I'm not sure exactly how it happened but at some point in the last 10 years everyone became super busy. Maybe it's a combination of smartphones bringing work home with us or social media's intrusion into our personal time, but at some point everyone caught the disease of busy.

Look at your day, do you consider it to be "busy"? Now ask yourself to define that word.

What does "busy" mean to you? Does it mean that you have lots of meaningless meetings planned with no set agenda or assigned action items? Do you spend your day putting out fires and avoiding your goals? If this describes your definition of "busy", it's time to get cured.

Busy is an excuse. It's a veiled attempt to sell others that you are working really hard, but in reality is your defense mechanism to avoid being open to new projects and opportunities. It's a way for you to avoid confronting your real problems of poor time management and fear of new opportunities.

Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Pharrell, these are all highly productive people who could legitimately considered busy. Do you think you're busier than they are? Or are you just filling your time.

Like any disease, you cannot be cured unless you admit that you have it. While the tips below represent ways to begin your fight for productivity, none of them will help if you don't take step one:

Admit that you aren't busy.

Once you've admitted it, the road to busy-ness recovery starts here. Here are some steps to begin life as your new not-busy self:

  1. Stop checking email constantly. Limit it to a couple hours per day.
  2. Avoid meaningless meetings that lack an agenda or a clear set of action items. Don't be in them just so you won't "miss something".
  3. Map out how you spend your day. Are you using your time effectively. Re plan your schedule and block out time to specifically work on projects and goals.
  4. Say yes more often. Take on more work and/or help out more coworkers on what's challenging them. You may even help them become less busy.
  5. Avoid negativity. Avoid the busy people who complain they never have enough time and avoid those who don't want to help themselves.

These are just a couple examples, but will set you down the path to be less busy. That said, none of them will help unless you admit you've caught the disease of busy.