Thursday, January 10, 2013

The busy excuse


If you're like me, you have a running list of want-to-dos. My list runs the gamut from "make a dress" to "finish a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle." Often, these lists sit untouched for months and years. Why? Because we're busy. Haven't talked to your old friend in months? We're busy.

The truth is, for most, busy is a glorified excuse, one that has been pervasive in American workplaces for decades. It makes one feel important, as if they're just in too much demand.

The harder truth is...we're not that important. And acting busy, and saying we're busy, doesn't mean we're getting more work done. In fact, putting up a wall and pushing people away can actually stymie productivity.

Yes, we can be genuinely, truly, too busy for some things. Things we should be saying no to. But overusing the busyness excuse, like overuse of most other things, dilutes its meaning, so here are a few things to think about before you pull out the busy excuse next time.

Relationships matter.
Sometimes an ask is small. And sometimes taking 2 minutes out of your day to help someone can strengthen a business relationship.

Goal or goof?
We all have a role to play in our workplaces and goals to meet for each review period. You should make time for those things that help you meet your goals, and perhaps edit out some of the things that don't.

Be honest, but helpful.
There will be times where you really can't help with what is being asked, whether by necessity (there really just isn't time) or by preference (it's not a priority). If you're truly busy, be sincere...no one likes to be brushed off. But if you can point someone in the right direction to find the help they need, do so.

It's not about you.
Like I said before, we're not all that important. Before you go all "how dare she ask me to help!" take a step off your high horse and think about whether you're helping or hindering the bigger cause.


Being busy has been the de rigueur humble-brag in offices for far too long. Let's be honest with ourselves—and others—and we can get rid of it once and for all.

What do you think about busy for busyness sake? Do you see this in your office, too?

20 comments:

  1. This is totally applicable to one's personal life as well.

    Oh busy.... I used to be addicted and it's only been since becoming a parent that I've gotten rid of my self importance shield.


    These days, I'm constantly being brought into the NOW with the demands of the small one. It's a nice change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true! Sure, we could make ourselves busy every second of every day, but why would we want to do that? We'd be missing out on so much!

      Delete
  2. I used to say I was busy all the time. Eventually, I realized how silly I was being and that I was just trying to look important. And by labeling myself as "busy", I was making myself feel frazzled and out of control. I'm trying to be more focused and passionate in my work and life...because really, no one cares if I'm busy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a slippery slope. I've definitely noticed over the years (in different jobs) how the people who said they were always busy were not actually getting much done, but were super stressed out.

      I think it is one of those things that we're taught we should aspire to, though, and also there might be a bit of recession insecurity kicking in. If our plate isn't full, will we be targeted for downsizing?

      Delete
  3. i HATE "i'm too busy" excuse above all others. because it's almost NEVER true. you can be too busy for a day or even a week, but most tasks either don't take that long anyway, or can be broken up so that if you actually wanted to do it, you could have. most likely you just didn't do it because you didn't really want to, you forgot, or you put it off, all things readily in your control. but your lack of motivation or forethought should never translate as being too busy to do something that needs to be done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EXACTLY. If you cared enough or wanted to, you could make time. That applies to work as well as non-work. :)

      Delete
  4. I often would tell me I've been busy when they ask because I didn't actually want to go into details of everything I've been up to.

    But I never said I was too busy to help. I'd put things off. I'd stay at work until 8 to help someone out earlier in the day. Other people would comment on how I was busy more than I did (besides the excuse mentioned above).

    Sadly now I'm only too busy with TV shows or cleaning :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true...it's definitely easier (on you and them) to not go into a laundry list of what you're actually doing, but I think it's great you're so helpful.

      Delete
    2. Sometimes I feel like I just get walked all over though. Perhaps there's such a thing as too helpful.

      Delete
    3. That is definitely a thing. It is still okay to say no. :)

      Delete
  5. I read this anecdote to my two year old son. We were both thinking it would make a great children's book if it was writing websites illustrated.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for, and I am glad to came here! Thanks for sharing the such information with us.www.studyexpertise.com |

    www.corehealthcaretechnologies.com |

    www.alexhuardfitness.com |

    www.housedegree.com |

    www.meiji-ehome.com |

    ReplyDelete
  7. Vinay Dixit: While the importance fendi outlet of key cities in tier-1 in China cannot be underestimated, significant growth will actually come from lower replica handbags uk tier markets. In fact, we believe that almost 75% of new wealthy households replica hermes will be created in areas outside the tier-1 cities in China.

    ReplyDelete
  8. To initiate with the first line of my commentary – I do resembling to award a large-scale thanks to the blog tribute. If reality be notified it is a great work by him and I discovered a good facilitate by his/her impressive data cash advances for you. I just seem like to notify, delight stay it up your work. Sometimes I will check with you are posting and updating. Looking ahead to your more mails.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here. www.plumlivinghealth.org |

    www.provitalhealth.org |

    www.northernhealthplan.org |

    www.oralhealthexam.org |

    www.cwyzehealth.org |

    www.cwyzehealthcare.org |

    www.healthykskids.org |

    www.biohealthchip.org |

    www.meridianwomenhealth.org |

    www.heroeshealthproject.org |

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the informative blog. The place else may possibly just I get that kind of info written in such a excellent approach? I’ve a venture that I’m just now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Great work!

    ReplyDelete

Like this? Leave a comment!
Comments with emails attached will receive emailed replies; otherwise replies will be added below the original comment.