We need to treat “busy” like the four-letter word that it is.
Everybody’s busy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, the average U.S. employee puts in 7.6 hours of work before coming home and spending an average of at least two hours in household activities. That’s already a big time commitment.
Between being married, having kids, working a job (at least you should be), tracking your budget (another really good idea), taking care of your house/chores, grocery shopping, exercise, meals, sleep, and commuting between all of those responsibilities, anyone would be busy!
Saying you’re busy nowadays is like saying you’re on Facebook: everybody is, unless you’re Amish… and even that’s up for debate. The point is people ask you how you’re doing and you say, “I’m busy!” Well, no shock, Sherlock, that’s a fact of life!
“Busy” is tiring
Busyness isn’t a novelty, nor is it a badge of honor. I came across these words from Anese Cavanaugh, founder and CEO of Dare to Engage, earlier this week,
“Being busy does not make you more important, it does not make you more productive, it does not make you more valuable. It just makes you tired.”
You may be busy, very, very busy… but are you productive? A hamster on a wheel is busy. I’ve worked with a variety of people and clients who are “busy” according to their schedule, even from their appearance, but they’re not productive.
Busyness is effort exuded while productivity is effort directed. (Click to tweet this!)
Being busy is an excuse
The truth is we’re not really as busy as we think we are. If the right opportunity with the right people came across your schedule today, we’d clear everything and follow that opportunity. We need to take that mindset and transfer it to the myriad of excuses we use in the spirit of busyness,
- “Sorry, I’ve just been swamped.”
- “I’m really busy and haven’t gotten to it yet.”
- “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
- “I’ve been go-go-go all week and just haven’t had the time.”
Do whatever’s necessary to turn your busyness into productivity. You can actually be more productive in less time if you’re focused in your attention, disciplined in your efforts, and doing one task at a time. Track your to-do list and time management to see how your productivity increases with those three tips. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
Getting rid of “busy”
For now though, let’s work to eliminate “busy” for our conversations. It doesn’t add value, only serves as an obvious statement for a vast majority of the population. Treat it like the four-letter word it’s become.
Saying you’re busy is a tired response, but being productive is inspiring. We get to inspire the people around us today. I’d rather share the exciting things that I get to be a part of instead of just reporting on the pace of everyday life.