Getting busier?


You and I are staying home most of the time doing remote work, tutoring the kids, doing chores, and all other stuff. When we have escaped the daily torture of commute and traffic and have accumulated additional hours for ourselves, how come we feel busier than ever?

As I do training-needs-analysis with clients in preparation for the webinars I will be presenting for their employees or clients, I observed a familiar scenario happening with people. Almost every leader I talk to feel busier than ever. They have to take care of their people, they have to take care of their family, they have to help take care of business. But who would take care of them?

The pandemic has given us more time as the world shuts down. Still, it has left us reeling with the feeling of being overwhelmed, especially when we are constantly fed with news about the virus spiking, people dying, the economy deteriorating and hope seems to be floundering. Perhaps we need to ask why do we feel so busy, overwhelmed, and just tired?

Consider the following unprecedented adjustments we had to make since the lockdown began the first quarter of last year.

1. Immediate unemployment for many

For someone like me, accustomed to delivering more than 300 talks in a year for more than the last 12 years, suddenly received nothing but cancellations on all proposed engagements both here and abroad. That can be a blow to one’s sense of security and confidence. Now the shift is to webinars, and this has kept me busy.

2. We had to change methods quickly and urgently

We had to do remote work. The family stays with us as kids cannot go to school. Everybody is competing for the same bandwidth and space in the house. You are no longer just a career person or a professional, you are now a parent, a teacher, and you have to help out with house chores. But these sudden adjustments create chaos in between our lives that is beyond our control.

3. Facing uncertainty and the unknown

During pre-covid days, there was still an element of predictability to life and leadership. This “little amount of predictability” is all gone as chronic instability is the New Normal. This uneasy state pushes leaders into mental chaos asking endless questions to which there are no visible answers.

4. Continuous feed of negative news

We can’t seem to turn our brains off anymore. The news of the virus spiking, war escalating, people dying, and the mind continues working. When the mind continues to work, this means we are continuously working!

5. We miss people the most

Remember the coffee shop meetings we used to have? Remember those funny moments happening in the office pantry? The high-fives and the fist bumps and the group hugs? Those offsite conferences and conventions and training events held in 5-star hotels? They’re gone, and we miss them.

6. Messages come irrespectful of time

There was a time when we get messages only through email or perhaps through SMS. Now all kinds of platforms (more to come) bombard us with messages. Bosses request virtual meetings that add stress and fatigue to everyone. Worse, the more people you report to, the more meetings are required of you as you Zoom in and out and slowly transform into a modern-day “Zoombie.”

This is not the state we want to find ourselves in, but we get to be sucked into this pattern day in and day out. I have not even talked about unhealthy eating, lack of sunlight, exercise, sleep, and rest that adds to our feeling of being weak, stressed, and overwhelmed. And we all thought that we are mere “busy.” Busyness is a choice, and you can be as busy as you want it to be. Create a routine. This crisis will pass. We have to stay healthy and ride this through.

I choose to be optimistic and hopeful. I have been through many crises before and they all passed, but each one of them somehow changed me in specific ways. I want to get out of this crisis, not just being busy and overwhelmed but also better prepared and excited to explore and exploit new opportunities that will open up. Helen Keller says: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” God is still in control, and in Him, I put my trust. And this is where and what I want to be busy with. I hope you do too.



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online runs this August 3 to 5. Develop your leadership skills that translate into personal, career, and business growth. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

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