Winning The Battle With Busyness
Whether you’re in public or private accounting, on a scale of 1 – 10, how busy are you? Have you noticed that busyness is almost like an expected part of the job, almost as normal as having a computer or a calculator?
Do you feel like being busy has become a badge of honor, a way to showcase your hard work and dedication?
As accountants, we often use words like “kind of,” “super,” and “crazy” to tell people just how busy and packed our schedules are. It’s like busyness has become the normal way of life.
You might find yourself saying things like:
“I’m super busy at work, but I’m still managing everything.”
“My life is so crazy busy; I don’t know if I can take it anymore.”
Think about it: if an accountant doesn’t talk about being busy, some might think they’re just not working hard enough.
In fact, I was once walking behind two accountants in the hallway in my building during tax season, and one said to the other, “Did you see that Joe’s car wasn’t in the parking lot last night?” The other accountant said, “Well, he must not be very good at what he does.”
Here’s the thing: somewhere along the line, we collectively started to believe that busyness is just how things are, and stress is the only way to get everything done. If you’re stuck thinking that being an accountant means you have to be busy all the time, I’ve got a better way for you to handle it—a way that will make you feel much better and be more effective.
The truth is that you don’t have to accept that busyness is a fact of life. You have more power than you might realize to win the battle against busyness without giving up anything important.
In this episode I want to show you simple ways to change your thinking, redefine how you see busyness, and take control of your time.
The Busyness Illusion
Now let’s dive into the busyness illusion and why it’s so important to understand, especially for accountants. .
Have you ever noticed that busyness is like an unspoken expectation in our profession? It’s like we’ve collectively accepted it as a given.
But what if I told you that this perceived busyness isn’t an inevitable reality? It’s more of a shared perspective, a lens through which we’ve come to view our work.
Busyness is a bit like a language we all speak. We use words like “kind of,” “super,” and “crazy” to convey just how busy our schedules are.
But here’s the thing – when we describe ourselves as “busy,” what we’re really doing is sharing our thoughts, not stating an indisputable fact.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting: busyness is subjective. It’s not the same for everyone. What feels insanely busy to one person might be another’s regular Tuesday. It’s all about how we perceive and talk about it.
It’s important to understand the power of our language. The words we use to describe our busyness play a huge role in shaping our perception of it.
If you’re constantly saying, “I’m swamped” or “My day is insanely busy,” your brain starts to believe it. It’s like a mental shortcut, where the more you say it, the more real it becomes.
Your brain then gets wired to see everything through the lens of busyness.
So, here’s the thing: the illusion of busyness is partly created by the way we talk about it. Our use of words makes busyness seem like this unstoppable force. But what if we could change the script?
Imagine swapping “I’m crazy busy” with “I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I’ve got it under control.” It’s a subtle shift, but it changes the narrative. You’re still acknowledging your workload, but you’re not letting busyness take the wheel.
The hard truth is that busyness is an opinion, not a fact. It’s not a binding contract; it’s a way of thinking that we can, and should, challenge and reshape.
Why? Because of how it makes us feel and how it affects our ability to get more done in less time.
I want to help you rethink how you talk about your day because changing your language will be the key to breaking free from the busyness trap.
Why Language Matters
Now let’s dive into the power of language and how it shapes the way we perceive busyness.
When you say you’re “busy,” you’re not just stating a fact like saying the sky is blue. You’re sharing your thoughts about your day. It’s like painting a picture with words, and the colors you choose matter.
Think of it this way: the subjective nature of busyness means it’s not the same for everyone. What feels super busy to you might be a walk in the park for someone else. It’s all about how we talk about it and the words we choose.
Changing the language we use to describe our day is a game-changer. Why? Because our language is what creates our feelings and our feelings drive our actions, inactions, and reactions.
In other words, saying something like “I’m crazy busy” is going to create a feeling of overwhelm. And when you feel overwhelmed, you’re not going to be the most efficient at getting work done because you’ll probably complain, procrastinate, catastrophize, and do easier things.
Instead of saying, “I’m crazy busy,” what if you said, “I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I’m handling it”?
See the shift? It’s not denying your workload, but framing it in a way that doesn’t make busyness the boss of you.
The most important thing is how you would feel if you said, “I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I’m handling it.” You’d definitely feel less overwhelmed and probably feel more in control.
And when you felt more in control, you’d stop complaining, you’d stop procrastinating, you’d put together a plan to get things done, and you’d be much more efficient.
The language we use as accountants plays a sneaky role in feeding the busyness mindset. Imagine saying things like:
“I’m swamped at work; I can’t handle it all.”
“My life is crazy busy; I don’t have time for anything else.”
These phrases create a mental groove in our brains, like a worn-out path our thoughts follow. The more we use negative language, the more deeply ingrained it becomes, making busyness feel like an inescapable reality.
But what if you flipped the script? Instead of saying, “I can’t handle it all,” try, “I’ve got challenges, but I’m finding solutions.”
Notice the shift from helplessness to empowerment? It’s not just wordplay; it’s changing the story you’re telling yourself which in turn changes how you feel and how you act.
The fascinating thing about language is that it isn’t just a tool for communication; it’s a tool for shaping your reality. If you keep saying, “I’m too busy for this,” your brain starts to believe it, making it harder to find moments of calm.
So, here’s your challenge: catch those negative language patterns. When you hear yourself saying, “I’m so busy,” pause and reframe it.
Instead of being a victim of busyness, become the architect of your day. Choose words that reflect a sense of control and balance.
Remember, it’s just as easy to use language in a way that empowers you as it is to use it to disempower you.
The Power Of Intentional Thoughts
Now let’s talk about the power of intentional thoughts and how it holds the key to transforming our perception of busyness.
I suggest that you start seeing your thoughts as little architects shaping the blueprint of your day. Battling busyness starts right here, in the intentional selection of your thoughts.
By choosing your thoughts purposefully, you put yourself in charge of how you feel. The reason that’s important is because your feelings fuel your actions and describing yourself as busy just creates the feeling of overwhelm.
Do you know what doesn’t help you get accounting work done, effectively and efficiently? The feeling of overwhelm. As I like to tell my coaching clients, it’s like putting the parking brake on and trying to drive 100 mph.
Here’s the thing about thoughts: they aren’t just fleeting visitors in your mind; they’re like guests who decide to stick around. When you repeat a thought, it creates a neural pathway in your brain, making it easier for your brain to automatically think it without your awareness.
It’s like a well-worn path – the more you tread it, the easier it becomes to follow.
The truth is that thoughts literally wire themselves into your brain. It’s like building a network of connections.
So, if you keep thinking, “I’m always so busy and stressed,” guess what? Your brain wires itself to believe this is your reality.
Thankfully, we’re not stuck with these wiring patterns. We’re more like electricians with the power to rewire our brains. It’s all about choosing thoughts that serve us better.
So instead of letting your thoughts run on autopilot, you need to consciously choose ones that are useful and helpful. Here are some suggestions for how to do just that:
Acknowledge Your Challenges: Instead of saying, “I can’t handle this workload,” try, “I’ve got challenges, but I’m finding solutions.” It shifts you from feeling overwhelmed to being a proactive problem-solver.
Focus on Solutions: When faced with a problem, think about possible solutions rather than dwelling on the problem itself. It’s like flipping a switch from “This is impossible” to “Let’s figure this out.”
Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge the little victories in your day. Completing a task, no matter how small, deserves a mental high-five. It reinforces a positive mindset.
Become Aware: Begin to notice when you describe yourself as “busy.” When you do, also notice how you feel when you describe yourself as busy. My coaching clients have said it’s shocking when they started to keep a tally of when they described themselves as “busy.”
Remember, it’s not about denying the challenges or pretending you don’t have things to do. It’s about choosing thoughts that empower you to face those challenges with a sense of control and efficiency.
Rewiring Your Brain For Productivity
Now let’s talk about rewiring your brain for productivity and reshaping how we perceive busyness.
The first thing you need to understand when it comes to your brain is a concept called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections based on your experiences and thoughts.
In other words, you have the power to rewire your brain. So no matter how long you’ve been wearing the busy badge, you can do something about it.
Why is it important to win the battle with busyness? Because wearing the badge of busyness comes at a cost. It might seem like you’re thriving, but beneath the surface, it’s leading to stress, burnout, and a perpetual cycle of overwhelm.
Here are a few of the reasons why you will want to rewire your brain when it comes to busyness:
Avoiding Burnout: There’s no denying the fact that busyness often leads to burnout. Constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed can take a toll on your well-being. By rewiring your brain, you can break free from this cycle and find a more sustainable way to navigate your workload.
Enhancing Productivity: Wearing busyness as a badge doesn’t necessarily translate to being productive. It might create an illusion of productivity, but the key is effectiveness over sheer volume. Rewiring your brain helps you focus on strategic thinking and prioritization, leading to enhanced productivity without the unnecessary stress.
Here are some examples of what’s possible when you win the battle with busyness:
From Chaos to Control: Imagine you often boast about how chaotic your day is, believing it showcases your hard work. Rewiring that unhelpful thought might sound like this: “I can organize my day to ensure high-impact tasks are handled efficiently.” This shift from describing chaos versus control not only changes your perspective but also guides you toward a more controlled and effective approach.
Prioritizing Impact Over Volume: If you find yourself glorifying a mountain of tasks, consider rewiring to emphasize impact. Instead of saying, “I have a ton of work,” shift to “I focus on tasks that have the most significant impact, delivering quality over quantity.” This not only reshapes your narrative but also directs your energy toward more effective productivity.
In essence, rewiring your brain is about trading the badge of busyness for one of effectiveness and well-being. It’s acknowledging that success isn’t measured by the volume of tasks but by the impact of your efforts.
Becoming a Smarter Accountant: How To Win The Battle With Busyness
Now let’s talk about steps to become a Smarter Accountant by winning the battle against busyness.
Step 1: Prioritize Strategic Thinking Over Perpetual Busyness
As accountants, it’s time to shift from being perpetually busy to strategically effective. Instead of glorifying constant chaos, focus on strategic thinking. For example, replace the thought, “I’m always swamped with tasks,” with “I strategically prioritize tasks to maximize impact.” Remember, how you think creates how you feel. If you want to feel less overwhelmed and more in control, you have to change how you think about the work that needs to be done.
Step 2: Embrace the Power of Saying No
Being a Smarter Accountant also means understanding the value of your time. Don’t be afraid to say no to tasks that don’t align with your priorities. For instance, shift from “I can’t say no; I have too much on my plate” to “I can strategically choose tasks that align with my priorities.”
Step 3: Implement Time-Blocking for Efficiency
Winning the battle with busyness requires a tactical approach to time management. Use time-blocking to allocate specific periods for focused work. Shift from “My day is a chaotic race against time” to “I strategically time-block to ensure efficiency and focus on high-priority tasks.”
Step 4: Leverage Technology for Automation
Smarter Accountants harness the power of technology. Automate repetitive tasks to free up valuable time. Change the narrative from “I’m buried in manual tasks” to “I strategically leverage automation tools to enhance efficiency and accuracy.”
Step 5: Cultivate a Positive Work Environment
Create a work environment that fosters productivity and well-being. Shift from “I’m constantly stressed in this chaotic office” to “I can create a positive work environment for myself.”
Step 6: Regularly Assess and Adjust Strategies
Being a Smarter Accountant is an ongoing process. Regularly assess your strategies and be willing to adjust. Move from “I’m stuck in this overwhelming routine” to “I can assess and adjust my strategies to optimize efficiency and well-being.”
Remember, winning the battle with busyness is not about eliminating tasks but about redefining success. Becoming a Smarter Accountant means winning the battle with busyness so that you can have a more sustainable career.
Well, that’s what I have for you. Thank you for joining me as I shared how to win the battle with busyness. I hope you’ve gained valuable insights and practical tips.
If you are struggling with any aspect of being an accountant, you can simply go to www.thesmarteraccountant.com/calendar and book a free session with me.
I’ll explain The Smarter Accountant 6-week Program and how you can apply it to whatever you’re struggling with.
So make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.
Make sure you go to www.thesmarteraccountant.com and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..
Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast. The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.
The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.