I wish I could eliminate the word busy. It is worn as a badge of honor, used to imply importance or seek sympathy when it needs to be deleted from vocabularies everywhere because it masks the truth.
I hear it all the time when I ask how are you, how was your day, how were your holidays.
"Oh really busy"
"I've never been busier!"
It is commonly used when interrupting someone. You ask, "are you busy" when you need to say, "do you have time for a quick question on...."
It is often used as an excuse "I was too busy to get to...." when you need to say, "I prioritized other tasks, or I completely forgot"
It is used as a mask for inefficiency or unproductive behavior. "I have been too busy to prepare for the board meeting until now" or "I'm too busy to plan for next year, I have too many emails and immediate issues to fix" when you really need to understand why you aren't prioritizing the right work or delivering against what you committed to.
When executives I work with tell me they are too busy we look at their time, energy, and resources, and check how Thoughtfully Ruthless® they are.
- One busy CEO at a rapidly growing technology company busy-ness was a result of unnecessary drama within his executive team, once we eliminated it, he now has more time to proactively work on building his business.
- Another newly appointed CEO realized they had to change out several executives and board members if they were to hit the customer and sales expectations for the year. Instead of stalling or wallowing in busy-ness, we focused on a fast transition and galvanizing the new team.
- Another executive had to deliver new products that would support the companies triple-digit growth. The busy-ness was an endless search for perfection which was slowing down new products on shelves. We changed the development cycle to factor in speed and quality which brought products to market faster.
Wasted time on decisions, over-committing your kids to endless extra activities, spending time with friends who you would rather not be with, inefficient use of your board, failing to prioritize what matters, and the wrong team around you all contribute to your busy-ness.
But here is what many people fail to realize:
It is within your control far more than you think.
You are the number one reason you are busy. Where can you create more hours right now?
Take back control of your life, and please, never use the word busy again.
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