Sunday, August 21, 2011

If You Want Something Done, Ask A Busy Person To Do It

I admit to being well over 40 when I first heard that phrase. I was in a meeting and so caught up in pondering the gross unfairness of the phrase that at first I didn’t realize I was the one being asked to take care of something – again. I can’t remember what it was I was being asked to do, and that wasn’t nearly as momentous to me as chewing on that audacious phrase.

I remember thinking, “So it is actually a known phrase that you should ask someone who has a hundred things to do to take on one more thing instead of asking someone who has 20 things to do?”  Ridiculous. Sniff. Unfair.  Sniff, sniff.  How about let’s spread the love (as long as we are into phrases)? How about let’s give everyone the same amount (basic kindergarten rule)? 

But last week, as I returned to work after an unplanned hiatus, I got more done (with my art and in household yucky chores) in the half hour after a very long day at work than I did in most days of my month-long enforced vacation. That’s not to say I was nibbling bon-bons and watching soap operas during my month off, oh no! I had the never-ending, continual Mega List of things to accomplish with my art, and I did accomplish a huge amount each day.

But I knew if it came down to it, I could get up and walk away from my laptop if I wanted to. The only thing forcing me to keep working was . . . me. No boss, nobody looking over my shoulder. And certainly nobody forcing me to do laundry, vacuum or pick up the mess in the living room!  Yes, I got lots done. And not nearly as much as I did after working a really long day for someone else, from which there is a boss and no walking away!

As contradictory and illogical as it sounds, I got more done when I had more to do and was being held accountable by someone else.  Not sure which part of that (more to do vs. being held accountable by someone other than myself) figures in to the equation more.  Either way, I was forced to manage my time very stringently, stick to a difficult and inflexible schedule, and work very quickly.

As unfair as it sounds, if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

And if you are that busy person, and your list of things to do has literally a hundred things on it, which means that you are hugely stressed out and not enjoying life very much, take a break. Turn it off.  Everything on the list can wait and none of them are as important as your happiness. Not to mention that it is almost impossible to be creative when you are stressed out.

My happiness break that did my heart good last week was going with the kids and dogs up to the lake for a Last of Summer Hurrah:

  Which contributed to today’s creativity:

Cabin Quilt Greeting Card

Cabin Quilt Initials Bag

Stay busy, but not so busy that you can't create.


  1. So sorry if any of you got multiples of this blog post! Couldn't get the images and links working properly.

  2. That is so true! you manage your time much better when you have a lot on your mind.

    btw love the blog

  3. Absolute truth! LOL. Enjoyed this.

  4. Kara, Thanks for sharing your success with tasks. If you ever offer a class or workshop let me know.