KNOXVILLE, TN – During the holidays it’s easy get swept away in the mounting activities, gifts to buy, and need to squeeze everything we can out of our businesses before the year end with short workweeks and distracted staff. We’re doing more with less, turning our schedules into a game of Tetris as we fill as many gaps as possible. If we aren’t careful, the beauty of the holidays is lost in the chaos we create.
It’s easy to lose ourselves in the everyday shuffle of life and lose perspective on things. For me, the year end is a time to practice mindfulness as one reflects on what was, and begin planning our vision for our future selves and our businesses. However, if our industry is to be successful during this volatile time, we must understand the difference between busyness and effectiveness.
This is without doubt a challenging time for our industry, and we’re all in overdrive trying to figure out how to maintain viability. It’s easy to be consumed by the issues we face at work. We’re transforming our businesses daily, braving the edges of the map as we redefine ourselves as HME suppliers. Blood, sweat, and tears isn’t just a band name—it’s a way of life.
But countless studies have shown that busyness isn’t correlated with productivity, effectiveness, success, happiness, or purposeful living. Busyness is the opposite, distracting us from the meaningful activities that make a real difference in our companies and our lives.
To make true progress towards our corporate goals, we must redefine what and how we spend our time. We must say no to the things that occupy unnecessary space in our lives so that we can say yes to opportunities for valuable contribution. I think of Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “Far and away, the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” No one is saying to stop trying or to accept apathy; on the contrary, the goal is to fully commit ourselves to what can actively add to the life we desire professionally and personally.
During the final countdown to 2014, I hope that you will take pause from the hustle-bustle of life and spend some time developing a clear plan for the new year. Carefully evaluate your current methods and activities. For all you’re giving, for all the hours you put in and the stress you take on, are you getting the results you desire? What would your business and life would look like if you were to begin living more intentionally, purposefully, and deliberately? What would you drop? What would you focus on? How would you change?
Practice mindfulness as you review what you fill your time with and what messages you tell yourself. Search your world for good, and hold to the things that bring you happiness and peace. Guard your planner, weeding out filler and creating space so the truly significant things to have room to grow.
Our industry is going through significant changes, and it’s critical that we spend our time effectively going forward. By cutting out the tasks and to-dos that don’t contribute to our overall mission, we become free to dedicate our energy toward worthy things. We do work that matters as we care for our communities’ elderly and disabled—and we have a fantastic opportunity to redefine homecare in America as we build a better future for our businesses and those we serve.
Sending you my best wishes for a blissful holiday season and a fresh perspective as we begin the new year.
Ashley Plauché is communications director for Lambert’s Health Care, Knoxville, Tenn, and executive director of ATHOMES, the Association for Tennessee Home Oxygen and Medical Equipment Services. She can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.