A recent article titled “The Busy Trap” by New York Times columnist Tim Kreider got me thinking about the busyness in my own life and the current state of what I call “new age marketing.”

This is a powerful article and it sadly describes my own busyness. Yet, I was not always this busy. I used to have unstructured time.

As a youth and young adult, I was not this busy. I lived an almost improvisational life with just a few major goals such graduate from college, learn to snow ski, and get a job

Even as a new parent I was not this busy. Yes, I had little or no sleep but I had a keen sense of what to do when the baby cried: pickup the baby, get a bottle or change the diaper.

Yet, today I am very busy. Too busy. I am doing so many things for myself and others that I cannot even remember them all.

What changed?

I think the web and its encroachment into everything I do is a factor. I have four blogs and I am deeply involved in social media which I justify for professional reasons. I say yes too much to others and rationalize it as my own generosity. Mostly, I think it is my choice to have been this busy. Or, better said, maybe a lack of prioritization creates busyness.

The new age of marketing reflects this as well. Companies measure their sales success using KPIs (key performance indicators) which measure busyness: # of sales calls, # of proposals, # of new customers, etc. Note that the KPIs describe activity rather than meaningfulness or satisfaction.

Facebook success for many brands is gauged by the # of “likes” or fans or contacts with a mantra of “more is better.” Likes are so absurdly important on Facebook that now you can actually buy “like” packages in quantities of 500 or more raving fans. Of course, the # of likes is almost meaningless as they truly measure little in the first place. (By the way, please like my page called First, Best, or Different” on Facebook.)

The new rage in new venture development is the “Lean Start Up” which advocates launching new products which are merely untested prototypes. Rather than perfect the product prior to launch, let the customers debug it for you. The thinking is that time is short and why waste it in product development. Who cares if the customer gets an usable piece of crap. Let them figure it out.

I submit that busy is not better. Activity is not an indicator of success or quality. Activity cannot be construed as a result. Busy is just busy.

I must now pause  to reflect.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2012
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  1. We’ve overly complicated something quite simple. Measure the end result wanted instead of all the potential factors affecting it. Create a strategy upfront instead of doing everything and just seeing how it goes. Learn and iterate as you go. Be willing to stop doing things that aren’t working and invest time in those that are. Test new approaches when it makes sense, but don’t get bogged down in constant changes. Again, what is the end result you’re looking for and how can you best get there.

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