June 18, 2009

Busy Is Not Our Friend

There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when you're busy interrupting.
Mark Twain

I was speaking with a colleague this week and we got to talking about the four-letter word that is used as a crutch, an excuse and the stance of a victim – busy.

Unless you are Barrack Obama, it’s safe to say that you’re only as busy as you need to be. If you work for a company and your name isn’t on the building, your work time is not yours to dictate. In that case, you are not busy you are being told how to spend your time.

If ants are such busy workers,
how come they find time to go to all the picnics?

Marie Dressler

It's moments after you read this post. You are outraged at how I could possibly make light of your very busy life and suddenly your phone rings. It’s me informing you that I have an extra all-expense paid trip to the British Grand Prix this weekend. The plane leaves in an hour. How busy are you now?

They usually have two tellers in my local bank,
except when it's very busy, when they have one.

Rita Rudner

This is not to suggest important tasks and deadlines don't exist. This is not to diminish hard toil and other commitments. This is to point out that we tend to use the word busy like it’s some rented storage unit in the industrial basin of our lives.

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
John Lennon

We never seem to have a shortage of busy. When we need it, it’s always there. Busy comes in all shapes and increments. It’s such a universally accepted word – or perhaps mind space – that we are able to pull it out of nowhere when needed.

Busy this weekend is a great way to avoid unwanted activities. Busy when that creepy guy in the office wants to have some one-on-one time.

Busy is a badge of honor. If you get a call or an email from someone asking if you can see them that afternoon, busy is the first word that comes to mind. You can’t possibly be available on such short notice, what will they think?

We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us
that we don't take time to enjoy where we are.

Calvin & Hobbes

Busy is not our friend; it is our crutch. Busy is the cure-all for when we are genuinely busy as well as when we want to keep up with the rest of the kids in the group.

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

We as a society give no credence to thought, dreaming or sitting quietly. There is no way your boss will allow you to just sit in your office and think. You are obviously lazy or you don’t know what to do.

About five years ago, a friend said that he would get much more out of his employees (not co-workers or colleagues that just happen to directly report to him) if they realized that customers were profit and they were overhead. He wondered why turnover was so high.

Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.
Lao Tzu

I know you’re busy – everyone is. But are you really busy, all the time, every time you say you are? Really? Did I mention I may have an extra pit pass to this weekend’s British Grand Prix? ;-)

knealemann at gmail dot com

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Photo credits: chucklefoot.co.uk | guardian.co.uk

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