The business of busy


A few people have been sharing this interesting piece on busyness, which is worth reading.

I confess, I often respond to inquires of my well-being with ‘pretty busy’, and it’s true, that I have a lot to do, often. The Spielzeit tends to regularly pile unexpected pressures on, but I did appreciate the challenge about ‘busy’ become a stock answer.

My wife and I began noticing that everybody in our circle of influence, including ourselves, responded to virtually any question with “busy.” Normal questions? busy. Normal life? busy. It was evident that the new normal was a declaration of busy.  It became the new mantra for living in the 21st century.  ‘I am busy.  Hear me roar!’

The writer shares about a challenge, which I’m going to at least think about, if not try and follow for a while:

We decided to never use the phrase BUSY as an answer for an entire year and to see if there were any changes in attitude and/or behaviour. Ours. Theirs.

We noticed alright.  Instantly.

We were forced to describe our own situations with more clarity, and without our best friend ‘busy’ to blame, we engaged with people more authentically. As we did, we noticed the general depth of conversations increase as we and those we were sharing with, were invited to communicate differently about our actual states of being.


I resolved not to make any New Year’s resolutions, but instead think about prioritising certain things, certain activities and certain values. In many ways, the idea of feeling ‘busy’ in a negative sense (as opposed to a productive sense) has to do with priorities, at least, in my context. Perhaps naming those things which are keeping me ‘busy’ will help be more productive while still maintaining balance, and rest, and doing things which I value, but aren’t necessarily obliged to do.

What about you? Do you relate to the article?

2 responses to “The business of busy”

  1. Murray Wright says:

    Thanks Andrew – your post reminded me of another related stock answer we use. We say, ‘I didn’t have time for …’. What we really mean is, ‘I didn’t make that a priority.’

    So, for example, ‘I don’t have time to catch up’ really means that catching up is not a priority for me at the moment compared to other things at the moment.

    Or more tellingly for me, not spending time with God is all about priorities and tells me about what really matters!

What do you think?