Freedom Engineering

Are You A Busy Fool? (I was)

Written by Mark Austin

“Mark, You’re Such A Busy Fool!”

These words were said to me by one of my first business mentors, Alex, many years ago.

I was telling him how hard I was working, the hours I was putting in, and how I was making my business building efforts my number one priority.

I expected him to be beaming with pride, but he just had a wry smile on his face.

When he asked me what my 15 hours of sitting in front of my computer that day had generated in output that would lead to income, I was left floundering for an answer.

When pressed, it became clear that I’d done very little work that was actually going to result in cash in the bank.

That’s when I got called a ‘BUSY FOOL’.

We’ve been programmed from a young age that hard work = results. That the number of hours we spend on something will directly impact the RESULTS that we see.

Many of the business and personal development ‘gurus’ continue spreading this myth with their “hustle & grind” philosophy.

Now, to be clear. To get results, you DO have to put in the work.

BUT…there is a MASSIVE difference between working hard and working smart.

I’ve many entrepreneur friends who work 18 hour days, 7 days a week and wear those stats like a badge of honour.

Now, as a good mate of mine likes to say, “if that’s what rubs your rhubarb, go for it!” but living like that’s not for me.

I want a life, not just a business.

That meant I needed to learn how to stop being a “busy fool”, stop “working hard”, and instead start working smart.

Before you can effectively change anything, you need to know the current data.

We tend to avoid this part of the process at all costs.

Facing up to the reality of our current patterns of behaviour is rarely appealing. That’s because we feel we have to judge ourselves. We get lost in the drama of what the facts point to rather than just accepting them for what they are…facts.

We need to focus on the DATA, not the DRAMA.

So, If right now you’re working flat out, but it feels like you’re not getting anywhere, I invite you to collect some data. Let’s see if you too are being a busy fool!

We’ve all heard of ‘to do lists’, but Alex introduced me to a new type of list. A ‘daily done list’.

He said, “let’s find out just how much work you’re REALLY doing in your day.”

For the next 30 days, he made me log precisely what I was doing, and for how long, every minute of the day. From the moment I got up and until I went to bed.

EVERYTHING. Toilet breaks, coffee breaks and especially “web-based research” aka as cat videos on YouTube .

I wasn’t paying him for mentorship only to ignore his advice, so I did what he asked of me.

The results were SHOCKING.

In one of my “busy” 15 hour days, I was lucky if I’d manage 2 hours of PRODUCTIVE work that pushed my business forward. Work that would produce a profit.

And this was back in the days before social media had infiltrated our lives. The problem of falling into the trap of being a ‘busy fool’ is FAR more significant now.

We often ask ourselves, “where do all the hours go?!”, because the truth is, WE DON”T KNOW!

So, we should probably find out then, right?

For the next 7 days, I challenge you to create a ‘daily done list’.

Let’s see where YOU are really spending your time.

No need for judgement here. We only want the data.

Until we have the data, we can’t improve the results.

So…are you up for the challenge?