It’s Okay to Embrace the Busy, it’s Part of God’s Plan

“Work” Isn’t a Bad Word, and it Shouldn’t be Used That Way

Last week I wrote about the topic of being busy and it’s current prevalence in conversations. This frequency was confirmed in a recent Ray Edwards podcast, “5 Reasons Why You Need to Take More Time Off”. My intent is not to throw Ray under the bus, on the contrary, he starts off by saying, “Make hay while the sun shines.” Having grown up on a farm, I can totally identify with this.

Growing up on the farm explains a lot about my work philosophy.

I think the issue of being busy, working too much, or taking time off, comes down to a couple of things. First is a societal push to have life goals of long weekends, vacations and retirement. Second is the meaning of words and how we use them.

It seems the subject of working less is being pushed more and more. I’ve heard Michael Hyatt speak of taking long sabbaticals. The internet, books and social media are full of ideas for working less and less, some say the goal should be 4 hours per day.

I don’t know but this just seems crazy to me.

I think the key to this issue is in understanding ourselves and finding the balance in what we do. This will be different for everyone. Balance doesn’t mean resting the same amount of time that working. It means resting proportionately to working.

I base my work/rest balance on God’s 6-1 ratio. He worked six days and then rested one. He completed His work and then rested. His focus wasn’t on resting, it was on accomplishing His goals. When that was done then He rested. And He loved what He was doing.

We definitely need rest…the question is what is rest and how much is needed?

I remember when people would say they were bored, I never understood that. How can someone be bored when there is so much important work to do. I think boredom is rooted in not having found a purpose. That or they were just lazy.

God’s Word makes it very clear that we are instructed to work hard and put our best effort forward. The Bible, especially in the wisdom-filled book of Proverbs, speaks often of the cause and effect relationship of hard work and rewards as well as laziness and ruin. Bible Study Tools, Bible verses about laziness, Knowing Jesus, Open Bible.

Part of the problem is in the misuse of words.

Like the word “work” for example. People use this word as if it were a punishment. It’s as if they’ve been bad so now, they have to go to “work” rather than being able to play. The definition of work is activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.

Sign me up…this sounds like something I would like to do.

Work becomes a problem when it causes us to become so focused on one thing that we lose sight of other things in life. (Take it from a recovering workaholic.) Work hard on all the different areas that make up a well-balanced life not just a job.

  • Build my relationship with God (Spiritual)
  • Build a family legacy (Family)
  • Help people build their dreams (Vocation)
  • Build wealth (Financial)
  • Build the best me (Personal Well-being)
  • Help others build a better them (Ministry)
  • Help build a better world (Social and Community)

The key is to find the work that you love and do it. This is where the real problem lies. Most people have settled for a mondain existence rather than finding their God given purpose.

Get clear on what God wants you to do and get BUSY, WORKING on that!

How to Get All of Your Puzzle Pieces to Fit into One Puzzle

The Subject of Being too Busy is a Broken Record

The term “broken record” describes something that is frequently repeated — it refers to a damaged record that would get stuck and repeat part of a recording over and over again until you moved the record player needle.

This describes the current topic of “busy”.

Every conversation that I currently have with subcontractors, suppliers and customers, starts, ends or is all about this subject. Throughout my career in construction this has been a popular topic, but no more than now. It’s like a broken record.

Construction is where the majority of my conversations happen, but “busy” is everywhere. I’ve had the “busy” conversation with a lot of people in a lot of places, i.e., masterminds, workshops, church, etc.

The “busy” conversation is nothing new.

As a matter of fact, I’ve written about this topic since I’ve been posting blogs. In October of 2015 I wrote about easing the stress of being too busy.

Here is an excerpt of that post –

This morning as I was posting in my journal, I started thinking about all of the things that I didn’t get done yesterday. Then I began to think about how many times I have posted this same thing over and over. It sure seems that I spend way too much time feeling overwhelmed and behind. I really want to get more done!

Then I thought about all of the times that I’ve had this conversation with other people. “How is your day going? Man, I am so far behind I don’t think I will ever get caught up. I sure wish there were more hours in the day.” I have heard these or similar comments more times than I can count.

Our lives can feel like a 20,000-piece jigsaw puzzle was dumped out in front of us with no picture of what it is supposed to look like when it’s done.

So how can we get all of these pieces to fit…or can we? This is the big question. It would be nice to know what the finished puzzle is supposed to look like. This puzzle can be tough and frustrating. I think it is especially difficult for those of us who are ‘recovering perfectionists’. We want all the pieces to fit just right. To know ahead of time exactly where each piece is supposed to go. This particular puzzle, called life, doesn’t work like that.

Here are some reasons we struggle with our puzzle and some ideas to help us get our pieces to fit.

  • We pick up too many pieces by over scheduling. There are so many pieces…Start with the corner pieces. Put in the most important pieces first.
  • The puzzle isn’t going together as fast as we want. Sometimes (most times) things just take longer…do as much planning and preparation as we can before we start, but don’t over plan. Spread the pieces out, find the edge pieces and get started.
  • With so many pieces in front of us we lose our focus. After we have put the edge pieces in place…remember that we can only put one piece in at a time. Concentrate on that one. If it doesn’t fit, then pick up a different piece and focus on it.

Life is a puzzle. What really makes this puzzle fun and exciting is that while we are putting our puzzle together other people are doing the same thing and their puzzle connects to ours.

Taking control of the “busy” requires that we are clear about our mission and only pick up puzzle pieces that belong in our puzzle.

Just like a “broken record” if we don’t want to keep listening to the stuck and repeating recording…we have to move the needle.

Previous “broken record” posts dealing with busy –

How to Get Your Puzzle Pieces to Fit

Riding on a Runaway Train

Flexibly Rigid

Who Should I Blame for Being Too Busy?

Spend Time Wisely, There’s a Limited Amount

Deciding What Should be First on the List

What Makes One Rock More Important Than Another?

What Makes One Thing More Important Than Another?

What Actions Do You Need to Take to Accomplish Your Mission?

Learning How to Get a Construction Project Started Out Right

John Gets Excited About His First Meeting with Gene

As usual John had been on the go, nonstop, trying to keep construction projects moving forward, collecting money, paying bills, meeting with new potential customers when he realized, he had six projects that needed proposals. As he thought about this, he realized it had been more than two weeks since he had talked with Gene about how to do proposals.

He picked up the phone and dialed Gene’s number. “Hey Gene, this is John, have you got a few minutes?” “Sure,” Gene said, “What can I do for you?” “I just realized that I’ve got six projects that need priced. This reminded me of our conversation a few weeks back when you offered to go through your bidding process with me. Does that offer still stand?”

“Sure,” said Gene, “when would you like to meet?” John thought for a minute realizing he wasn’t sure when he would have time to squeeze this in. “I don’t know Gene, as usual I’m booked pretty full.” Gene waited for a minute and then said, “I understand. Think back to what you said in our previous conversation. Do you remember how frustrated you were?”

“Your situation isn’t going to change until YOU decide to make it change.”

John rubbed his forehead. He knew Gene was right. “Okay”, John said, “I can squeeze in an hour or two Saturday. Would that work for you?” Gene shook his head and smiled, remembering what it was like to be where John is.

Then he said, “John I appreciate where you are, but the process of getting from where you are, to where I am, isn’t going to happen in an hour or two. I’ve been doing it for forty years. If you can commit to four hours Saturday, I will be glad to meet with you.”

“Realize, YOU are the only one that has the power to make this change.”

John sat there with all the things that needed done, bouncing around in his head. Then he thought about how tired he was of feeling out of control. Once again, he knew his mentor was right. Gene had taught him so much about construction and how to build things.

Now it was time to learn about the business part of construction.

“Okay,” said John, “How about we meet at noon on Saturday and I’ll bring the pizza.” Gene said, “That sounds great and we can get started, but that’s all this meeting will be…getting started. Like I said before I’ve being doing this for years. It takes work, it takes commitment, but the end result is worth it.”

“It’s more than just learning. It’s a lifestyle change.”

“John, most people in construction never learned the business side of operating a business. This is where they struggle until they get to a point where they give up. Bring an open mind and an open heart and be ready to have them both filled.”

“Nothing is going to change until you take action and do something.”

Now John was getting excited and looking forward to meeting with his friend and mentor and making some changes in his life. He was beginning to realize that a getting a construction project started out right, begins long before any construction takes place.

Move the Mountain One Shovel Full at A Time

The Size of Your Shovel Is Not Important

I had a conversation with Brett at Engineered Door Products earlier this week about how busy he was. He told me how he was working late into the evening and coming in early of a morning in an effort to keep up. I could feel his frustration. I have had this same conversation with too many people, too many times and deal with this myself almost every day. It reminded me of an earlier blog about spinning too many plates at once.

There are so many great things to do. How will we ever get them done? Why do we continually find ourselves in this place? Who’s fault is it that we’re so busy? 

WE ONLY HAVE OURSELVES TO BLAME!

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m always so far behind and what I can do to get caught up? Looking at this huge mountain in front of me is overwhelming. How will I ever get it moved?

Looking at a blueprint for a new building can be one of those mountains. There is tons of information on all of those pages. Where do I even start? With the first next thing, that’s where. Determine the first next thing that needs to be done and do it. If I don’t stop looking and start shoveling the foundation will never get poured.

 

It doesn’t matter whether you have a teaspoon or a steam shovel. What matters is that you start shoveling and don’t quit. Failure only exists for the person who quits.

 

 

Another way to move the mountain is with help. Two shovels can move more mountain than one. Sharing the moving of the mountain can be hard for us micro-managers but is critical to accomplishing the task. If the mountain that needs moved is much bigger than a mole hill or unless you have a really really big shovel, some help moving the mountain will relieve some of the weight of that mountain.

Moving the mountain one shovel full at a time is one of my twelve core values. My core values are the root of who I’m meant to be. The list falls into two different categories. Some I’m naturally good at. These I want to constantly reinforce. The others…don’t come so naturally.

This post is to remind myself to keep shoveling my mountains and to let you know that you aren’t the only one standing in the shadow of a mountain that needs shoveled.

KEEP SHOVELING

Here are some links to previous core value posts. We’re getting closer now, only four left.

Who Should I Blame for Being Too Busy?

Too Much to Do Is, “Self-Inflicted Pain”

 

I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.

We had all heard someone say this or said it ourselves and for sure we have all felt it. Just over the last few days there have been numerous times in a variety of situations that I have heard it.

One of the discussions about this had to do with someone who was self-employed. This person’s family couldn’t understand why they couldn’t do some additional things around the house. They had extra time because, after all, they were self-employed. Another conversation was with a business owner. They said they hoped they wouldn’t need to work on the upcoming Father’s Day, because they had already worked the last fourteen days. Then he said, “but if that’s what it takes, I guess I will”.

This struggle is nothing new. I would venture to say this has been a problem since Adam. Can you imagine how overwhelmed he felt when God brought all the animals of the earth to him and he named them all. (Genesis 2, 19-20)

I know this is SELF-INFLICTED. It’s 8:30 PM on a Friday evening as I’m writing this. It will still be another hour or two before I get this finished and posted.

WHY?

We all know that there is a fixed amount of time so why is it that we’re always over filling it? Even less ambitious and less driven people complain about not having enough time to do everything they want to.

This brawl we’re in, trying to do more and more and running out of time is internal. It is SELF-INFLICTED. If this is the case, then we are the only ones that can do anything about it.

The first thing that we must do is understand who’s responsible for this situation. Next, decide if we want things to change. If so, then we need to evaluate the things that are filling up that time and decide what to keep and what to eliminate. Then there’s the hard one…learning to SAY NO. Ouch, that’s gonna hurt.

There is something about self-driven people. They’re always over filling their time with more than they can get done. If we don’t want this battle to continue then we are going to have to start practicing some self-control, self-restraint and self-discipline.

We have the power within our-SELF to take control of this.

Here’s an acronym to help you remember that if the problem is SELF-INFLICTED you can find the Solution, be Empowered and Live Fully without being overwhelmed.

Solution

Empowered

Living

Fully

How to Get Your Puzzle Pieces to Fit

 

Easing the stress of being too busy         

 

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This morning as I was posting in my journal I started thinking about all of the things that I didn’t get done yesterday. Then I began to think about how many times I have posted this same thing over and over. It sure seems that I spend way too much time feeling overwhelmed and behind. I really want to get more done! Then I thought about all of the times that I’ve had this same conversation with other people. “How is your day going? Man I am so far behind I don’t think I will ever get caught up. I sure wish there were more hours in the day.” I have heard these or similar comments more times than I can count. Our lives can feel like a 20,000-piece jigsaw puzzle was dumped out in front of us with no picture of what it is supposed to look like when it’s done.

So how can we get all of these pieces to fit…or can we? This is the big question. It would be nice to know what the finished puzzle is supposed to look like. This puzzle can be tough and frustrating. I think it is especially difficult for those of us who are ‘recovering perfectionists’. We want all of the pieces to fit just right. To know ahead of time exactly where each piece is supposed to go. This particular puzzle, called life, doesn’t work like that.

 

Here are some reasons we struggle with our puzzle and some ideas to help us get our pieces to fit.

We pick up too many pieces by over scheduling. There are so many pieces that we want to put in the puzzle. Some more important than others. We start out by picking up all of the pieces we can. More pieces than we could possibly put in the puzzle today and then what do we do…try to pick up a few more. I know for me, if I don’t start the day with more pieces than I will be able to use, I naturally slow down. I put in less pieces than I would otherwise. What I have to remember is that every day I am going to have pieces left over and that’s okay. The key is to be intentional. Start with the corner pieces. Put in the most important pieces first.

The puzzle isn’t going together as fast as we want. Sometimes (most times) things just take longer than we think. We think, hey it won’t take more than an hour or two to put all of these pieces in. Then after working on this for a while, we realize we were trying to force pieces to fit in the wrong place. So we take a deep breath and start again. This time putting them where they belong. Maybe we didn’t allow enough time to do it. We thought we could put in a piece every minute to only find out that it took longer than that. Oh, and don’t even get me started on interruptions and distractions. It can really slow things down when somebody throws their pieces in the middle of ours. We need to do as much planning and preparation as we can before we start, but remember to not over plan. Spread the pieces out, find the edge pieces and get started.

With so many pieces in front of us we lose our focus. After we have put all of the edge pieces in place we are feeling pretty good. Then we look at all of the pieces that are left and aren’t sure where to start. We look at these pieces and then at those…which ones should we do first? This is when we just need to pick a piece. It doesn’t matter which one. Just pick one. Then start looking for one that looks like it will connect to it. If it doesn’t then try the next one and the next one. Keep going one piece at a time until you find a piece that fits. Then do it again and again. Before you realize it you look up and there are a bunch of pieces hooked together and a picture beginning to take shape. We need to remember that we can only put one piece in at a time. Concentrate on that one. If it doesn’t fit, then pick up a different piece and focus on it.

Life is a puzzle. What really makes this puzzle fun and exciting is that while we are putting our puzzle together other people are putting theirs together and their puzzle is connected to ours.

 

What struggles have you had or tricks have you found while working on your puzzle?