Here I go again.
I’m about to get on a plane to go to Workhuman, and I feel like I just got back from the last one, which was a year ago. Time FLEW this year for me.
Time is a very relative term. How you experience time is dependent upon a number of factors. I can remember points in my life when time seemed to be moving very slowly, like during school, and then sped up quickly, like during the summertime. I still experience that difference in perceived time between work and vacation time, however, I also feel that time speeds up over the years.
Clearly I’m not alone. Think of all the expressions we’ve developed to express the passage of time:
Time flies when you are having fun.
Time flies the older you get.
Time flies when you’re not paying attention.
Time flies when you are busy.
As I write this, I’ve been reflecting on the relationship between time flying and being busy, because I’ve been a very busy person this year.
I’ve always strived to be busy. I don’t do well when I have nothing to do.
Being busy is a mistake however, one that I didn’t realize until I was reflecting on everything I learned at the last Workhuman.
From a positive perspective, I feel some accomplishment when my day is full of activity, regardless of what the activity is. From a negative perspective, busyness isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially if it is a certain kind of busy, the kind that involves working to complete a checkmark for the sake of the checkmark so that you can move onto other things.
Admittedly, this had been a year that include a lot of that negative kind of busy for me. Too many projects, not enough time to do them, too much road travel, too many details to focus on. I own this. I made the choices that got me here.
Out of curiosity, I decided to do some research on the subject of busyness. There are many studies. Even Harvard Business Review has published a study on being busy. Apparently in a modern world to be busy is considered a status symbol. The theory is that busy people are more in demand, making their prospects better. The most significant asset is to those who are busy, as their self-worth is higher. But the notion of being busy has led to a whole economy designed of time-saving tools for the busy—it’s now an on-line world of luxury brand in-store shopping avoidance. I think I realized how pervasive this is when I was at a client site recently and everyone around me used a food delivery app to select their lunch, even though there was a huge food court across the street.
But what about quality of life in a busy world?
This leads me back to Workhuman conference. I’ve been going to Workhuman for four years now. For me, Workhuman has always been a bit of a nudge to right set myself and focus on things that are important. Despite how busy I am I find time for Workhuman.
I have always tried to work from the key messages of Workhuman. When we are mindful, we are better at what we do. When we are happy, we infect others with that happiness and it spreads. When we recognize others, all sorts of rainbows and puppies appear, and all is good in the world. When we do all of these things we counteract the potential damage of being busy. That’s because I don’t have time to think, to experience, to recognize, the key ingredients of a fulfilling life.
So believe me, while I am at Workhuman I’ve made a personal commitment to myself to unplug so that I can absorb all the goodness that will be surrounding me. It will help me get my head into a better place, and help me to remember the value of happiness and recognition.
And more important, it will help me focus on sustaining these messages, long after the conference is over.