Can we please stop talking about how busy we are?

by Super User
Hits: 1095

‘Flat out’ ‘so busy’ ‘so many deadlines’ – At what point did these become the common answer when someone asks you how you are?! Why do we have to communicate with others ‘how busy’ we are and are we really as busy as we think we are?! (whoo that’s a lot of busyness for the first sentence!)

‘Flat out’ ‘so busy’ ‘so many deadlines’ – At what point did these become the common answer when someone asks you how you are?! Why do we have to communicate with others ‘how busy’ we are and are we really as busy as we think we are?! (whoo that’s a lot of busyness for the first sentence!)

First things first, I’m a start-up. I’m in the first year of my business and long hours are pretty standard. 60-80 hour weeks are the norm, early mornings, late nights, working around clients, training, learning, events, paper work, follow ups - blah blah blah! Does anyone actually want to hear?! For anyone who knows me on a personal level they will know this article is as much aimed at me as it is for anyone else!

So what is this busyness all about? So much of our busyness is about trying to outdo others – heaven forbid you weren’t as busy as the person that asked the question! Basically, when we are claiming how busy we are we are trying to say ‘I’m more important’ – my time is more important than yours. In short – I’m busier so I’m more successful! Perhaps it is a result of seeing those like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer who claims to work 130 hours a week. Marissa has claimed you can judge a start-ups chances of success by whether they work weekends are not. Perhaps this mind set has crept into our culture and we feel in order to be successful we need to be busy.

So are we really as busy as we think we are? In short yes and no. I am by no means trying to tell anyone that they are not busy or belittle anyone’s increasing workload. We have more commitments than ever and more pressure from external sources than ever. However, we also have 10,080 minutes in the week. That's right - 10,080 minutes!! That is a lot of time and whats more it is the same amount as everyone else has! By answering a simple ‘how are you’ or worse still telling people how busy you are without being asked we are failing to communicate with friends, colleagues, clients and even potential clients. We feel the need to be ‘in demand’, and use the long hours as a somewhat badge of honour yet we miss out on important conversations and fail to share feelings, lessons and experiences with those people. Just take a minute, the last time you said you were ‘really busy’ what response did you get? I bet that you didn’t get questions about what you were doing, how you were. Instead of ‘being busy’ what if you told the person what you were working on – what could you have learned? If you hadn’t put that person under pressure to reply ‘I’m really busy also’ what could you have learned about them?! From what I see in both business and personal capacities the main way to succeed is to build relationships.

Finally, working longer certainly doesn’t mean smarter. If you’re burning the midnight oil on a constant basis are you really making the most of your days? Schedule your time. Look at your tasks, allocate time for each task and cut out the distractions. Put your phone away, shut down your emails, log out of Facebook. You will be surprised how much you can get done is a shorter space of time.

The fact is – we are all busy, but we all can make more time for the things that are important. I have yet to meet someone that can’t squeeze another thing into their schedule! Being busy is about your time choices. It is your choice what to do with those 10,080 minutes.

 

So as you start out your week. Please don’t talk about how busy you are. Stop making people feel like your work is more important – listen to others – help others and you will be surprised what you get in return! So when someone next tells you how busy they are – have a little smile. I’ll bet they aren’t as busy as they say they are!