October 25, 2010

Let’s Stamp Out Busyness

This post was last updated on January 5th, 2019 at 09:43 pm

Earlier tonight I tweeted

This disdain for the word busy has been with me for a while.

It’s simply becoming more annoying. When someone tells you how busy they are, I never know how to respond. Should I feel sorry for them? Congratulate them? Offer to help? When people ask how busy I am, I usually respond, “No busier than you” or “Do you really want to know?” The truth is no one is really interested. Your declaration or acknowledgement of your busyness is usually meaningless at best, depressing at worst. 

I’m not suggesting your life isn’t full but for the most part, it’s the life you’ve chosen. You can argue that sometimes it’s not, but you decided to have kids, you choose to work where you work, and you choose to be a good person and help others out. All awesome things. Even if you’re the exception to the rule and have been coerced into your lifestyle by some outside force or alien, what would my sympathy offer you? Busy is the default status and talking about it as if you’re in some type of pissing contest has no purpose. 

I don’t usually preach but I know too many people who are perceived and declared busyness only serve to bring others down. It translates into, “my job is too hard”, “my organization doesn’t value me”, “if you worked as hard as I do, maybe we’d be better off.” We live in a culture fueled by busyness. Anyone who says they’re not busy is assumed lazy. What a warped world where we seem to live in that honours this badge so reverently and questions anyone who doesn’t want to join the ranks. 

I worked for a principal one time that I knew was had tons going on. His desk was full of notes from people to call, his day full of meetings but he made every kid and adult in the school feel like he had time for them. If people asked if he was busy, he would brush off the question and invite you to come in and sit down. He never made you feel rushed or that you were keeping him from something. 

So I’m not asking you to quit anything. You do what you need to do. Just stop telling everyone about it and when someone asks you if you’re busy and you can’t think of anything clever to say just say “no comment”.  Thank you.