Well… are you? I’ve certainly heard myself say I am. And I hear many people around me saying they are too; and this is not restricted to work colleagues, it includes non-working friends and family too. I have even witnessed some competitive ‘I’m busier than you’ type behaviours over the years, the roots of which I’ve never really understood.
So, when I came across the following article by Lennox Morrison at BBC Capital, it really made me reflect, and ask what it means to be busy, what messages we are conveying to others and more importantly what messages we are ACTUALLY conveying.
Morrison briefly talks about the changing ‘always on’ digital world in which we live, which could be contributing to this busy feeling. However, the focus of the author is that there is no longer a badge of honour, a sign of value, or a measure of importance (as there once was) attached to claims of being super busy, and in fact repeated claims can leave those around you positively unimpressed.
So rather than being exalted because of your ‘busyness’, it is actually more likely you will be considered inefficient and unable to organise or prioritise – clearly not skills many of us would want to list on our CVs.
So next time, before you play the busy card, consider re-phrasing. When a colleague asks for help you could say – “I need to finish x y and z first and then I’ll gladly spend some time with you after lunch.” or if your manager gives you another task you could say – “Would you prefer me to prioritise this or help you with that?” And when someone asks you how things are going, use the opportunity to share something exciting you are doing or working on, rather than clicking on the default ‘I’m busy’ button.
It would be great if you could share your busy experiences and stories – that’s if you have time of course. :-)