Twice in the last month, the car in front of me in a drive thru paid for my drink. Drink—not food—because to be clear, the only drive thru I ever go through is at Starbucks. Also, nobody in a Taco Bell drive thru would ever be in the right head space to think about paying for the person behind them. Anyway, both times that the cashier told me what happened, I then paid for the car behind me in hopes that the little wave of kindness would continue, and went about my day with a joyful feeling in my soul.
That little story has nothing to do with the rest of today’s post, but I wanted to share it because one of those two times occurred this morning, so it’s on my heart to remind everyone that little acts of kindness can not only make other people’s days, but change the course of humankind! I truly believe that– especially in light of this weekend’s horribly tragic and terrifying events in Orlando. I’ve shed tears and prayed for the victims, families, and the world. The only way to fight darkness is with light– so, please, do not give up on humankind. Instead, band together in love, and recognize that there are far more wonderful people on this earth than evil people. Don’t let the latter win.
Onto today’s blog…
While planning my wedding, I tried not to ask too many favors of my friends and family, but when I did—I learned a crucial lesson: When you want something done, ask a busy person.
This feels counterintuitive, right? Why not ask someone who has lots of free time? You don’t want to pile things on someone whose plate is already full. Besides, how can you trust them to ever get around to your favor with everything else they have going on?
The thing about busy people is that they’re in “go mode.” They’re used to managing their time– running from one errand to the next, working on two projects at a time, and checking things off their lists. To them, a quick trip to the grocery store on their way from work to their kid’s soccer game is just par for the course of life. On the contrary, people who’ve been sitting at home all day view going to the grocery store as a big outing that takes a lot of energy. They’ll procrastinate all day, and eventually order in Chinese food because putting on a bra is too much of a pain.
When I was a waitress, I was at the top of my game whenever my section was busy. Of course there was a threshold that would leave me completely in the weeds, but generally, I gave far superior service when I had to attend to four tables at once, vs. just one. When I had lots of tables, my brain was wide awake. I prioritized and ran around the restaurant, completely focused on the needs of all of my patrons. When I had only one table, I lost track of time daydreaming in the back as I waited for my guests to review the menu. Before I knew it, I’d forgotten to bring them that lemon they wanted for their water, or it slipped my mind to write “no anchovies” when I entered their order into the POSI system. Those mistakes rarely happened when I was busy, because I had a running checklist in my mind that I internally repeated over and over until everything was checked off (which wasn’t until the very end of the night, because it grew exponentially throughout the shift).
Yes, it’s important to slow down and enjoy life, but I don’t think being busy is a bad thing. Busyness focuses us, helps us make the most of our time, and creates plenty of opportunity for achievement. Disciplined people tend to be the busiest, and– as I wrote the other week— discipline is a beautiful thing.
Besides being a sign of your productivity and positive aggression for life, busy schedules allow you to be a trusted source of help. Occasionally, we have to say “no” when the requests of others overwhelm our ability to enjoy life, but I think we should all strive to be favor friends. Beyond friendships, don’t we all want our bosses to trust us with more work (not fun, but good for our careers), or our significant others to know they can lean on us?
If you’re good at getting things accomplished, people will know that if they say, “Hey, can you pick up the group present for Sarah’s birthday?,” it’ll happen. If you’re known for never having plans, lacking a “go get ’em” personality, or simply never following through with your word, everyone will lose confidence in your abilities. And that’s not a good thing– at home, in your career, or in your social life. Even if you don’t want people to constantly ask you to get things done, you definitely don’t want to be one of those people who invokes the question, “What does she do with her time…?”
Busyness is a sign that you’re engaged with the world. Taking a break, stopping to smell the
coffee chai, and enjoying spontaneity are all extremely important ways to appreciate life. Not becoming obsessed with little things that don’t really matter is definitely crucial. However, there’s a certain level of get-up-and-go that identifies you as a helpful, steady, and respectable human being.
I personally find great pride in “getting things done,” because it allows me to develop a rapport with others, as well as feel truly connected with the world I’m living in. If we don’t have an appetite for action, then we’re slowly turning into bumps on a log. No thanks. I want my legacy to be one of respect and love– two things that require action, not empty words or disinterest in my surroundings.
Get out there and go! Life is way more fun that way, plus you’ll find yourself interacting with many more people who know they can turn to you for help, partnerships, or leadership. Not to mention, I’ve met so many new friends and networking contacts simply from being busy! It’s a great snowball effect of bringing together humankind.
On that note, I’m out of here! I’ve got lots to do today. 😉