“Sorry, I can’t get to that right now, I’m too busy.”
“I’d love to, but it’s just been crazy busy here lately.”
“I’ve never been busier in my life.”
Busy. It’s perhaps one of the most used words in the English language. Probably in any language.
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Busy. Ocupado. Occupe. Occupato. Occupatus. Beschaftigt. Uptagen. Busy.
Busy is like personality. We all have one and we all think we are the most -- the most busy that is.
I find that busy is a relative term -- we all think we are busy and we all think we are the busiest ever. Busier than ever. Busier beyond what we ever thought imaginable. Admit it, right now you are thinking about how busy you are. I know I am.
Related: How to Prioritize Your Priorities
But the truth is that busy is in the eyes of the beholder.
I think I’m the busiest person alive, but then again so do you. My parents think they’re busy, my kids think they’re busy and so do all of my colleagues and clients. And you know what, we are all right. We are all busy, based on our own definition of being busy.
For me, though, I’ve come to realize that busy is really about priorities. Busy is about setting priorities about what you want to get done, and what you absolutely have to get done. Ever notice that no matter how busy you are, you can always squeeze in something else if it’s important, urgent, or mandatory? You can always squeeze in one more thing, despite being the busiest ever.
I hear people say all the time that they’re too busy to exercise. I for one go to the gym every morning at 5:30 and I think I’m pretty busy. But I squeeze it in because it’s a priority for me. Writing blog posts is a priority for me, no matter how busy I am. When my (now adult) kids need me, suddenly I’m not so busy. They are a priority so I free myself up.
Being busy isn’t just about setting priorities, though, it’s also about productivity. Ever notice that you get the most done when you are in fact the busiest? When you’re on a roll, you get more done. When you finally find some time to relax, it’s hard to kick into gear and do anything at that point.
As my father always says, “if you need something done, give it to someone who’s busy.”
When we are busy we kick into high gear. We multi-task. We simplify. We check things off our to-do list. Remember the principle from physics -- an object in motion tends to stay in motion?
That’s called being busy.
So the next time you find yourself about to use the word “busy,” stop yourself. Instead say that you are setting priorities and that you are trying to be as productive as possible
Busy is as busy does, after all.