Breaking Beehive Behaviour

Worker Bees, they do all the work in the hive providing for all and selflessly ensuring the survival of the colony. They are genetically programmed to respond to signals and the mood music of the hive and work tirelessly to ensure the needs of others are met without much appreciation from their fellow worker bees.

Sound familiar?

So many organisations have inadvertently created a Beehive Mindset with people rushing around from meeting to meeting, unthinkingly reacting and responding to requests for information, help and accepting work request in the mistaken belief they will be recognised and appreciated for the effort they are putting in. How is that working out for you?

Come on wake up and smell the honey! We are not Worker Bees and adapting their mindset is not a productive way to live our lives either at work, or at home.

The challenge to break this mind-set starts with recognizing the symptoms. Do you?

  • Hear yourself saying ‘sorry I haven’t got time to talk at the moment’ to people who are trying to talk to you;
  • Wake up thinking of all the things you have to do today and launch into action.
  • Go to sleep worrying about the things you have not yet done and making a promise to remember to do them tomorrow.
  • Say ‘yes’ to all requests especially from senior people in your organisation.
  • Press the lift call button more than once.
  • Etc. Etc. Etc

If these apply to you then you have ‘Hurryness Disease’.  The good news is that it is fairly easy to self-diagnose and like any illness you need to seek professional help to break free of the habits that are trapping you.

Step #1 – Get control. This is easier said than done but starts with the need to define your purpose. See my blog on the Purpose of Purpose. Absent clarity of purpose all requests for your attention get equal weighting and the most urgent or most consequential if not done, usually win. With clarity of purpose you can effectively prioritise your time. Then ruthlessly move to Step #2.

Step #2 – Be selfish. We find this idea abhorrent as we are social animals pre-programmed to help others. To give this some perspective I am talking here about grabbing some ‘you’ time from your schedule. Start small – get 5% of your time set aside to do things that are important to you and then when you learn that the world is OK with this and somehow manages to survive without your constant attention, then progressively ramp it up. The most effective people I know control around 35% of their time. They choose what they do because they have chosen to break the Beehive Mindset.

Step #3 –Do ‘Great work’ not just ‘Good’ Work in your ‘you’ time. Great work plays to your unique strengths and talents and is future enhancing. It is stretches you and challenges you to move towards your Purpose and the edge of your comfort zone and then take a step beyond!

Step #4 – Declutter – Start with a technology detox. Give yourself some quality of time away from your tech leave your phone off. The tech should enable you to be more effective, do not let it become the Queen Bee in your hive!

Good luck and if you need some help then when you get some ‘you’ time shout!

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