Monday, April 14, 2014

Debunking the "I'm so busy" myth. It's about time!

I love the article from Tyler Ward about being "busy", titled "Busy isn't respectable anymore." Obviously, for someone who is considerably less busy than she used to be, due to health constraints, but also due to choice, it's great to hear that being busy isn't all its cracked up to be. And per his article, there actually might be disadvantages to proclaiming to be so "busy" in the first place.

You can read the entire article here, but I particularly like the snippet below about the "busy" experiment. I've tried it (striking the word "busy" from my vocabulary), and it really does work. In fact, a few weekends ago, we visited our extended family, and when I responded to the typical "How's the Pillbag business?", I forced myself to come up with something other than "Busy, thanks." I elaborated, I went into detail. I actually took the opportunity to engage in a conversation, rather than shutting it down by simply replying with the typical "Busy" comeback.

Here's the snippet, and don't miss the entire article here. Enjoy!

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Paul reached out to me about an experiment he and his wife did last year revolving around the issue of busyness. I thought it too good not to share.
Enter Paul.
My wife and I began noticing that everybody in our circle of influence, including ourselves, responded to virtually any question with “busy.” Normal questions? busy. Normal life? busy. It was evident that the new normal was a declaration of busy.  It became the new mantra for living in the 21st century.  ‘I am busy.  Hear me roar!’
So, we decided to conduct an experiment.
We decided to never use the phrase BUSY as an answer for an entire year and to see if there were any changes in attitude and/or behaviour. Ours. Theirs.
We noticed alright.  Instantly.
We were forced to describe our own situations with more clarity, and without our best friend ‘busy’ to blame, we engaged with people more authentically. As we did, we noticed the general depth of conversations increase as we and those we were sharing with, were invited to communicate differently about our actual states of being.
We stopped manipulating our friends. We weren’t actually aware that we were doing it before, however with that little four letter word excommunicated, we no longer predetermined the ubiquitous auto-response – “me too.”
We also quit guilting other people with all of our so called busy-ness. There’s nothing quite like the overachiever in the crowd diminishing everybody else efforts.  Our busyness somehow validated us in the minds of our peers. So we thought.  When we stopped using the word, we were free to be happy with our efforts for the day – and free to let others be comfortable with their own accomplishments.
‘The devil made me do it’ was a well-worn phrase when I was a kid.  Perhaps ‘busy’ is its new iteration.  An unintended consequence of our banishment of all things busy was that we stopped justifying our poor behaviors & choices.  As we practiced choosing better words to describe our circumstances, we noticed a steady decline in the blame game. It included saying things like “we choose to take on too much…our bad.”
And most importantly, when we quit using the word BUSY, we noticed that others did the same. It was refreshing, for all of the aforementioned reasons.
Busy, it would seem, is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The more we said it – the more we felt it.  The more we felt – the more we acted like it.  The more we acted like it – (well, you know the rest).  Guess what?  When we quit saying it, we reversed SOME (not all) of the craziness.
Exit Paul.
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