Is Being “Busy” Really a Good Thing?

The discussion around work-life balance is never-ending, but necessary.  In his latest column, Howie reminds us to be intentional about our efforts to keep this balance.  We are fortunate to be working in an industry that continues to post record demand.  As the adage tells us, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.”  These days, truer words have not been uttered.

So, we know we “ought” to have a balance, but how do we achieve the proper balance?  During times of high demand, many professionals believe that the best way to run a business is just say yes to every opportunity, and handle everything firsthand. After all, we are taught our entire life about the hustle, work hard, and always expect to put in the hours.

What you find when you try this approach for some time, being “busy” costs a lot.  The costs are not just in terms of personal fulfillment and happiness but also in terms of business growth and actual “dollars.”

Here’s why, and how to beat the temptation of being busy on the wrong things.

1. “Busy” procrastination

We’re all familiar with avoidance procrastination: you know you should really work on that next project but decide to scroll social media instead. It’s when you distract yourself from taking action by doing something completely unrelated.  But there’s a much sneakier form of procrastination: busyness. It keeps you working day and night, creating the perfect plan, starting new tactics, and overcomplicating things.

This keeps you busy and spread thin, so you never have to face what truly demands your attention.  All of us are vulnerable to busy procrastination, committing to a new tactic only to switch to a more promising “shortcut” once things start to become complex or show some sort of results. Procrastination is a shield against fear of failure.

Procrastination may keep you (temporarily) safe from fear of change and fear of failure, but at what cost? Every time you avoid what’s truly important is one more time you subconsciously teach yourself that it’s ok to accept a low standard of behavior and mediocre results. The more you enforce that lesson, the more difficult it will become to change in the future.  In the meantime, opportunities pass you by and you always feel as if you are running out of time.

Alternative Approach: Next time you catch yourself procrastinating, picture the cost of ten more years of avoiding acting: how will you feel then? Use that emotion as fuel to act. Start fewer things and become a serial closer.

2. Missed opportunities

Our resources are limited. As a PGA professional, you know that’s particularly true: your time, your operating budget, your trusted collaborators, your focused attention, all have a cap.  If you use your resources on one project or one task, you will not be able to use those resources on a different project or task.  That’s opportunity cost: choosing one possibility precludes being able to select another one.

When it comes to money, this is easier to understand. But when it comes to time and commitment, we seem to have a natural tendency to say yes to many things that take us nowhere.  As a result, we never have time for what’s important.  Chronically, we can end up having “the longest day ever,” only to feel cheated at the end: not much has actually happened.

Alternative Approach: A great way to prevent busyness from distracting you from what matters is to use your goals as a filter for all your actions. Whatever you are doing next, look at your goal and ask yourself: is this going to help me achieve x? If the answer is no, the opportunity cost is too great.  Move onto a better, more focused action.

3. Not enough hours in the day

When we’re in school, we’re taught to stay sat until the bell rings. In our first jobs, we’re trained to start and stop at very specific times. Ultimately, we are taught to measure how much time we put in, instead of how much value we get out of our day. That’s a trap.

Being busy constantly keeps you focused on your input, the amount of time you “sacrifice”, instead of focusing on your output, the number of results you produce for your business.  This keeps you stuck in a constant negative loop, trying to do more without questioning why, and being reactive to external stimuli and expectations. Altogether, this distracts us from being laser-focused on what will bring you the exact results you are looking for.

Alternative Approach: To beat this early programming, be clear on what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself what you aim to finish today, not what you want to start.  Ask any high performer what makes them successful, and goalsetting is typically a part of the answer.  Clear goals are fundamental to high-performance results in business.

4. Following an old formula

What got you from A to B, won’t get you from B to C.  To get to your next level, you need to do things differently. After all, you can’t expect different results from taking the same action. I am also a big believer that you must change who you are and how you think, so you can change how you act.  This change comes from experiences, education, and relationships.  This change empowers you to alter the outcome and upgrade your success.

Busy keeps you stuck doing more of the same things, thinking that, to double your business for example, you must do the same things, only twice as hard. If that was true, a person working a 9:00–5:00 job and making $50,000 would have to work sixteen hours to double his salary, eighty hours to 10x it. Clearly, that’s not how it works.

Alternative Approach: To go beyond this mindset rut, do a quarterly review, setting aside time to you look at your regular activities and compare them to the results that they are bringing in relation to the time and resources required. This will help you understand what’s working and change your approach. 

So, then, what are some steps to work toward greater personal and professional success, while getting closer to an appropriate work-life balance?  Try becoming intentional with these four tips:

  1. Start fewer things, and get obsessed about finishing more
  2. Use clear goals to filter your actions based on results
  3. Focus on what you want to accomplish, not what you want “to do”
  4. Regularly review your actions to see what no longer works

Some news and reminders…

The PNWPGA is especially aggressive on behalf of its members in delivering golf-related veteran services and proper preparation for the many opportunities to serve our men and women who have so generously served our country.  There is a PGA HOPE seminar on August 1, 2022, at Tualatin Country Club. This seminar is an excellent step toward receiving necessary certification for PGA HOPE.  For more information, contact Dominic Marconi, PGA.

Now is the time to start nominating your fellow PGA Professionals for awards. The deadline for Merchandiser of the Year award nominations is June 30.

If you have not yet marked your calendars for this year’s PNWPGA Merchandise Show, this is your chance to circle September 25-26, 2022.  This year’s show and related section meetings and educational seminars will be hosted at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.  For more information, contact Angela in the Section Office.

In collaboration with Washington Golf and Oregon Golf Association, the Pacific Northwest Section PGA has launched a new page on our website dedicated to those new to golf. This new initiative has been receiving praise as a “best practice” on the National level and is another example of the things we do to promote the Member and grow the game of golf: https://www.pnwpga.com/new-to-golf

As you saw earlier this month, the PNWPGA Board of Directors, upon the recommendation of the PNWPGA Player Development Committee, has approved pilot program funding for our section’s newly launched “JAM” program.  The deadline for application submissions is June 30.  Applications may be submitted online.  For more information, kindly visit JAM program: https://www.pnwpga.com/2022/pnwpga-junior-ambassador-membership-jam-program/

Lastly, our section continues to enjoy significant growth in sponsorship support.  We have been fortunate to attract and retain significant partners, all of whom support our membership, your professional development, and your playing opportunities.  While my annual, detailed breakdown and discussion of this year’s sponsor sales will be presented at our September meeting, sponsorship continues to add value to your membership in the PNWPGA.  I encourage you to take full advantage of continuing education opportunities, growing playing opportunities and associated purses, and innovative player development funding. 

Of note and appreciation this month, my personal and sincere thanks to Mr. Craig Pelzer, Pelzer Golf, for his title sponsorship of the 2022 Oregon Open Invitational.  Also, my thanks to Ren Weaver and John Bond with Legendary, as well as Mike Worden with Sun Mountain, Skechers and CMC Golf who round out support of this year’s Pelzer Golf Oregon Open Invitational.  Lastly, please join me in extending a warm welcome to our newest sponsor, Therabody.  Therabody will be supporting the 2022 PNWPGA Merchandise Show, in-person education seminars, and the 2022 Arizona Sun Pro-Am.

Frank Talarico, CEO