“Busy. Sooo busy. I’m just so busy.” You hear it everywhere and we say it to everyone. It’s more viral than Covid. We might not mean to, but participating in busyness culture makes others feel less important and that they should work harder. It causes burnout, as we all struggle to be busier than everyone else.
What we’re really saying is that we’re more important. Trying to out-busy each other. But doing so is a little like punching yourself in the face and then saying: “I can punch myself in the face harder. Watch!”
The problem with the culture of busyness is that it perpetuates the belief that we need to be busy. It forces us to associate ‘busy’ with importance – but they are two different concepts. While it’s easy to be busy, it’s harder to make a difference. And in fact, when we are stressed – another way to describe being ‘busy’ – our work isn’t as good.
Stop the busyness disease spreading with these four little doses:
- Recognise it. Your self-esteem does not need to be led by your importance. You are good at what you do. Know it. Accept it.
- Ask yourself: why are you on the payroll? Sometimes it can be hard to answer. It’s usually not a long list of stuff. It is a few things that you do that make a real difference to the ultimate company bottom line. Identify them.
- Stop the four-minute badger. Many people keep themselves busy by being in their inbox. With 121 emails being received each day, that’s one every four minutes. Imagine driving and a badger runs out in front of the car every four minutes. That’s how much your concentration is affected each time you receive an email notification. Turn them off, or at least restrict them to the VIPs.
- Be a leader. Working in a corporate business many years ago, my boss used to head home at 5pm. The rest of us worked most evenings until 6.30pm. He used to say to me: “It’s a financial contract with the company. You get paid to do a job. Get it done in the time agreed.” He always frustrated me with those words. Only many years later did I get what he meant. He was talking about busyness. Was I really productive 12 hours per day? No. He was right. Git!
Let’s get past busyness.