On being “Busy”

I had the pleasure of attending an event last night put on by Millennial Networking Group with the lovely Tiffany from Duck and Dodo.

It was lovely to see so many young entrepreneurs in one place, meet new people, and here some people’s “why” stories, as well as their tips for the busy life we all seem to be living.

The first speaker was a real estate agent, Alana Wakeman, and her talk was amazing. She had some really great points about the language we use as business owners, and the impact that can have on people’s perceptions of us. I would like to paraphrase some of her thoughts and offer my take on it.

Alana referenced a meme she loves, that says “being an adult is easy, you just go around telling other adults how busy you are, and they tell you how busy they are”. It was funny, because that does seem to be what happens. A friend you haven’t seen in a while will ask how you are, and you reply “So busy! How about you?” and they will reply “OMG me too, soooo busy” and that’s the whole conversation.

What message does that send, and what would happen if we changed the language?

Friend: “I haven’t seen you in ages, how are you?”

You: “I am great, my business is growing, and I am doing a lot of exciting stuff! How are you?”

See how that immediately changes the feeling of the conversation from one of frustration to one of energy and happiness? Is this friend now more likely to refer you clients or business, because they see you have a passion for and are excited about your work, instead of bogged down and overwhelmed by it?

I had posted an article on my personal Facebook about a year or so ago about using being busy as an excuse, and how instead we should say “That is not a priority for me” that really struck a chord with me. It’s easy to put off life, friendships, etc because we are so “busy”, but what message does that send to the people who care about us. What does it do to our own sense of self? How many amazing opportunities are we missing out on by letting those relationships suffer, and those tasks go undone? Think about the difference in these two statements in the same situation:

Friend wants to make plans to have dinner, and your response is:

1) “Oh, I would love to, but I’m just soooo busy”

2) “I’m sorry that is not a priority for me right now”

You are essentially saying the same thing, and sending the same message, whether you think so or not.

Most of us forget that our businesses are built on relationships with people, and that our social life CAN be a big part of that. There is no reason to stop living your life, because you are trying to build a business. So, I say we change the language, change our mindsets, and find a way to prioritize the tasks and people that are most important in our lives and our businesses.

 

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