CHAPTER 6Define what’s important

Do you believe the world is getting slower or faster?

Is the world getting more relaxed or more agitated?

Are we getting more certain or more uncertain?

Have I cheered you up yet? Because it's highly likely you've answered similarly to the thousands of people I've asked these questions to — and recognised that the world is getting faster, more agitated and more uncertain. Arghhh. As we've already covered in the introduction to this book, the world is moving at a rapid pace. Change is here to stay and it's not waiting for any of us to catch up and jump on board.

This all leaves us operating in a frantic state — shifting from one busy moment to the next before collapsing into bed. Only to get up the next morning to rinse and repeat.

In our workplaces, the collective impact of busy has a cumulative and contagious effect, because our ability to influence others is more powerful than we take credit for. An experiment done by the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences highlighted how contagious stress can be. Observers watching others go through a stressful experience were found to have an increase in cortisol levels. This response was increased when participants were observing someone they knew and cared for. This empathetic response can result in stressed and agitated behaviours when we see others behaving this way — meaning our behaviours are contagious.

The cost of burn out

When we are in Burn Out, the cost is to our health. ...

Get Boss of Busy, 2nd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.