Being Busy

Are you busy?

Just about everyone I meet will say they are busy. They are either busy saving the world or busy getting things done.

Then there are those lanyard wearers who aren’t just busy but “really busy” which makes the busy bees feel like they should be working harder. There is a next level – there are those who are “crazy busy”. They are so busy they “don’t know which way to turn for the best”.

In fact, if you aren’t busy being busy then you have no real life or importance. Busy is a badge of honour and this humble bragging is something those “rushed off their feet” simply love throwing in your face.

The really busy bees like to feel important so they will tell you that work is “manic” and they “don’t have a minute” because they are “snowed under” or “swamped”. Either way, it doesn’t sound very nice and in some cases it sounds quite life-threatening.

The reality is, some people do have jobs that are all-consuming and they work too many hours. But some of these people like to revel in their busy-ness and laud it over others. Are we impressed? Well, some might be but the majority of us just aren’t.

People that are “up to their necks” might want to start changing their language and stop saying busy. Saying your busy is annoying. Sarah Rudell Beach suggests that the busy people could say other things such as intentionally full, abundant, engaged, wholehearted, captivated, productive, resplendent, dynamic or excited. Those are good ‘full’ words and they let others know that you are occupied.

I don’t really care if someone is busy because I assume that the business of living keeps us all pretty occupied and we’ve all got “a lot on our plate.”

If we are living in a “fast-paced world” then it’s a given that we are “doing stuff” or “slaving away” all the time. It’s just that we don’t need to tell everyone and we don’t need to say we are “time-poor”. Being busy isn’t news and it isn’t clever.

The real problem is what message this sends children. They see their stressed out and busy teachers who “don’t have a minute” and yet that’s exactly what children need. They need a teacher who isn’t busy but gives them their undivided attention.

When people tell you they are busy then what they are really saying is that they have really lousy time management skills. They are saying that they aren’t in control and their calendar has taken over their life. Busy means that you aren’t focused and you’re not prioritising. As Hanna Rosin reminds us, “You aren’t as busy as you think you are.”

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