When did busyness become a competition?
Am I the only who has to fight the impulse to share my to-do list with a friend or a colleague when she is sharing her litany of things that she needs to do? While some of my overwhelmed state has been forced upon me (being down two people on a team of nine was no picnic this spring), much of it is self-inflicted (no one forced me to start blogging or volunteer for another school committee). And rather than reduce the number of things that I need to do, I seem to have this perverse need for people to understand just how much of a burden my to-do list is. They must understand that I am busier than they are!
So what am I trying to win?
Our almost-three-year-old son is a big fan of asking everyone at dinner time how their day was. “Mommy! How was your day? Daddy! How was your day? Avery! How was your day!” But last week, when I asked, “Hey buddy, how was your day?” He pursed his lips together, cocked his head to the side and responded, “Ummm, BUSY!” We all burst out laughing because it’s such a funny response from a toddler, but then I realized that he was mimicking ME! My inclination to inform everyone about just how busy I am has become so innate that I hadn’t even noticed that I was doing it!
But here’s the thing, we’re all busy, right? As a working mom, I’m trying to balance a minimum of 40 hours at work with grocery shopping, house cleaning, bedtime stories, bath-time, sports, teacher appreciation week, etc. But what about my colleague who informed me yesterday that she is planning events for the Board of Trustees, a building dedication and two events for me all in the same week in November (right after she gets married)? Yeah, she’s busy. What about my neighbor whose husband and kids went on a camping trip last weekend and she spent the entire time they were away working on a project for her corporation? She’s pretty busy too! My daughter’s gymnastics coach who is a full-time special education teacher with three part-time jobs? You guessed it! BUSY! My busy might look different from someone else’s busy, but we’ve all got a lot going on.
I read a recent post on LinkedIn called “Stop saying you’re ‘so busy!'” It referenced an article from CNBC that highlighted three negative consequences of constantly announcing how busy you are to the world:
- It sounds like you’re bragging and puts people off at work and in your social life
- It signals a possible failure to balance your life or manage your time
- People might automatically assume that you wouldn’t be interested in a professional opportunity or fun event.
So that’s it – I’m done telling everyone that I’m so busy! Who’s with me? Let’s practice!
“How was your day?”
“My day was GOOD!”