Our Biggest Lie (We Tell to Others)
There’s a good chance you lie all the time. Many of us habitually tell what we see as “white lies,” or lies that are harmless. The most common lie we tell others is, “I don’t have enough time.” We frequently rely on this excuse. Usually, this falsehood is indeed a white lie, told partly to save the feelings of the receiving party. It’s an easy out, and a way of avoiding confrontation or being too blunt. However, it is often only a temporary solution that doesn’t always solve the problem. If we don’t respond with a hard NO, our answer doesn’t register. We end up getting the request again and again. When you are able to correctly identify why you are telling these lies, you’ll be a whole lot better off.
We want to believe that we are short of time. We wear the busyness like a badge of honour. If we are busy all the time, surely we must be doing something correctly. A business can’t be failing as long as there is more work to be done, right?
“Busyness. Busy. So busy. Crazy busy. This frantic self-congratulatory busyness is a distinctly upscale affectation”Tim Kreider
The truth is that busyness is self-imposed. It’s a condition that we give ourselves because it occupies our minds and keeps us moving. We become addicted to busyness because we dread what we might have to face in its absence. Some place inside of us is unfulfilled; we fill that void by doing things and keeping busy. Even though there are other things we could spend time on, we continue to dwell on the menial. It is busywork at its most literal. Don’t believe us?
Lying (to Ourselves)
Small business owners are notoriously stressed about the hours they work. They have too many obligations, deadlines, and commitments. Unlike bigger companies with the resources and manpower to delegate work, we have to do it all. It’s overwhelming at times. When you start feeling overwhelmed, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, and reframe the conversation. When we tell ourselves we are too busy, what we are really saying is, “this is not important enough for me,” or, “I don’t value that enough to spend my time on it.” If these statements are actually true, then that’s okay. If they are lies, we need to address the root of the problem.
“Stories let us lie to ourselves and those lies satisfy our desires”Seth Godin
The Not-so-White Lie
I’ve been going to my local gym for seven years now. The owner has been talking about updating his website and doing some SEO since I joined. That’s seven years that he’s been telling himself that he’s too busy. He’s too busy to do any marketing. What has been so pressing for the last seven years that’s keeping him from really working on his business? Whatever it is, the end result is that his business is slowly dying. New competition is springing up around him with owners who are not “too busy” to do marketing.
Suddenly, the busyness white lie turns into something damaging. When we tell ourselves something often enough, it becomes fact.
If you stripped away all of the extraneous things you do, how would that make you feel? Would it seem that you were underutilised, or would you feel bored? Perhaps you would feel a wave of anxiety that you should be “doing something.” Not knowing how to cope with that feeling and take a step back is detrimental to your business. Just because you are busy does not mean that you are being productive.
Signs You are Busy but not Productive
- You lack priorities.
- You focus on the wrong things.
- You value less important tasks that bring instantaneous results.
- You constantly strive to increase productivity.
- You look for shortcuts.
Step Back and Review
Only by stepping back and taking a broader view of the minutia can you find ways to save time that are truly beneficial. Great leaders allocate thinking time. They block out an hour or so every week just to think. Many small business owners view this as a luxury that they can’t afford. If you don’t have one hour every week to spare, then what you have is a job, not a business.
Do You Own a Business or Have a Job?
If you can’t spend five-to-ten percent of your week working ON your business and not IN your business, then you actually have a job, not a business. And it’s running you, not the other way around. You are an employee in your own business. Remember the days when you had to ask permission to leave early or take an hour off? Is that still you?
Your business should be designed and structured the way you want it to be. It should run how you want it to run. You’re the architect; you’re the one pulling the strings. You’re the boss; you’re the owner; you’re in charge. Your business should not run you. You should be able to make calculated business decisions and spend your time as best you see fit. If you find yourself constantly focusing on small, menial tasks, something is wrong.
If you want to continue letting your business run you and can’t find just one hour each week to focus on big-picture ideas, maybe Eccountability is not a good fit for you.
Eliminate the White Lie
Is it time (pun intended) to eliminate the white lie? Are you ready to embrace your time management, get clearer on your priorities, learn when to say yes, and when to say no?
Learn to stop lying to yourself and others. Being honest can be uncomfortable, especially for those of us who like to please people. To be successful, you need to learn to say NO. That includes learning when to say NO to yourself. Learn to value your time. It is our most precious commodity.
Is it time to work on your accountability and learn to stop lying to yourself?