I’d like to start a movement to strike the word ‘busy’ from our conversations, in particular at work, but also in our conversations with our loved ones. I’m guilty of it too. I always say “busy…but a good kind of busy”! What does that mean? I have the vision of a miniature fuzzy Tracy on her hamster wheel pedaling rapidly around and around but going nowhere but back to where I began. And I sound exhausted and overwhelmed. That is not a truthful picture of how I feel…ok, occasionally I do arrive home from work pretty dizzy and disoriented but usually only after a late night school board meeting. We are making real progress on a lot of neat projects at work but it is so easy to use the acceptable crutch of how busy we are to prove to ourselves and others that we are valued and secure in our jobs. I don’t think I am being paid to be just busy. I think I am getting paid to see projects through to completion with some very special outcomes for kids and families.
Let’s vow to not let the response pass through our lips at networking events, business meetings, and especially in front of our friends and family. I have come to believe this strongly – not for the definition of the word, but for the usage. I think it is my crutch or just a bad habit. Just like swearing (although there are times that situations demand the use of one of the 7 dirty, but fitting, words made infamous by comedian George Carlin). If you rely on the busy blow-off word to express yourself, then you aren’t as informative or perhaps with this particular response – truthful. It is especially counterproductive when you have a meeting cancelled at the last minute because someone else is “too busy”. Or in other words, what they are working on or meeting with is more important than what you are planning to discuss. I too am guilty of the overuse of ‘busy’, but here’s my plan for quitting.
- Make a list of five things I’ve done recently to replace the usual response of “oh, I’m so busy”.
- Rather than asking someone about how they are, I’m going to ask them specifically if they are working on anything new or something I should know about.
- When I catch b-u-s-y coming out my mouth, I am going to follow up with a sentence or two and explain what exactly I’ve been doing.
- I am going to try really hard not to give my colleagues and friends the busy treatment.
Now, do you want to discuss the overuse of the word ‘stress’? Same problem with that word as with ‘busy’. What other words drive you over the top or have unintended consequences to you or to your workmates and loved ones? Well, I better go get busy.
Watch this cute short vimeo called Bob about a hamster on a wheel — watch all the way to the end (after the credits) for a good belly laugh.