Good Busy vs. Bad Busy

Spending time on things that suck your energy dry leads to what I like to call ‘bad busy.’

It’s the kind of busy that makes you wake up dreading the day ahead, wishing for an escape route to a different job.

This kind of busy typically arises in one of two ways. One, you spend a lot of time in reactive mode, investing time on the latest curveball to fly your way. Or, you spend too much time on activities that aren’t in your zone, focusing instead on tasks that drain your life-force energy.

It’s possible you’re doing both of these things, in which case you’re a four-alarm blaze headed to fast and total burnout.

‘Good busy’ on the other hand is a lovely state of being. You end the day feeling energized even though you’ve put in the same hours as bad-busy people.

And get this – you achieve more. Your productivity is exponentially higher because you’re not forcing your reluctant mind and body through undesirable tasks.  You are working in areas where you’re highest value can be achieved.

Do you expend energy wisely? Here are 7 questions to ask yourself:
good busy1) Do you have a sense of dread about going to work?

2) Is it common for you to feel frustration or annoyance at work?

3) Do you spend less than 80% of your day doing tasks you genuinely enjoy?

4) At the end of the day, do you shudder at the thought of doing it all again tomorrow?

5) Do you spend more time on other people’s priorities rather than your own?

6) Is your experience of life less fulfilling than you would like it to be?

7) Are you less optimistic about life than you used to be?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you’re likely in the ‘bad busy’ zone. I urge you to evaluate how you spend your time to maximize your effectiveness and personal satisfaction.

If you responded ‘no’ to every question, you understand how to be ‘good busy’. Your mission is to stay in this zone. It’s easy to slip up by shifting to reactive mode or assuming tasks that are better left for others. Resist those urges.

Leadership Development Coaching Tip: 

To be good busy, you need to become acutely aware of what gives you energy and what depletes it. Then you need to spend at least 80% of your day on activities that give you energy. Delegate or outsource the rest. Everyone will be better for it. The stuff that sucks your energy will be a sweet spot for someone else.

Companies who have licensed our Lead + Live Better™ Leadership Programs have seen great results when it comes to productivity.  Perhaps this is the next step for you?

Related Posts:

3 Stress-Busting Tips From Successful Leaders

Creating A Collaborative Culture

Can Your Colleagues Count On You?

Lisa Martin International is a boutique leadership development firm with global scope. We help organizations unlock people potential and catapult business results.  We equip companies to deliver powerful leadership development in-house with our turnkey leadership licensing solutions.


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