You suffer when you have lots of busy “work”

Busy work is not getting you anywhere.

Busy work is not getting you anywhere.

We all dream of doing something more with our lives. You, in particular, probably plan on saving the world with your inventions, creative ideas, and research. And it would all happen, too, if you weren’t so busy. Let’s get something out in the open first:

You are only as busy as you decide to be.

That’s right. The person that works runs a company, works a “real job”, and does a million other things to stay financially afloat is telling you that you are only as busy as you decide to be. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, 168 hours a week to work with. What we choose to do with that time is completely up to each person. Right now you are choosing between reading this post and doing something else. And with this choice comes a trickle down effect of whatever else follows.

That means the next time you say you want to do something, you have to face the fact that you are the one in charge of making it happen. You can’t say you want to be healthier, then choose the same grease-laden pizza and pint of decadent ice cream chaser and really expect for it to perform magic tricks on your health. You know you have to work for the goal. As you know, this applies to anything in your life.

But making the right choice is hard.

Yes, it is. Making the right choice to meet your goals is something you choose to do every day until it becomes an ingrained habit, and even after that you must continue to make little decisions that will continue to get you where you need to be. This is something I deeply believe in, but it never really sank in until last year. You see, I secretly suffer from depression. I don’t talk about it much, but sometimes life just gets me down and ADHD doesn’t always power me through it. That was especially obvious while attending Purdue University. Last year things changed when I sat down to attend something called The World Wealth Summit.

P90X cover featuring a ripped, younger Horton.

P90X cover featuring a ripped, younger Horton.

One of the first talks I sat through was Tony Horton’s. You know, the guy who is behind the P90X workout series? That’s the one. His story is that he started out as a skinny little shit in high school that was routinely beat up and had his lunch money stolen. He admitted to having stammering issue, C+ average grades, which combined with his scrawny physique led him to finding out that he could fit into a locker after his money was stolen.

The only thing that made him feel better was working out. It made him feel like he could do other things, like participate in his college classes. Later on he dropped out of college, and moved from the US east coast to the west coast with only a few hundred dollars and a talent for miming. He struggled working multiple jobs, miming, and living on practically nothing for 22 years before he made it big.

It started with one of his bosses introducing him to Tom Petty, and Horton getting Petty in shape. From there, the awkwardness melted away as he was able to help people develop a sense of health, not just fitness, through humour and no-nonsense workouts. It wasn’t right away that that he made it big, but that was a start. He could eat more than Cheerios and yoghurt, and he was learning his own communication style.

The part that stuck with me is that he stuck it out for 22 years. And they weren’t ho-hum years, from his telling, they sounded like they were years that could have beat him down at any given time. But he focused on his passion, the good feelings that working out gave him, and kept trying. At the time of the recording, he was 57 years old and in better health than ever. He credit it all with taking a day at a time, making progressively healthier choices, and integrating it into his lifestyle slowly. Apparently during his wilder years he even drank, did drugs, and partied all night, but slowly made choices that took him in a very different direction.

Your words become actions, your actions become who you are.

Ash Ambirge recently said, quite hilariously too:

You might think you’re just going through a busy period, or convince yourself you’ve just got to make it through to the other side, or that this is what hustle is all about *cue Gary Vaynerchuk video*, but if there was ever a phrase that rings true, it’s: We are what we repeatedly do. And you do not want to become a giant walking, talking Pepperoni Hot Pocket.

Delicious as Hot Pocket’s might have been back in high school and college, it’s time to make other decisions for your health, sanity, and life. There are lots of little things you can do, but if you want to make a huge impact sooner than later, take note of the concept of deep work versus shallow work. Deep work is the work you do that demands a lot of you cognitively. It’s the type of work that really makes headway in what you intend to do. It’s working purposefully, without interruption towards a goal.

Shallow work, however, is the busy work that you’ve created for yourself that doesn’t require focus or hard to replicate skills. Think networking on social media — it’s not hard, and yet it’s something that a lot of people do because they think it helps them get ahead. So, what’s your return on that time spent on social media? Is it really worth it?


Choose your goals. Intentionally choose the activities that will get you to where you want to be. Reinforce those with your thoughts and actions. And finally, don’t give in. You might “fail” one day, but the next hour after you’ve chosen poorly, you can choose wisely. Just push past it and keep moving forward.