Leaders Rise Above “Crazy Busy”

Everyone is busy, right?

“Busy” is a common notion – so common that saying

“We’re keeping busy” is similar to “The sky is still blue.”

It’s like it goes without saying. Oh, but it’s still quite loaded. Depending on the context, “busy” means many things:

If I am busy, then I’m

a good husband/father

But if you are busy, then I might be implying you’re

too busy for your spouse/kids
neglectful of what’s really important

Or, I might be trying to get out of things: “I’d love to, but we’re so busy right now.”

My favorite: people who know that “busy” is only an equalizer, and not a differentiator, and head toward the new phrase:

CRAZY busy

“Oh, yeah, we would, but we’re just CRAZY busy right now.”

Come on. The word is loaded. Let’s stop using it.

Never mind how someone from 2 generations ago would have quite a laugh at our current definition of busy.

I know a leader who purged the word from her vocabulary. She does a couple things:

-Ensures that she is generally doing what’s needed for herself, her work, and her family, staying involved, but without over-committing.

Never says “busy.” Never asks anyone if they are “busy.” Never responds “yes” when asked if she is busy. Instead, she says things like
“Well, it’s a heavy schedule this week, but it’s never like that for long.”
“Actually, no. Things are in balance right now.”
“Hm, haven’t thought of it like that – we’ve got a few things going on, but all stuff we want to do.”

She says the discipline of removing the word, and refusing to live in a way that cries out for the word, has created more mindfulness, peace, and “enjoying the moment.”

Though, if you were to see her calendar, you’d think “Wow. She is CRAZY busy.” But she rarely seems harried.

Give it a shot – stop saying, and responding to, “busy” for a few weeks and see what happens.

6 Responses

  1. jayson gerth
    | Reply

    Thanks for this reminder, Alan — especially this time of year.

    Oh, and I’m never “too busy” to read your thoughts. Keep them coming, my friend!

  2. Teresa
    | Reply

    This was a very timely article and one that hit the spot for me. I am going to take the challenge of removing Busy from my vocabulary and see how it goes!


    • Alan Feirer
      | Reply

      Cool, Teresa – let me know how it goes! 🙂

  3. Jon Barrett
    | Reply

    Alan, I really appreciated hearing this. My wife and I have always been “busy” people: getting involved and doing “whatever it takes.” There have been mentors that explained to us to work smarter, not longer. Or “cut the job in half”. I will try to remove the word “busy” from my vocab. Everything I choose to take up my time is simply that: a choice. Until my ceiling starts leaking again…that is not my choice and I’m just too…

    • Alan Feirer
      | Reply

      Thanks for this, Jon. I’ll keep an eye on you!

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