Stop Saying I’m Busy

When People Ask You How You Are, Stop Saying “Busy”​

I am constantly on the lookout for tips and good topics to research to bring to the Chamber Members. When I came across an article on LinkedIn about how we need to stop saying we are “Busy” I paused and reflected that I have been just as guilty as I too have been known to say “I’m busy” when people ask, “how are you?”.

Today we use the word “busy” as a status, somehow it is perceived that if we are busy, we are productive, important, needed. It also translates into being overwhelmed, stressed and not being able to breathe. There are many articles from BBC, CNBC and even Forbes have covered this topic.

April 2018 CNBC reported that on average Americans work 44 hours a week up to 60 hours. We have a habit of filling our calendars so full that we use the “I’m busy” as a badge of success, however, the message sent is that you are not using your time wisely. 

It is a common misconception that appearing to be busy is a sign that you are valuable. Successful business leaders like those at Google and 3M insist their employees have “free time” to work on their own projects. Moments of idleness breeds new ideas.

High achievers stay focused by doing the following:

  • Accept that time is a precious and fixed resource. They follow a plan.
    • In past posts, we have discussed the importance of having a schedule. Scheduling times to respond to email, times to respond to Social Media, Times to return telephone calls. You get the picture. Use your calendar to block off times so that you won’t get distracted.
  • Know how to separate Urgent from Important
    • They also admit to when they are not getting an important task accomplished because they focused on something else.
  • Align their top priorities with their core purpose and our core values
  • Don’t book 100% of their time; they value rest and relaxation
    • Rest and relaxation breed new ideas.
  • Constantly look for things that they should stop doing
    • Seek ways to eliminate things you don’t need, seek ways to improve with using less time.
  • Are selective about the people they give their energy to

When asked how you are, stop saying “Busy” instead say something creative like “I am looking for new opportunities” or answer with something that you are engaged in or excited about. This will open the doors to deeper conversation and stop you from being passed over.

By: Cheryl Viola, Executive Director