The 'Busy' Trap


"Things are great, just really busy."

This seems to be my default response these days to the question, "How's it going." There are variations, of course, "really busy", "crazy busy", and on particularly brutal days, "insanely busy." Sound familiar?

The reality is that the term 'busy' has become a crutch. It's not that we're not busy, it's that the 'state of busyness' has morphed into something else. An automatic response, something we lean on without much thought.

If you work in a fast-paced role (or most any role these days), chances are you're busy. You have a variety of demands on your time, and find yourself constantly juggling deadlines and deliverables. This 'busy' mindset, used as a crutch, can be detrimental to your productivity and well-being.

    • "I'd really like to spend some time mentoring my team, but I'm so busy on this project I'll have to do it next week."
    • "That white paper looks like it would be really helpful in my _____ project, but I don't have the time to read it now so will get to it later."
    • "I was really planning on going to the gym/for a walk/eat with friends at lunch today, but I'm swamped so eating at Chateau Le Desk...again."

We've all been there. The truth is that 'busyness' is a self-fulfilling prophecy. While it's true we have a myriad of responsibilities and obligations, we close ourselves off when we allow busy to rule our day.

In our quests to master our given fields, climb the corporate ladder, and/or add value to our organizations - we've lost sight of what balance means. We wear our 'busy' like a badge of honor.

I'm guilty of this, but I'm beginning to realize it. It took some introspection to come to this conclusion. I'm working to make a conscious effort to let go of my 'busy' crutch. That won't mean lightening my workload, but it will mean finding new perspective - and letting go of my busy baggage.