When we delegate for happiness–that is, keep the work that makes us happy, and delegate the work that can make someone else happy–there’s a danger of dwelling in the Busyness Bubble, with tasks that are enjoyable, but not important.
Everybody is busy–too busy. This happens not because there are so many important things to do, but because work expands to fill the time we have for it. And which work expands the most? The work that’s fun. Over-designing reports, animating presentations just to make them cool, fiddling with the web site–these are tasks we can get lost in.
Like the “Dot Com Bubble” and the “Housing Bubble,” the Busyness Bubble represents artificial value. For example, before a company downsizes, everyone is too busy. Yet with a leaner staff, downsized companies do survive, even if all that work is no longer getting done. What is getting done is what’s most important.
To be leaders, we have to focus on the tasks that are important for us to do, and delegate the others–even if they’re fun. To be leaders, we also have to take a good look at the workloads of our workers. What’s their Busyness Bubble? Can we delegate well, to make their workload worthwhile?
This week, notice the work you dwell on. Is it important? Is the final result worth the time you’re spending on it? Or is it making you artificially busy? That’s work you can skip or delegate.