One of my least favorite words is “busy.”
The word is a negative.
Yet, somewhere along the line we began thinking that using the word “busy” makes us sounds important; it’s become a status symbol.
The reality is, when we say we are too busy, we are telling people we lack discipline. What we are also conveying to people is, “you’re not a priority at all” or “I’m too important to have the free time you do.”
As much as I hate the word, I’ve developed a terrible habit of using it. There are times when I don’t want an in-depth conversation about everything happening, so I say I’m busy. There, conversation over. Which quite honestly is very rude of me.
There are articles galore on reasons why we shouldn’t use the word. The Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post, BBC, all present great arguments against “busy”. Their summation in a nutshell:
- “Busy” disconnects you from people you love and from being present in the moment.
- “Busy” is often a cover-up of the truth.
- “Busy” is quite honestly a choice you’ve made, therefore no empathy is needed.
- “Busy” doesn’t put you in line for that promotion.
So, if we can’t say we’re “busy”, what should we say?
Well, first, we must change our mindsets and take “busy” off the pedestal of significance.
Second, if you truly are busy, and therefore not able to do something, then be honest with exactly what you are doing.
Lastly, since busy is not a feeling, be specific. Tell people you are overwhelmed. Be vulnerable and sincere. This will get you farther than using the word busy.
I know not everyone iterates that they are “busy” is weighing their words with such exacting care. “I’m busy” has adapted into our everyday language like “I’m hungry”, or “I’m tired.” But that doesn’t change any of the above.
Think about it, would you promote someone who says they are always busy? Would you call a friend who constantly told you they were busy?
We should all challenge ourselves to stop or at least reduce the use of the word.