The last time you asked a young professional (YP) how they were doing you were probably met with the same response.
“I’m so busy.”
Whereas the go-to answer used to be “I’m fine,” or “I’m good,” “I’m busy” has become the modern reflex. And yes, I am an utter and complete culprit of the default “busy” default response (or at least I was until this week).
But a video that recently resurfaced on my newsfeed offered some much needed perspective.
Sure, many of us do in fact need a few (or many) more hours in the day to tackle everything on our growing to-do list. Most of us lead jam-packed lives that can be a challenge to balance at times. As a result, we see some friends less and have to pick and choose between activities and engagements. But fellow YPs understand things like broken plans, delayed text responses, and booking time months in advance.
Here’s the newsflash: everyone’s busy. You’re not unique. Being busy isn’t always cool, and telling people how busy you are repeatedly definitely isn’t cool.
So, it’s time to stop saying it.
Being “so busy” either makes you sound like an arrogant asshole, or like you can’t manage your time. It can also mean “goodbye,” or “I don’t care.” Or, if you bump into a friend you haven’t seen in a while, it’s also used as an excuse for being M.I.A.
As the video asks, why is “busy” better than “fine?” Along those lines, why is the first thing we ask people usually about work? Or, when we ask them how they’re doing, why do they assume it’s about work? As it highlights, we need to focus on “being” instead of “doing.” At a time of increased mental health awareness, it’s time we start vocalizing our feelings instead of sweeping them under the rug with the crutch of “I’m busy” and a focus on our doings.
Before you go humble-bragging or self-validating yourself with how “busy” your are, keep in mind that it’s a much bigger challenge to make yourself less busy and be able to live and be present in the moment. Not to mention, just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re productive. Frankly, we’re giving “busy” more credit than it deserves.
I’m not suggesting that you downplay your achievements or quit that charity board that’s eating up your time. It’s more so about a shift in dialogue than it is a change in lifestyle. If someone asks you how you are, narrow in on specifics, like how your family is doing, how proud you are of the current projects you have on the go, or how you’re actually feeling,
We’re smart people; we can all do better with responses than the default B-word. Make it a personal challenge to stop saying it. I am.
If you need some inspiration, check this out: