Nov 12, 2015
This decade has a new motto and that motto is ‘busy’.
Filling our lives with ‘busy’ seems to be essential for demonstrating effectiveness and worth in today’s world, but it doesn’t necessarily mean productive or effective.
In fact, often the opposite is often true. For most of us, this busy mentality has become a dominant – and insidious – way of thinking, feeling and acting.
Being busy impacts the way we communicate with others at home and at work. When asked how we are, our reply generally includes the word busy or the concept of ‘busyness’. We rush through our days focusing on prioritising so we can achieve our KPIs and KRAs and outcomes, all the while hoping to appear in control at the same time.
Thinking busy all the time affects how we feel about ourselves. Remember when we had ‘slow times’ which were used to catch up on the busy time overflow? The lack of catch up time today leads us to always feeling behind, so we feel guilty when we do catch up, or heaven forbid, take some time out.
Being ‘too busy’ is also a great excuse for not doing what’s really important like catching up with friends, exercising more, having a health check-up or a weekend away with family.
But is being too busy the message we really want to project to those around us?
When bosses or clients assume you are too busy, they stop bringing you opportunities, believing you probably won’t have time to take advantage of them.
Staff may stop asking for your advice, approaching you with ideas that could have a positive impact on your organisation, or coming to you when problems are small and manageable.
By using the dreaded ‘B’ word you give the impression you are no longer in control. Is this what your clients, bosses or staff want to see?
When family members assume you are too busy, they stop expecting to spend time together and start to build their lives without you. When was the last time you ran into a friend or family member and said those sincere words: ‘We must catch up for a coffee?’ How often do you make the time?
Busy isn’t a motto we should live by. Here’s how you can kiss your ‘busyness’ goodbye:
• Make time for staff by having regular morning tea breaks with your team where informal, non-specific chat can occur. You will be surprised at the innovative (and often time saving) ideas generated when staff don’t feel pressured to keep each conversation short and to the point.
• When your boss asks you a job-related question, avoid telling them how ‘busy’ you are. Instead let them know what you are ‘currently working on’.
• When talking to clients, instead of emphasising your ‘busyness’, tell them business is great and ask how they are doing. Make time to find out what you can be doing for them and open the door for more paid, instead of busy, work!
• Ensure you schedule in time for family and friends. Book that family weekend away, go for picnics and meet friends for Sunday brunch. Celebrate family events regularly rather than wait for Christmas and Easter. The occasional coffee with a close friend might take time out of your day, but don’t you deserve some time out? Laughing with those you care about reduces stress, clears your mind and enriches your life.
There are 1440 minutes in a day. Will the world stop turning if you take a few of them and use them not to be busy?
Mills-Eaton Training delivers In-House training for medium-large organisations. They specialise in Team Development (with expertise in dysfunctional teams), Leadership, Communication and other practical programs.
Contact Kellie Mills on firstname.lastname@example.org