Busy Badge

Whenever I ask people how they’re doing, almost every time I hear: “I AM BUSY!”. So much pride comes with this reply. They wear “busy” badge of honor. There must be some sort of competition where people compete for being “the busiest person” in a team, department, company, family… What if we switch the word “busy” to “important”? The response to a simple question of “How are you doing?” brings a totally new meaning. Now it is a genuine response. “I am so important today!”.

Being busy is more then often mistakenly perceived as being productive. Let me be straight – being busy is not cool, it’s lame. I don’t care how busy you are, I care how productive you are. You can keep yourself busy doing absolutely anything, but does it get you anywhere? Seems to me that you just rewvving your engine in neutral.

Great leader is the one who creates the processes and workflows, but not the one who is running like chicken with his head chopped off. A Leader does not spend the energy and his limited time putting down the fires every single day. Delighted, trained and trusted people do it for him. If you ever tell me you’re too busy – all I will respond that you are disorganized. “Busy badge” on your forehead is a great indicator of a person with poor organization and management skills. Tell me you’re overwhelmed with tasks – I tell you suck at planning and prioritizing. That’s totally fine being constantly busy, as you call it, but realize that you like it. You like being busy, you like being distracted, you want to feel needed, you need to feel IMPORTANT. However, realize that if you strive for improvement and want to be productive, the “Busy Badge” will not help you.

I feel disappointment when I see wrong people being put in charge of others. Forever busy leader – a manager, translates his/hers hectic way of doing things onto his team. Everything’s urgent and everything’s on fire! No time to think, just run. Where, why?! There is no structure in such departments that are led by “busy” ones, everything is a chaos. However, most of the times people just follow this way of working, because they realize:

  1. Expressing disagreement about how to do things more efficient, can put them under the risk of being replaced with the one who keeps his mouth shut;
  2. Being asked to propose better solutions, and realizing how much of the work needs to be done to improve things;

“Business” does not simply happen, it’s a choice. Moreover it’s a lifestyle that most people consciously choose. If they’re not busy – they feel uncomfortable. Calmness and stillness is a torture for those who used to wear the “Busy Badge” for years. It hurts to stay with yourself, without being busy.

Stop micromanaging. Stop being a day-to-day, moment -by-moment manager. Be a leader. Train others, outsource, leverage other people to do your low level stuff. If you can’t do that – you reached your level of success. Eliminate the word “busy” from your vocabulary. Every time you say you are busy, remind yourself that all you’re saying is “I am important. People need me. That is why I am busy”. Stop running around like a squirrel with a head chopped off. Being busy is not cool. Being productive is!