‘Busy?’ is the wrong question

Beyond my Ken
November 26, 2014
Triathlon tales
May 11, 2015

‘Busy?’ is the wrong question

“How are you, then? Busy?”

I get asked this most days…and I bet you do, too. You’ll also be familiar with the stock response – agreement, accompanied with vigorous nodding, maybe blowing out your cheeks a bit to indicate that it’s all happening, but that, somehow, you’re managing to ride out the storm. Sounds familiar?

So, last time the question came, I suppressed the urge to reply in the standard way: instead, I decided to be more truthful. I simply said that I

No, not busy: engaged

was enjoying the interesting, challenging work that was coming my way, and that the workflow was about right. This non-plussed my colleague, who eyed me suspiciously over the rim of his coffee cup, before slinking away to find someone more sensible to finish his coffee with.

The thing is, being busy isn’t my objective, nor is it a measure of my success. Being engaged, yes; being challenged, absolutely; having fun with it – you bet. But being busy – with the inference it has (for me, anyway) of processing stuff, nose to the grind-stone – no thanks. There’s no scope for creative thinking in that space. When I feel that happening, I try to put the work to one side for a while, and work out how to be more effective.

Don’t misunderstand me: I still have to get the spade out and dig. There is no escaping the quick reaction and substance of what’s expected of me as a service provider. It’s just that instead of relentlessly ploughing through a To Do list, I constantly evaluate how to achieve things differently, better, more easily – for me and the businesses I support..