Busy is the new fine, or so I’ve heard lately. It used to be when you asked someone how they were doing in casual conversation, they’d say “fine.” Now the answer is more likely to be “busy.”
I hate Busy, the idea and the feeling. But I can feel it creeping up on me. This is a full time of year for most of us, and it just so happens that too many of my own personal and professional projects occur in the next six weeks.
It’s a good kind of busy—which is why I fight the impulse to use that loaded word. It’s the kind that (mostly) comes from having a full life of things I love to do.
But I can only cram so many things I enjoy into the next six weeks, and I’ve having to prioritize even more than usual.
When it feels like I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in, nothing makes me feel “busy”—like I’m spinning my wheels—than when I have a time-consuming task I don’t enjoy.
When that happens (and oh, did it ever happen last week) I fall back on a trick I read on Penelope Trunk’s blog a long time ago. (Note: that post is safe for work and family, but not all her posts are. By a long shot.)
As a spur to creative problem solving, I ask myself, “what would Victoria Beckham do?”
You have to know what a ridiculous question this is for me. I have no idea what Victoria Beckham is up to; the last I heard of her she wore a stylish ensemble to Will and Kate’s wedding. I was never a Spice Girls fan. She’s not exactly my muse. (Although 5 minutes of googling shows she has some serious chops: she was just named Britain’s Entrepreneur of the Year.)
That probably makes the mental exercise all the more successful. When I’m having problems figuring out how to get everything done, I ask myself, “What would Victoria Beckham do?”
Trunk says this is really like pretending you have unlimited money to throw at your problems. If money were no obstacle in any given situation, what would you do differently?
Money is an obstacle, of course, and I don’t have options like “let the nanny/butler/chef deal with it” in my repertoire. But I forget about that, and ask myself what Victoria would do if she lost her computer file, forgot to thaw something for dinner, or realized her son’s pants were suddenly two inches too short.
My solution probably doesn’t look a lot like Victoria’s at the end of the day, but just considering what Victoria Beckham would do helps me see things in a new light.
(Hint: my two most frequent answers to WWVD are some variation of “skip it” or “get help”—even if that help comes from a friend/neighbor/babysitter and not my hypothetical trainer/tutor/assistant.)
As far as problem-solving strategies go, this one’s a little crazy. But for me, it’s crazy enough to work.
(Disclaimer: I have friends and mentors and idols of sorts I look up to and ask for advice about the Big Picture stuff, and I recommend you do, too. But for out-of-the-box thinking, Victoria’s my girl. Although now I’m wondering if Jane Austen would fit the bill. How would she deal with my lost scrivener file?)
Do you ever ask yourself “what would _____ do?” What’s your go-to strategy for creative problem solving?