“Hey! How is it going? How have you been?” my friend asks.
On cue, I answer, “…so busy lately! So busy!”
For so long, this was my default response. I filled my life with projects. I run a printing company, a specialty coffee house and am always working on numerous creative projects because it is my passion, it is what drives me and fulfills me.
But what does it mean to be busy? Putting ourselves in a position where we are booked out every hour of the day? Why on earth would we choose to be in that position? Do we feel more important, more needed, more significant because we’re so hard to get a hold of? To all those questions, I could possibly answer yes. But that was then.
It’s a funny cycle, I continuously look for ways to be more productive and more efficient. I manage my time carefully so I can get more done. This is all in the hope that I can get it all done so I can have more time. We can always make more money, but time is a non-renewable resource… and yet, by trying to buy more time, we end up using more time.
After attending a Spiritual NLP Retreat with The Coaching Room (next article), I put myself to the test. The challenge; to cultivate empty space. To be more productive by not being ‘busy.’ For two weeks, there was no journaling or deconstructing of events, no reading, no scrolling Facebook or Instagram, no planning, no television, and lots of ‘sitting’ practice (next article). It was a constant practice of being present, to not be distracted by external events or the thoughts running through the mind. It is the practice of letting go of the constant chatter in our heads.
The result? I got even more work done! No one was more surprised than me! The more physically absent I am, the more work I get done and the more time I have! I mean, what the hell? Yes!
I admit, it was difficult to do at the beginning. I was so bored! So bored that I ended up getting more of what needed to be done so much faster and with quality as well. I had stopped filling my head with more ‘reading’ and exacerbating through journaling. It is by cultivating this empty space that allows me to be more creative. It gives way for innovation. True creativity.
The other theory is that it is related to the concept of units of decision. That everyone wakes up in the morning with a finite number of units of decision available to them. For example, what should I eat in the morning uses up a unit of decision, what should I wear this morning uses up another unit of decision. When we constantly keep ourselves busy with things, we constantly use up units of decision. This leaves us with less units of decision for quality work. Both Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs have divulged that their preference is to wear the same clothes every day in order to save their units of decision.
And here is the paradox…by cultivating empty space, we are saving more units of decision for quality work. Less Busy-ness equates to more Business.