I have a friend, we’ll call her Ann, who has run a small business for a number of years and is always busy. Ann doesn’t live in the same area as I do, so phone calls are rare, almost as rare as emails. Though she always has her smartphone with her, she can never be reached. Her excuse? She’s busy.

While I will admit, she does have a lot of responsibility, her one and only child is now grown and has left home. I’m not sure what is still keeping her so busy, as almost everyone else she knows has also reared a number of children while working and maintaining a home. I think she actually enjoys the fact that she is seen as busy. It is a status thing for her. Yet, doesn’t she realize that there are so many more things that are so much more important than being busy or seen as busy?

Ann’s main problem revolves around several things. Even though she is seen as busy, she is actually unable to stop doing ‘things’. These tend to be unimportant time wasters but they keep her on the move and allow her to think she’s being proactive and productive, two of the most annoying words around when it comes to business lingo. If your business is doing even half decently, it’s obvious you’re productive and you had to be proactive to get it up and running.

She also doesn’t realize there is help available for outstanding business issues. While she’s been scurrying around doing other tasks, some of the most important have been left aside, either because she doesn’t want to tackle them or she’s unable to. Hiring a virtual team would be one of the smartest and most time saving moves she could make, saving her a lot of worry over jobs that may just end up incomplete if she continues to ignore them.

Ann also isn’t happy. The confusion over what is important and what isn’t, has left her unable to deal with the disorganization that her life has become. Simplifying her tasks and concentrating on the most important, would take away the constant feeling of distraction that has become the norm for her. She’s no longer able to relax and appreciate her time off because she feels she should be doing something. Though Ann feels like she’s overextended, she actually has lots of free time and would have more if she were to set priorities, realize she doesn’t have a lot of commitments and change her way of looking at her life.

Those of us who put a value on ourselves only by how busy we are, tend to have insecurities and worries that maybe we aren’t as important as we think we are. Success has little to do with busyness and much, much more to do with how we spend our time and our ability to be responsible for ourselves. The only approval we need is our own and having free time is actually a signal to ourselves and others that we have our lives in order.

© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2015