Why do some entrepreneurs say that "busyness is a form of laziness"? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
I don't know any entrepreneurs who say that "busyness is a form of laziness", although I have seen this concept in large organizations with people who avoid real work by looking busy. For entrepreneurs, laziness is fatal to your venture. However, busyness (being busy without actually being productive) is not always motivated by laziness and is instead the result of anxiety, driven by a lack of direction and priorities.
I once worked with an inexperienced project manager who was the king of looking busy without actually accomplishing anything. He filled his team's calendars with endless hours of meetings, generated all sorts of useless reports, and ran around the office campus all day with a stack of papers in his hand in an effort to seem busy because he had no clue what he was doing.
I remember one particular meeting with the senior leadership where he was asked the status of various projects and his answer was always "I don't have that information in front of me, I'll need to get back to you on that." After the fourth or fifth time the CEO lost his patience and asked him what the heck he thought the status meeting was for .... afternoon tea? He should have been prepared for the questions - his job was to know all of the details of the projects he was managing and to ensure they were moving forward.
When he was sacked a few weeks into his new job, he was genuinely surprised. In his head, he was working hard and was very busy. He thought of all his activities as accomplishments, although nothing he did actually moved the project forward. He didn't have a grasp at all on what he should be doing, and wasn't effective as a leader by any measure.
Entrepreneurs often face the same challenge: They know they should be doing something, because everything they've read about entrepreneurs talks about how overworked they are, but struggle to define what that is, and they often wind up creating busy work that doesn't move the business forward. I've seen countless entrepreneurs in shock when they faced the reality of closing their business because "they worked so hard" and "spent so many hours" on their business.
A person running around a field in circles is very busy, but isn't accomplishing anything useful. Spending hours obsessing over office decor, website design details, attending low value meetings, spending hours in email, and getting bogged down in useless details isn't much different.
Being busy is not the same as being productive.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be focused on activities that generate revenue and revenue growth. You have to be very clear on the steps necessary to meet your targets and have a sense of urgency about hitting each goal post. Things that seem urgent are not the usually the things that are important. It's easy to be very busy with the hundreds of things that pop up each day, but if none of those things translate to getting paid, you won't be an entrepreneur for very long.
Hope this was helpful.
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