Which more do you want?

The busier you are, the more important and successful you’ll be.

I don’t believe that for a second, but a lot of people seem to adhere to the notion that “being in business” means “having busyness.”

How many times have you asked a friend or coworker, “How are you?”

Only to receive the exasperated reply: “Busy.”

I hear it a lot. I say it more than I want.

It’s easy to fill your day with busyness, but it’s much more difficult to fill that time with purpose.

At Mabus Agency, we try not to worship at the altar of busyness. We fail some days, but we know our best work doesn’t happen when we move from one task to the next, frazzled and never looking up from our computer screens. It happens when we’re taking time to hone our skills, collaborate across departments and finally sit with an idea until we can craft it into something better.

We each make it happen in a different way, but creating space for creativity and peace of mind is important. Some of us keep our heads down on Monday morning to knock out all the tedium and free up space for the rest of the week. Some of us schedule quiet time on the calendar to spend a few hours with a whiteboard brainstorming. Then there are people like Jaime, who has never been stressed and is unfazed by the limited nature of time.

Our renewed focus comes from looking back at our founding principles. We want to help people, and we want to raise the creative bar. We can’t raise the creative bar with mediocre work, and we can’t help people if we don’t have the time or peace of mind to focus on strategy.

A glut of work, some turnover and a few other circumstances pulled our focus from those founding principles. We found ourselves too busy, and we knew we had to refocus. Most folks don’t stop and see this in themselves — even fewer would write about it for all to see.

That’s how important it is to work with purpose. More isn’t always more.

Business — capitalism — is all about more, but how do you define more? It’s not just about more money or people or square footage. Sometimes it’s about more peace. Sometimes it’s about more jobs.

I remember a third-grade teacher telling me a story of a boy who could draw better than anyone in the class. In one 45-minute class, he could draw 30 horses, 40 cats or 90 flowers. One day the art teacher looked at the boy’s work and asked, “Have your drawings gotten any better? Do you think you could draw a better horse if you drew one horse for 45 minutes?” The boy told the teacher he was going to go home and not come back until he had drawn the best horse that had ever been drawn.

Sometimes it’s about less work, but not worse work.

The lesson of this story lies in between. What is the amount of time it takes the boy to produce a drawing he is most proud of? How many drawings does he need to sell to pay for his pencils and sales staff while living the lifestyle he is most happy with?

It doesn’t matter if he can make $1 million producing these drawings if he never has time to enjoy his wealth — or worse, his life. And he could take all the time in the world to produce the greatest drawing, but if he never sells one, it’s just a hobby, and he’s got to work on it after 5 p.m. and on the weekends.

What is your goal?

Do you want to be the biggest company in your field, or do you want to be the best?

Do you want more peace, or do you want more income?

These ideals aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. However, it always surprises me when speaking with a client who’s never considered the notion that they might not need to increase sales this quarter when an increase last quarter stressed them to the gills.

At some point, you have to stop looking at your businesses and look at which way you want to grow it. Don’t get caught in the cult of busyness or stuck on the road toward expansion if those don’t help you achieve your overall goal.

We don’t want to be the busiest. We want to ensure our clients have peace while maintaining our own.

Which more do you want?