Last night I took part in CIPR Inside’s #ICBookClub on Twitter, expertly run by Annique Simpson. The book we were discussing was Busy by Tony Crabbe.
And of course as irony would have it, several of us admitted to struggling to find time to read a book about being busy! Yet the book really resonated with all of us – it was a little bit like reading about your own life.
It gets you right from the very first page where it’s describing a typical day and how although your family is wonderful, they can be a bit of a burden and distraction, especially if you’re only semi-present – the other half of your mind being engrossed in an email, or thinking about a meeting you had that day or your never ending to do list.
Now, I don’t think any of us would go as far as referring to our families as burdens, but I think his point is valid. When we’re at home, are we really at home or is our mind often elsewhere?
I was recently encouraged by Darren Caveney from Comms2point0 to write a blog about switching off from technology. Well, when I say recently, it was a month ago. And yep, you’ve guessed it, I’ve been busy.
The discussion came about after I read Darren’s blog about how he took a 10-day break from technology over half-term. He found that on his holiday he read more, his health improved and most importantly he spent quality time with his kids.
I did just this when I went on holiday to Ibiza (the quiet side!) with my husband back in May. This was something I used to have no problem with when I was employed, but now I run my own business the temptation to check email is fierce.
But by not doing it, I felt the most relaxed I had in a long time. It made me realise how important it is to take regular breaks, something I’m going to do next week. I’m not going away, I’m just taking a week off from work and email*. I’m going to spend time with friends and family, time on my own reading and writing, and time to go for long walks with the dog.
While I planned this break a while ago, reading Busy brought home to me how important it is. Being busy is a choice. I can choose to prioritise, I can choose to switch off notifications and focus on the task at hand, I can choose to answer the question “How’s work?” with something other than “Busy!”.
When I set up my business, I did so following a period of ill health and one of the main aims was to get a better work life balance. Clearly, I haven’t fully succeeded, else I wouldn’t have found reading Busy so life-changing! But the good news is that I can do something about it. I will be following the advice of Tony Crabbe and start making positive changes to the way I work.
But first, I’m taking a break.
*I may have agreed to speak at an IoIC event this Monday evening – but since it’s being billed as a summer garden party, I think I can just about justify it!
Check out Alive with Ideas excellent infographic on Busy on their website.