My first year out of college I vaguely remember the transition from working part-time and attending classes to solely focusing on a career. With benefits, vacation days, and pay comes more responsibility, this is was nothing new and quite expected with the change, but something that shook me was the culture of being busy. This concept is not earth-shattering but to experience it and actually fall into the idea that being busy to be busy was productive became paralyzing.

When I began writing I thought about the number of times that I have simply asked someone how they were doing and their response was something along the lines of “busy, busy, busy” or “I’m surviving.” I realized I still continuously hear these kinds of answers. I, too, easily fall into this conversation piece if I am not conscious of the words I speak or hear it too often. The culture of busy can make us all feel as if we need to be overwhelmed and that if we take steps to lessen the busy, we are somehow seen as less important.

Each new year brings an opportunity to look at your professional or personal goals and address what is holding you back from those. Ask yourself in the upcoming year if there is someone, something, or a new technology that can assist you with specific tasks that might be stalling your success or making you too busy to excel.

Professional

With most of our students studying at a distance, one of our continued commitments is to provide career resources virtually, including social media content on different platforms. We are working to hire a social media and videography intern to focus solely on producing online programming from our existing resources. They will provide both creativity and aesthetically-appealing qualities that are needed for viewing the important professional development information online.

This will inevitably free up numerous hours that I can now focus that time on key aspects of my role including developing relationships with employers and ensuring student career success. The key was acknowledging an area we need help in, and asking for it.

Personal

Part of the following story could be categorized under professional but I think you will see why it is more of a personal fix. My ideal time to catch up on email is in the evenings because there is little distraction and find that helpful in responding to specific matters. I may or may not have mentioned that we have a large German Shepherd and while he is great to run with, pick up all the food dropped by our two-year-old, and alert us when the ever-so-dangerous mail carrier comes by – cleaning up after him was not favorable. I found my evening time slipping away because I was constantly trying to keep the small mountains of hair from piling up, it was pulling my focus in directions that were not the best use of time.

About two months ago, we decided to bite the bullet and purchase a Roomba vacuum that simply cleans the floor every day on its own – LIFE CHANGING. The key this time was choosing to invest in something that would directly improve my time. This one personal fix gave me back an hour of my day to utilize on tasks more relevant to my goals.

Now I get that a robot vacuum can’t solve all life’s problems, but think about what’s keeping you busy and can easily be eliminated. Delegate a task you don’t need to handle yourself or say no to extra events that won’t serve your goals. Refocusing on both your professional and personal lives will bring positive changes interchangeably because neither stands alone.