Bragging About Being Too Busy

Do you know someone who is always telling you how busy they are?

They have too much to do. They have too many meetings.

Maybe they are really busy. Maybe they are working longer hours than others.

But, does all this busyness translate to productivity?

Or it is a smoke screen, covering up disorganization or inadequate performance?

I’m So Busy!

When did bragging about being too busy become a badge of honor?

I have too much to do.

I don’t have enough time.

I’m so busy.

These are common refrains from those who are working long hours and are usually running from one thing to the next.

However, are these statements the results of hard work, or rather the symptoms of disorganization?

“If you are working 80 hours a week are you really managing your time?

Or are you just ineffective at what you do?”

I challenge those that are working long extended hours to take a hard look at what they are truly accomplishing.

Often, these people are merely “spinning their wheels.”

They are guilty of self-inflicted time management.

They bring much of their strife upon themselves, and have more life friction than others.

Maybe You Are Too Busy

Hmm, maybe you are too busy.

What you need to ask is, “Why you are so busy?”

Here are some of the main reasons that many people are too busy:

  • Inadequate Planning – Many don’t plan. Instead, they brute force their way through their daily activities. This inevitably results in worker harder rather than smarter.
  • Don’t Know Their Load – Others don’t realize just how many commitments they are carrying. Do you know all of your obligations? I recommend making an obligation list.
  • Doing Things They Shouldn’t Be Doing – Are you wasting time on things you shouldn’t be doing in the first place? (Hint: here are “10 Things to Stop Doing Now… to Get More Done.”)
  • Not Delegating – Some try to do everything themselves. Or worse, are doing other people’s jobs, in addition to their own. Do you trust teammates to get things done?
  • Stuck on their Tech Leash – Some let their technology run them instead of the other way around. Don’t let your technology leash run your life.
  • Self Created Problems – Many people are guilty of creating their own life problems. Self-induced crises and tasks left undone create more work.
  • Complaining – Complaining is really just procrastination in disguise. Complaining doesn’t get work done, it just wastes time. Do you spend more time complaining about the job rather than doing it?

How Busy Are You Really?

The next time that you (or someone else) says that they are too busy… ask, “Why?

Often, it is not about not having enough time, but how we are using it.

We all have the same amount of time.

Let’s just be smarter about how we spend it.

Do you know someone who brags about being too busy?

No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.lifeofasteward.com/ Loren Pinilis

    This is one thing that aggravates me so much sometimes. We tend to define our value by how busy we are. So we brag about being busy and we make ourselves busy just to brag about it. We speak of busyness like a burden, but we wear it like a badge of honor.

    • TMNinja

      @Loren Pinilis Even more worriesome is that many companies mistake busyness for productivity.

      It is scary when employees are rewarded for “activity” instead of results.

  • Loren Pinilis

    This is one thing that aggravates me so much sometimes. We tend to define our value by how busy we are. So we brag about being busy and we make ourselves busy just to brag about it. We speak of busyness like a burden, but we wear it like a badge of honor.

  • Shanna Mann

    I know. It’s one of those negativity black holes I occasionally find myself being sucked into, like if I admit I have free time I’m some kind of a slacker. But admitting to being chronically overextended should be like admitting to alcoholism — “I have a problem, and I need help”

    • TMNinja

      @Shanna Mann Shanna, I like your thought here. :)

      I find it even more worrisome when people not only don’t think it is a problem, but are proud of their hectic lifestyle.

  • Shanna Mann

    I know. It’s one of those negativity black holes I occasionally find myself being sucked into, like if I admit I have free time I’m some kind of a slacker. But admitting to being chronically overextended should be like admitting to alcoholism — “I have a problem, and I need help”

  • http://www.TheTimeDiet.org/ TheTimeDiet

    This problem starts as early as high school and college! Kids are told directly and indirectly that the “busiest” students are the smartest students. Sadly, “busy” doesn’t equate with “productive!”

    • TMNinja

      @TheTimeDiet Agreed. And yes, the perception starts young in our society. :)

  • TMNinja

    @Shanna Mann Shanna, I like your thought here. :)

    I find it even more worrisome when people not only don’t think it is a problem, but are proud of their hectic lifestyle.

  • TMNinja

    @Loren Pinilis Even more worriesome is that many companies mistake busyness for productivity.

    It is scary when employees are rewarded for “activity” instead of results.

  • TheTimeDiet

    This problem starts as early as high school and college! Kids are told directly and indirectly that the “busiest” students are the smartest students. Sadly, “busy” doesn’t equate with “productive!”

  • http://annedreshfield.com/ annedreshfield

    Hi Craig, once again, a fantastic post. Like @TheTimeDiet, I heard over and over that being the busiest student made you the most successful. I’m not if that’s true or not (seemed to be successful for me, at least in the transition from high school to college), but it certainly didn’t lead to me being a happy teenager in high school. In fact, I was miserable for the better part of two years. Now that I’m in college I enjoy filling my schedule with things I actually want to do, but overbooking is, of course, still a danger. I’m going to try out some of the lists you’ve suggested and see if it’s healthy/productive. Thanks!

    • TMNinja

      @annedreshfield @TheTimeDiet Thanks, Anne.

      I think there is a difference between “overbooking” and simply being disorganized. And it can be easy to confuse the two. :) Best wishes!

  • http://annedreshfield.com/ annedreshfield

    Hi Craig, once again, a fantastic post. Like @TheTimeDiet, I heard over and over that being the busiest student made you the most successful. I’m not if that’s true or not (seemed to be successful for me, at least in the transition from high school to college), but it certainly didn’t lead to me being a happy teenager in high school. In fact, I was miserable for the better part of two years. Now that I’m in college I enjoy filling my schedule with things I actually want to do, but overbooking is, of course, still a danger. I’m going to try out some of the lists you’ve suggested and see if it’s healthy/productive. Thanks!

  • thekla_richter

    Not only are there some companies that reward people more for hours worked than productive work accomplished, there are also workplace that assume people must be stressed and busy if they are working at full capacity. Complaining about being frantic, stressed-out and “too busy” (regardless of hours worked) can often be a defense mechanism (however dysfunctional) against ACTUALLY being given too much work to do. I think it’s hard to separate this pose from its social ecosystem sometimes…

    • TMNinja

      @thekla_richter Love this thought. Could be a topic for another article.

      Too many companies confuse “busy” with “productive.” This becomes dangerous when employees are rewarded for being busy instead of producing valuable work. I have seen many a company promote those who are disorganized and busy, instead of those actually doing the important work.

  • thekla_richter

    Not only are there some companies that reward people more for hours worked than productive work accomplished, there are also workplace that assume people must be stressed and busy if they are working at full capacity. Complaining about being frantic, stressed-out and “too busy” (regardless of hours worked) can often be a defense mechanism (however dysfunctional) against ACTUALLY being given too much work to do. I think it’s hard to separate this pose from its social ecosystem sometimes…

  • http://www.probloggingsuccess.com/ Jane | Problogging Success

    Haha… OK I’m busy and I hope I don’t fall into the bragging category. I am organized, trained myself as much as I can with tech stuff. But I create problems myself and get lost. When this happens I am usually extremely busy for a couple of days LOL.

  • http://www.findallanswers.com/ janesheeba

    Haha… OK I’m busy and I hope I don’t fall into the bragging category. I am organized, trained myself as much as I can with tech stuff. But I create problems myself and get lost. When this happens I am usually extremely busy for a couple of days LOL.

  • http://www.decaffeinatedtalk.com/ decafftalk

    When I was at university I used to brag a lot about being busy, even when I was really just mismanaging my time. I think for a lot of places its all about that badge of honour trying to earn respect. Planning how I was going to use my time was the way I saved myself from oblivion.

    • TMNinja

      @decafftalk Agreed.

      What scares me is when companies confuse that “busy badge of honor” as productivity. :)

  • decafftalk

    When I was at university I used to brag a lot about being busy, even when I was really just mismanaging my time. I think for a lot of places its all about that badge of honour trying to earn respect. Planning how I was going to use my time was the way I saved myself from oblivion.

  • http://www.timokiander.com/ timokiander

    Craig,

    I feel that when people say they are busy, it means they haven’t really planned their days/weeks/months in advance.

    Once you learn to stop and think for a while (-> plan), you can handle your busyness.

    Busy people are afraid to do that, because they would feel they’ll have too much catching up to do if they would stop for a minute.

    Timo

    • TMNinja

      @timokiander Timo, I agree. When I see someone who is working day and night and is so busy they cannot keep up… it is usually due to a lack of organization or lack of planning. :)

    • http://mycollegesandcareers.com/ mycolleges

      @timokiander That’s a great point, Timo. People may also be taking on too much by not being able to say “no” to things that aren’t aligned with their goals. -Sarah

  • http://www.timokiander.com/ timokiander

    Craig,

    I feel that when people say they are busy, it means they haven’t really planned their days/weeks/months in advance.

    Once you learn to stop and think for a while (-> plan), you can handle your busyness.

    Busy people are afraid to do that, because they would feel they’ll have too much catching up to do if they would stop for a minute.

    Timo

  • TMNinja

    @timokiander Timo, I agree. When I see someone who is working day and night and is so busy they cannot keep up… it is usually due to a lack of organization or lack of planning. :)

  • TMNinja

    @decafftalk Agreed.

    What scares me is when companies confuse that “busy badge of honor” as productivity. :)

  • TMNinja

    @thekla_richter Love this thought. Could be a topic for another article.

    Too many companies confuse “busy” with “productive.” This becomes dangerous when employees are rewarded for being busy instead of producing valuable work. I have seen many a company promote those who are disorganized and busy, instead of those actually doing the important work.

  • TMNinja

    @annedreshfield @TheTimeDiet Thanks, Anne.

    I think there is a difference between “overbooking” and simply being disorganized. And it can be easy to confuse the two. :) Best wishes!

  • TMNinja

    @TheTimeDiet Agreed. And yes, the perception starts young in our society. :)

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  • mycolleges

    @timokiander That’s a great point, Timo. People may also be taking on too much by not being able to say “no” to things that aren’t aligned with their goals. -Sarah

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  • SJ

    I realize I’m late in commenting but I just discovered this and I love it. I feel vindicated just reading it. I am on a team of 5 people at work and the “chairperson” (apparently self-elected chairperson because no one else knew he was the chairperson) misses meetings half the time, shows up late (I’m talking 30 minutes late) when he does come, brings nothing to to the table, and incessantly talks about how busy he is. I personally think that it’s a “one-up” thing for him. He thinks because he’s so busy he doesn’t have time to trifle with team matters. Last time he bragged about being so busy, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “We’re ALL busy so we don’t need to hear that anymore.” Harsh? Maybe. Effective? Yes.

  • SJ

    I realize I’m late in commenting but I just discovered this and I love it. I feel vindicated just reading it. I am on a team of 5 people at work and the “chairperson” (apparently self-elected chairperson because no one else knew he was the chairperson) misses meetings half the time, shows up late (I’m talking 30 minutes late) when he does come, brings nothing to to the table, and incessantly talks about how busy he is. I personally think that it’s a “one-up” thing for him. He thinks because he’s so busy he doesn’t have time to trifle with team matters. Last time he bragged about being so busy, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “We’re ALL busy so we don’t need to hear that anymore.” Harsh? Maybe. Effective? Yes.

  • SJ

    I realize I’m late in commenting but I just discovered this and I love it. I feel vindicated just reading it. I am on a team of 5 people at work and the “chairperson” (apparently self-elected chairperson because no one else knew he was the chairperson) misses meetings half the time, shows up late (I’m talking 30 minutes late) when he does come, brings nothing to to the table, and incessantly talks about how busy he is. I personally think that it’s a “one-up” thing for him. He thinks because he’s so busy he doesn’t have time to trifle with team matters. Last time he bragged about being so busy, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “We’re ALL busy so we don’t need to hear that anymore.” Harsh? Maybe. Effective? Yes.

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