In the past, we’ve spoken about the buzzwords that need to be banned in offices. Today I would like to add another to the list…busy.
How many times have you heard this phrase muttered today? Or this week? Let’s just say that if I had a dollar for every time someone uttered that four-letter word in my direction over the last few years I would be lying on a beach in Bora Bora. Not typing in a Dublin office.
Almost everyone I know is ”busy”.
The proliferation of busy has been well-documented in the media. I’m not the only one who has noticed it’s meteoric rise to prominence in our vocabulary. Psychologists have written about it. Life coaches have warned against it.
But still, we continue to say this word almost sub consciously numerous times a day. So much so that it’s lost its meaning. When someone asks us how we are we almost automatically reply with ”busy.” It’s a subtle brag hidden under tired eyes. We want to be seen as ambitious or hard-working.
Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that people value the perception of being busy so much that we now use it to determine status.
In the past, people with ample leisure time were seen as being more successful. The rich and elite worked shorter hours and spent the rest of their time lying around their lavish estates (see Downtown Abbey for reference).
Today, however, we have begun to idolise the frantic lives of corporate elites who only sleep for five hours a night or celebs who always moan about their ”crazy schedules.” To be busy means that you are desired.
The truth of the matter is no one is actually busy. There, I said it. And I stand by it too.
Think about it, when you meet up with an old friend and all they can say is ”I’m soooo busy.” That usually means that that person is not really present or paying attention to you. It’s a cop out. A get out of jail free card for not really connecting.
That person is not really busy right now because you’re talking to them, all they have to do in that moment is listen.
In reality, busy people bring it on themselves. They’re the people volunteering to take on extra work or planning activities for every weeknight. They’re the people who just can’t say no.
When you cut down to the bones of it, we all have 24 hours in the day. We are all are in charge of our own time. We all determine how we see ourselves.
There is nothing wrong with being ambitious or hardworking. These are both admirable qualities. But being busy comes with a hefty price tag. Everything from heart attacks, strokes, and cancer have all been linked to stress which is only magnified by our busy obsession.
Say you’re busy enough times and you’ll start to believe it. Stop saying it for a few weeks and your whole perspective could change. Don’t believe me? Just try it.