Busy

 

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The Best Of 2015  - Success Magazine
 ‘After reading Tony Crabbe’s delightful takedown of Busy as an excuse, explanation and form of self-aggrandizement, you’ll be inclined to delete the word from your lexicon while incorporating Crabbe’s techniques and tactics to regain control of your life’.

  “A life- changing book which reassess what you are doing, why you are doing it and in what way.” – Carole Anne Rice, Daily Express

“Business psychologist Crabbe draws an amicably accessible blueprint for escaping a state of extreme activity…for anyone juggling an ever-expanding schedule in or outside the corporate world, this book might be worth fitting in.”Publishers Weekly

“Crabbe presents an array of techniques and tactics to help readers relinquish their busyness and gain control of their lives. You’ll want to ban ‘busy’ from your vocabulary after reading this delightful takedown of busyness as an excuse…. BUSY is a very smart, fun and enlightening read.”Success Magazine

 “Practical, concise and accessible, BUSY is a book well worth making time for.”Shelf Awareness

“Sound advice, well worth consideration and action.”Booklist

 “A very impactful book, written in an entertaining format, and loaded with specific and practical examples for dealing with the busyness of today’s world. This book has enabled me to achieve immediate improvements in my daily routine, and will have longer term benefits throughout my career.”- Chris Keeling, CPA, Director, The Walt Disney Company”

“Over the past 20 years, all of us who are connected to the Internet have been overwhelmed by the disease of busy-ness. We seem to have less control over professional and social lives and ever more and more consumed by a world of “too much”. This book is the medicine we have been looking for to become healthier, happier and successful human beings. It is packed with great ideas built on cutting-edge research and best practices. Interesting stories and wonderful practical strategies help the reader to be able to truly thrive in today’s busy world. This is the best book I have read in the past 10 years!” – Professor Michael Marquardt, George Washington University, President of the World Institute of Action Learning

 “I must tell you that your book has had a massive effect on me alreadyI haven’t used the ‘b’ word for weeks, and I am actively seeking out ways of making my personal palette much more vibrant by adding less colours.  It’sgetting so good that I’m starting to make my co-workers more intrigued and slightly jealous – I think you’re really going to hit a nerve (in a good way) with this Tony, it’s such a good story.”-Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer, Microsoft UK, and author of Business Reimagined
 
“Amazing book with clear, very pleasant, and readable theoretical analysis, and usable tools that for me immediately produced the desired results!” Fabian Paagman, Paagman, Den Haag

Busy is going to be huge. It’s such an übercool book!” Grietje Braaksma, Grand Theatre Boekhandel, Breda

It is difficult to ask anyone ‘How are you doing?’ without hearing the word ‘busy’ at some point in the answer. All around the world I meet people who are over-whelmed; who are exhausted; who feel helpless in the face of the machine. These people aren’t serial moaners; they’re the life blood of any business: the committed employees, the leaders, the high potentials. These people are you and me. We’re striving and striving to keep up, using all the efficiency we can squeeze out of our technology, and we’re falling behind; but that is only half the story.

The other half of the story is the nagging sense of failure that we try and ignore: failing to live the life we dreamed of; to be the parent, partner or friend we want to be; to be as happy as we might be. Stretched tighter than a wire, something has to give. Unfortunately, often the things that give are what we value most.

It’s unsustainable commercially; draining professionally; depressing personally. It’s not much fun.

It doesn’t have to be that way; but we do need to radically change how we respond to our world of too much.  For example, we should:

Stop managing your time!

We are now at a point where it is no longer possible to do it all, or to get on top: there is just too much to do. Time management makes us splinter time into ever smaller fragments; it makes us cram and squeeze activity into every second of our wakefulness; it makes us busier. In doing so, it stops us thinking and breathing.  As a result, time management is part of the problem, not the solution!

Stop being so productive!

It used to be that the biggest management challenge was how to get people to work hard. Now that problem is solved; everyone works hard. Yet, for some reason we persist in playing the ‘more game’: assuming that if we produce more than others, if we respond more quickly, we will succeed. We won’t. In fact, rampant productivity is a weak substitute for genuine impact and differentiation; the things that matter in the information economy.

Stop justifying busy

Busy is self-defeating. We tell ourselves that we are busy so we can succeed, either for our loved ones or for our happiness. But as we get caught up in endless busyness, we disconnect from the relationships and the activities that matter most to us. As we disconnect, more and more, we damage the very relationships and happiness we were trying to improve.

Stop having so many friends!

Social media is wonderful and helps us maintain distant relationships that would otherwise wither; but there is also a downside: it is yet another demand to manage. In simple terms, the greatest psychological benefit from relationships doesn’t come from the many but the few. In actual fact, aiming to be popular is bad for you, from a health and happiness perspective!

A practical Tool Kit!

‘Busy’ takes great new psychological research and applies it, practically to the challenges we face in the modern world, to provide a new set of tools, a new set of skills for responding to too much; practical strategies that will help you thrive no matter how full your inbox is!

25 comments

  1. Tinneke   •  

    Hello Tony!

    I’m from Belgium (my English is not that good). I have finished reading your book and saw your page. I want to say “thank you”! I’m 26 and I have a burn-out (I don’t know it’s the same name there) I’m following therapy, but your book was a really good help! So thanks again! Grtz

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  3. Caroline   •  

    Dear Tony,

    Three days ago I was on Schiphol airport leaving for a holiday and seminar in Hawaii and bought your book in the bookstore. I am halfway down the book and wanted to let you know that it is so inspiring! So much, that everyday I write a couple of your good advises in my travel journey which I share through the email with my family and friends in the Netherlands daily. Thanks for writing this book and good luck with everything you do!

  4. Cate   •  

    Thank you for sharing this Tony and your personal insights. The messages are so impactful that I don’t want to miss any. I’ve found myself on second read and taking notes (including on a windy beach) so I don’t forget any of the key messages I want to put into practice. Have you thought about a handy digest summary of they key messages to have as a reminder (to save us carrying Kindle, IPad, or handwritten notes). May be commercially lousy idea but I’d buy it and email it to myself when the warning signs of level 1 greedy fish start.

    This morning the dishwasher is staying un-emptied and I am having some quiet reflect time. I’ve always instinctively known that I need it to surf the big waves but now I understand why and am giving myself permission.

    Thank you and congratulations on achieving your book ambition.

  5. Mateus Rodrigues   •  

    I’ve just finished your book and I loved it! I’ve read so many productivity books but this concept of changing the focus from managing time to managing attention was what was missing for me to thrive. Also, I’m big-chunking my time since then, and just this dropped significantly my distraction rate and, ironically, made my productivity rose 15% (measured by RescueTime).

    I have a question:
    On the very end of your book you talk about how you now let your dead time be really wasted time, without filling it up with books, podcasts or whatever you used to do. And that’s exactly what I’m doing today: I fill it all up with audiobooks, podcasts, books, etc. But I don’t really get it: I know that you should pause to avoid hyperstimulaton and try to be more mindful and stuff, but isn’t better to pause, for example, when you need to? Because when I’m facing a big pile of dishes to wash, or a long wait before an appointment, I don’t really want to pause: I just want to make that time more useful by listening to podcasts or reading a book. And when I really need a break, I just take a nap, meditate or listen to music.

    Summing it up: Why, when you don’t need a break, is allowing wasted time to stay wasted better than filling it up with more useful stuff? How this wasted time has become precious to you? And why don’t you think you wouldn’t have written this book without all the dead time?

    Thanks a lot for the book!

    • TonyAdmin   •     Author

      Mateus, it’s a great question about dead time. I hold three things to be true: 1. no generation in the history of the world has spent less time alone with their minds than us, unstimulated; 2. we are all consuming and experiencing more information than any previous generation, so we need time to digest and integrate all this information to make sense of it; 3. the problems we face get ever more complex, unpredictable and novel, and we need time, off task to generate the insights with which to respond creatively to our biggest problems. Clearly there are many times in life when, while washing dishes for example, it’s enjoyable and useful to also listen to a podcast. My point is that we need to be really careful that we don’t squeeze out our dead time from our lives. Speaking personally, I never find myself thinking ‘I could do with some dead time’. Dead time is not appealing, we think we’ll be bored. As we wait in the doctors surgery, the phone (or even that out of date home improvement magazine) is infinitely more attractive than your mind wanderings. The question we should ask is not ‘Do I feel dead time would be the best thing to do now?’ that answer will always be ‘no’. Rather we should ask ‘Do I have enough time in my life to digest, reflect and imagine?’ If the answer to this question is ‘no’, then deciding not to take your phone to the doctors, for example, might be the best thing to do.

      In my case this was simple, I just stopped filling up my travel time with podcasts, I left my kindle in my bag more, and I didn’t turn the radio on for my airport drives. Writing a book is a big and complex intellectual task; the dead time I created on my travels proved essential to allow me to stand back from what I was doing, restructure my thoughts and clarify my message. I don’t think I would have been able to wrestle my story from the overwhelming mess of research I had done without dead time.

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  7. Ness   •  

    Well, here I am, reading your book with neck muscles so sore and a scrambled breathing rhythmn, all due to stress BECAUSE (;-) ) having allowed myself in becoming too busy. And I feel I’ve finally found the answer to my “HELP”-request. Not even halfway there, but that’s okay. My gut tells me I’m on to something. So it must be right… So curious for what the following pages will teach me.

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  9. Abry Guy   •  

    When will this book appear in a Dutch translation and where will I be able to buy it?

    • TonyAdmin   •     Author

      The Dutch version will be published in the Spring with LS Amsterdam. Thanks. Tony

    • TonyAdmin   •     Author

      Hi Abry, the Dutch version has just been published and available to buy from all good book shops. Hope you enjoy it!

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  11. Tonko   •  

    Thank you so much for the Slovak version! It was very helpful in my most difficult part of my life, and not meaning bussines but it strikes me on many personal levels and also confirm what i was aware off what is important in life but in very density form of amazing book. Keep up the very good work.

    • TonyAdmin   •     Author

      Tonko, I’m thrilled you found the book valuable and grateful you took the time to post your feedback. Yes, I was keen to write the book so it covered both work and outside-of-work issues, since busyness affects our success and happiness across our whole life.

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    • TonyAdmin   •     Author

      Thanks for the update on the Czech version, and I really appreciate your recommendation. Tony

  14. Benjamin Van   •  

    Hi Tony

    I have finally finished reading this incredible book that you have wrote and shared to us. I was fortunate to hear you on the Australian 3AW radio and was immediately and drawn to your experience. I would like to say “thank you” and for providing me a new phase of life where there is a bit more completion and satisfaction.

    regards
    Ben

    • TonyAdmin   •     Author

      I’m thrilled and humbled that the book had such a big impact on you Ben. Thanks very much for your message

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  16. David Jones   •  

    I am so excited that at last I have got my hands on something that will truly give me back the quality of time I want to spend on personal pursuits and with my loved ones. And I’ve only just started! Thank you so much, Tony!

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