We’ve made a decision: No more will we say that we’re “busy”.

The “Busyness Epidemic”

Have you noticed that every time you meet someone and ask how they are they respond with the same word: “Busy”

No matter if you’re working, home with the kids, just going on holidays or just back from holidays, it’s the same answer. 

“It’s so busy”

“I’m busy with work / school / kids …”

“I can’t – I’m busy”

At least we automatically use these phrases – do you? Don’t feel bad about it, the “busyness epidemic” is a bit like the seasonal flu – it’s highly contagious and most of us get affected by it sooner or later.

The question is – why do we do that? And what does “busy” even mean?

The dirty secret: “busy” doesn’t mean anything

Busy. It’s a simple word that can signal so many things. Most of the time we probably think it makes us sound somehow important, that our time and energy is needed by others. We have lots to do and we’re a bit stressed, but proudly so! 

Alternatively we don’t want to answer how we really feel, i.e., tired, stressed, worried, anxious. “Busy” is easy to hide behind. (or, what’s typical here in Finland – we don’t want to brag about how things are going so well for us so we downplay 😀 )

Instead, “busy” covers all of that. And at the same time it doesn’t say anything. You have lots of things to do? So does everyone else. 

From “Busy” to “Time Wise”

The past week we’ve been reading Chris Winfield’s blog and doing Carson Tate‘s YOU-playlist “Invest Your Time Wisely” and it’s really made us think. All of us are given 86,400 seconds every day – the same amount of time that Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie or Elon Musk had or has. It’s our responsibility to use that time well. We can either pack it full of things to make ourselves feel busy, OR we can spend that time more wisely – on work and errands, but also on taking care of ourselves, our loved ones, and on making time for play.

So our decision: No longer will we be “busy”, but we’ll try to do the right things in decent time and allocate enough time to ourselves too

Have you also fallen into the “busy” trap? Don’t worry! Recognizing it is the first step to climbing out! A few of the things we’re trying out thanks to Carson’s playlist:

  • “Working in vacation mode”, i.e. setting a deadline for the end of the work day. And sticking to it.
  • Batching similar tasks, like emails
  • Booking “focus” time when we don’t multitask with chat, email, calls or meetings, but focus on one task (some of us use Pomodoro, others Forest-app)
  • And the word “busy” is on the blacklist. We have to be able to explain how we are without it.

Bring on the most productive and happy 2016!

P.S. The featured picture? It’s taken at 2:45pm on a Tuesday. Because when you’re not busy you have time to lay down on the floor 🙂

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Are you also guilty of abusing the b-word? Write it in the comments below or reach out to us at [email protected].

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