Written by Anthony Demangone
The world is busy. We're all so busy. Ask anyone how their day is, and you'll often get the following response:
My hair is on fire! Or, I'm slammed.
An article I read last week (Harvard Business Review) makes a counter-intuitive point in this "I'm so busy" world. Please, please, please...stop telling everyone how busy you are.
So much of this is about out-doing each other. To say that "I'm busier than you are" means I'm more important, or that my time is more valuable, or that I am "winning" at some never-finished rat race to Inbox Zero. (Inbox Zero is another absurd contest to tackle at another time.) What you're trying to say with these responses is: I'm busier, more in-demand, more successful.
Here's the thing: it's harming how we communicate, connect, and interact. Everyone is busy, in different sorts of ways. Maybe you have lots of clients, or are starting a new business, or are taking care of a newborn. The point is this: with limited time and unlimited demands on that time, it's easy to fill your plate with activities constantly. But this doesn't mean that you should.
To assume that being "busy" (at this point it has totally lost its meaning) is cool, or brag-worthy, or tweetable, is ridiculous. By lobbing these brags, endlessly puffing our shoulders about how "up to my neck" we are, we're missing out on important connections with family and friends, as well as personal time. In addition to having entire conversations about how busy we are, we fail to share feelings with friends and family, ask about important matters, and realize that the "busy" is something that can be put on hold for a little while.
I am not trying to belittle anyone's work-load in the slightest. But in using it as a one-upping mechanism, we're failing to connect in a very substantial way. And we're making the problem worse: When everyone around us is "slammed," it's easy to feel guilty if we're not slaving away on a never-ending treadmill of toil. By trying to compete about it, we're only adding to that pool of water everyone seems to be constantly "treading" in. And all this complaining is having serious effects on our mental health. (Emphasis added.)
I'm guilty of this. A lot. It never occurred to me that by telling people how busy I am, I might be creating a culture where people are expected to run around with their hair on fire.
Food for thought.
Have a great week, guys. I'll be at NAFCU's Congressional Caucus with a ton of NAFCU members. We'll be hitting the Hill to tell the credit union story. Hopefully, you can join us next year!