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Ask a Busy Person…from Isabel Swift

August 24, 2011 by in category From Isabel Swift tagged as with 0 and 0
Home > Columns > From Isabel Swift > Ask a Busy Person…from Isabel Swift

You know the aphorism: “if you want to get something done, ask a busy person.” ?

Well, I am here to say: “So True!”

and

“Let me explain!”

Because why is it true? Why is asking a not-busy person–a seemingly obvious choice–so challenging and problematic?

Well, let me walk you through it. Let’s just say you have nothing to do and someone (a spouse with a full time job, perhaps) approaches you with a task: a request to pick up some dry-cleaning. Because hey, you’re not doing anything, right?

“Honey, could you pick up the dry-cleaning? I have a million things I have to do & don’t have the time,” they’d ask.

What has just happened?

Well, your workload has just increased…one hundred percent (100%) !

You’re laughing, but that is exactly what it feels like.

Because what is not appreciated is that in addition to a massive workload increase, by taking on that task, numerous other tasks will have to join it. It can be overwhelming.

Because now you have to…

– get up, take off your pajamas, take a shower
– dry off, select and put on clothes, do makeup, brush hair
– find the laundry ticket, money, the dry cleaner’s address
– figure out how to get there: drive, walk, bus, etc., figure out when to leave
– research the route, or figure to park,
– mentally prepare yourself to encounter numerous strangers and unpredictable people, respond to questions
– gather articles, transact business, carry everything back & put everything away

It’s exhausting to think about.

Whereas if you had a hundred things to do, one more is only 1/100th. Often, that’s what it feels like.

And while everyone has an upper limit, usually one more thing is nothing. You’re already up, showered, shaved and out the door. Depending on location, there are a number of slots that picking up the dry cleaning would fit into–on the way to work, at lunch, on the way back; it’s just a brief detour, no trouble at all, really!

Somewhat frighteningly, often the less you do, the less you can do. And the more you do, the more you can do.

So lighten your load with care, or nothing will get done.

Isabel Swift

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