It is important to understand that Business can start only when Busyness ends!

Total time spent on any task has 3 components :

(i) Processing time  (ii) Waiting time  (iii) Idle time

Often the culprit is the unproductive (Waiting & Idle time). Technically, the way out is, to identify & spend less time to Access & more time to Process to create business Success.