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The big fat lie ineffective people tell themselves

By Chris Clovis

Chris Clovis Blog“I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.” -S.E. Hinton

Busy. I hate that word. As powerful as a club and wielded with similar voracity, “busy” is the super-weapon of the ineffective person. Worst of all, it works. The exclamation of “I’m too busy” is the most powerful and pernicious tool in a weak performer’s arsenal. When you need something done, something done right, something done better, something done sooner or something done more often, “busy” will shut you down — instantly and with extreme prejudice.

From the top to the bottom of an organization, “busy” is the default response, halting progression and execution where it’s so desperately needed.

And we’ve all used it. A lot.



Now take a look at an extremely effective and successful person, notice workload, daily responsibilities and the multitude of open projects they simultaneously manage. After viewing the to-do list of a successful CEO or entrepreneur, most employees’ workday resembles a Corona Beer ad.

So what’s the difference between the extremely “busy” manager and the Fortune 500 CEO who balances ten times the workload, keeping far more plates spinning in the air? That CEO may or may not put in more hours, but they are certainly more organized.

Here is the simple formula to counter the “busy” excuse: BUSY = DISORGANIZED

If you are telling yourself you’re too busy, you’re wrong. You’re not busy, you’re disorganized. You’ll always find time to do what you WANT to do — whether it’s watching SportsCenter, checking your Facebook feed or standing in line at Starbucks — so it’s not that you don’t have the time, you’ve just chosen to spend it in ways that don’t deliver the results you need. A “busy” person manages to stretch four hours of work into ten. An effective person utilizes and maximizes every waking second of the day.

“I’ve stopped watching Game of Thrones because I’m too busy with work.”  -Said by no one, ever

Ask yourself or your “too busy” employee to carefully track his or her schedule, every hour of each day. Have them keep a log in thirty-minute intervals, from the time they show up until the time they leave (disregarding for a moment that a highly-effective performer doesn’t restrict themselves to 40 hours a week) and you’ll discover how many 15-minute tasks manage to take an hour. If you or your staffer is honest, you’ll find tremendous gaps between meetings and productive time. It will shock you how many blank spaces you’ll see in that schedule, sucking up valuable moments that could be spent getting things done efficiently.

Simply managing around a tight calendar schedule and task list will immediately double the productivity of a good employee. But it takes not only organization, but discipline to make that work.

And discipline is what sets a highly-effective performer apart.

Start with yourself: Focus on discipline, organization and scheduling. Start a little earlier, stay a bit later. Never stop executing: Responding, thinking, taking notes, following-up, focusing and delivering. You’ll be amazed at how much much more you accomplish while feeling less stressed and more in-control. Then before you know it, you’ll be looking around seeing all the time wasted by others.

As I type this, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m on a flight from Miami to LA. I’m surrounded by people reading, watching movies, talking, napping or staring out the window. They’re all enjoying their weekend while I’m here working. Suckers.

Ride On,


Chris Clovis has had the honor and pleasure of 25 years in the Powersports Industry, currently serving as Vice-President of Eaglerider Motorcycles [www.eaglerider.com]. Chris credits his ability to manage 15 stores with over 150 employees (while still keeping up with a teenager and toddler at home) to lots of Discipline and even more RedBull. Chris’ opinions are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer, publisher, or clients.


  1. Urgent...or important? The CEO who has it together knows the difference. The buzzing smart phone is urgent, but most often not important. BTW--thanks for not being too busy to have dinner with us tonight. We may have changed the course of history over one meal.


      Chris Clovis Reply:

      Thanks Eric! I agree - if we could somehow harness our combined mental horsepower, we might have enough to kickstart a '72 Bultaco! I really look forward to working with you in the laboratory. -CC


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