Before I get started – this is not a ‘holier-than-thou’ story. I’m not going to tell you how I became a millionaire or how I get up at 4am and hustle till 11pm. I’m talking realism, no BS honesty about ‘being busy’.
When I worked in corporate, self-care/relaxing wasn’t really something we talked about. It was more about how you could access secret energy reserves, how you could trick yourself or others into seeing you as so much more hardworking than them. I’d ‘get an early night’ because I’d physically crawled up the stairs to my flat – sometimes that wasn’t even because I’d worked hard, but I’d spent a lot of energy looking busy.
Once I bailed out of that world at 23 to start my own business, I didn’t leave the ethos behind. ‘I’m just SO BUSY’ I’d gush to my friends, thinking I sounded awesome. FYI, you don’t sound awesome.
You sound like a d*ck and no one cares…
What we really don’t need is entrepreneurs, employees and anyone with a job, perpetuating this falsity. It’s a stock response that we’ve been programmed to say. What it takes away is the opportunity for someone to ask for help – or call out for assistance. If I’m sat in front of you, telling you how busy I am all the time, are you going to feel comfortable to reach out to me? If I’m so intent on ignoring you for my phone or incoming emails, are you going to ask me for support?
The ‘badge of busy’ is cultivating a cataclysmic divide in a society that is already so polarised…
So, what can we do about it?
- It’s all in the mind.
You need to tune into the intrinsic human needs for success. I’ll give you an example – One of my best friends works in sales for a car dealership. Now, our worlds are very different. She has a team, she has marketing staff, she has an admin office and a boss. BUT, she has targets – so do I. She earns commission based on how many cars she sells, I only earn money if I sell my writing packages – we both have to be charismatic and confident in different ways. She has days when business dries up – so do I. She’ll stay late at work to pave the way for tomorrow – so do I. Find things you have in common, instead of trying to ‘out-busy’ each other.
- Be present.
Don’t think that you’re the most important person in the room. Yes, what’s going on in your world is the most important thing to you. However, instead of saying ‘I’m so busy’, why not try, ‘it’s been really busy with business this week, how’s work been going for you’? – or ‘I’m really busy with a new client – which is great. Have you had some good leads this week?’.
- Ask questions
Like the suggestions above, think about how you can incorporate questions into dialogues. If you’re really busy, you might say ‘I’m really busy at the moment, what do you use to organise yourself when you have lots of work on?’, or ‘I’m so busy, I’m struggling to switch off. Do you have any tips?’. By welcoming someone into your world, rather than shutting them out, they’ll be more understanding if you seem a little distracted or are hard to get hold of.
- Ban ‘busy’
Be open, be honest and throw the ‘badge of busy’ in the bin – because it’s a less of a badge and more of a wall. If you’re feeling totally brave, just stop saying ‘busy’ entirely. Because, if you’re with a friend or family member, that’s where you should be. Busy people have to be organised people. They carve out specific time for their loved ones so that they don’t have to talk about how busy they are.
Before you know it you’ll be having relatable, healthy and nourishing conversations with people. Hell! You might even learn something from them.