The Busyness Trap
“Activity is often unrelated to productivity. Busyness rarely takes care of business.”– The ONE Thing
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Blumenstein, Astro Teller, captain of Moonshots for Alphabet’s X, asked this question: “If I was to tell you that we’re gonna try and get a monkey up on a ten foot pedestal to give a Shakespeare monologue, which do you think we should do: train the monkey first or build the pedestal first?”
At X, the answer is always to start with the monkey. Moonshots require taking an astronomical, seemingly out-of-reach goal or problem, and trying to solve that problem with new technology. They can cost billions. If they are going to fail, they must fail fast. This saves money and frees people and resources to solve other big problems. The thinking goes: If you can’t get the monkey to recite The Bard, what good is the pedestal? However, most people start with the pedestal. It’s the “low-hanging fruit.” When their colleagues walk by, they can show off their progress. Look what I did! Look how hard I’ve been working. Look at the progress I’ve made.
I call this “performative work.” We’re checking boxes in the name of progress while procrastinating on the true priorities. When you’re working hard on things that don’t matter, does it matter that you’re working at all?
Activity isn’t the same thing as productivity. This is the busyness trap.
It’s not about how many hours we put in; it’s about what we put into those hours. If ‘Inbox Zero’ helps you manage your anxiety, more power to you. However, there is no correlation between an empty inbox and an overflowing bank account. Although there is a lot of low-cost business to be won on social media, it can come at a high-cost in lost time. Are we networking or not working?
For the real estate professional, we always have one clear priority: lead generation. Until we have enough leads to hit our goals, everything else is a distraction.
Start with the monkey, not the pedestal.
One question to ponder in your thinking time: How can I consistently time block my most important priority first thing every day?
Make an Impact!