Have You Been Busy?

In our American Culture what is the expected answer whenever you are asked: “Have you been busy?”

You are 100% correct – the expected answer is “Wow – have I ever!”  We wear “Busy” as our “Badge of Honor!”  As our proof of “Worthiness!”

Have you ever felt that if you responded with “No – not really!” that you would therefore be confessing “I am a complete failure – I am worth nothing”?

We have all heard and embraced the theme of : “Work Smarter – not Harder.”    But how do you move from “Working Hard” (which translates: Busy) to “Working Smarter” (which requires: Taking time to think)?

And if it has been a very long time – why do you think it has been so long?  Might it be because taking time to be alone with your own thoughts somehow seems like you would just be goofing off?    How would you feel if taking that time to be alone with your own thoughts was actually the path to increased productivity you are actually desiring?

Efficient vs Effective

Peter Drucker:  “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Are you busier than Warren Buffett?

Entrepreneur and author Michael Simmons has studied the mega-successful to figure out what sets them apart. His conclusion? Top performers step away from their work to focus on activities that boost their knowledge, creativity, or energy. Warren Buffett (who, by his own estimate, spends 80% of his day reading and thinking) has very few items on his schedule; all that time spent ruminating ultimately provides more long-term value than the “short-term deadlines, meetings, and minutiae” that fill most workers’ days.

The 20/80 Rule

What are you doing in the 20% of your time and efforts that is producing 80% of your results?

What would happen if you could focus 50% of your time in that area?

How about 80% of your time?

If you are a student of the Holy Scriptures can you find a single verse where God exalts “Busyness?”

To be sure “Work” and “Stewardship” and being “Responsible” are affirmed – but can you find anywhere where “Busyness” is affirmed?

“Pay attention, Job, and listen to me; be silent, and I will speak.” Job 33:31

Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

“For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, holy to the Lord.”  Exodus 31:15

Here are questions for you, your staff, your family, your friends:

On a scale of 1-10 how “Busy” are you?

On a scale of 1-10 how “Productive” are you?

What do you do:

To renew your energy?

To renew your vision?

To renew your passion?

To work “Smarter” rather than “Harder?”

When is the last time you took time to do the very things that renew you?  If you can’t remember what might be the benefits if you did?

When are you going to put that time into your schedule?   And how often will you schedule that time?

When do your very best ideas tend to come to you? Might it be when you least expect them? – like when you are taking a shower or taking a walk or out jogging or driving?  Or maybe even when you are just sitting and staring out of the window?

You are invited to join the conversation:  What practices have you discovered that help you work “Smarter”?

Bob Tiede


Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.


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3 thoughts on “Have You Been Busy?

  1. Rick Hall says:

    Bob, thank you for this very good word! A refreshing perspective in an increasingly “busy” culture! Leaders who are intentional about setting aside time regularly to reflect and see the bigger picture seem to have the better results in fulfilling their vision. Appreciate your perspective from Scripture!

    1. Bob Tiede says:

      Thanks Rick! Have you been “Productive” this week?

  2. Jeri says:

    I am officially changing my answer to ‘how have you been?’. Busy always elicits a ‘that’s great!’ reply. My answer will now be PRODUCTIVE – both to remind myself what matters, and to change the conversation! Thanks for this post Bob.

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