I’ve Banned the Word Busy


For many years now I have being coaching people to ban the word Busy.  Why?  Being busy has become a badge of honour.  I am so busy at work.  I am so busy at home.  I am too busy to do this.  I am too busy to do that.  I often ask people to write their eulogies.  If you are lying on your death bed, will you look back and think “I am so pleased that I was too busy to spend time with my family?” Or will you think “I am so pleased that I was too busy to be healthy due to the pressures of work?” I hope not.

When I was getting my motorbike licence, the instructor gave me very wise advice. When riding, there is one key rule – “What you look at, you hit”. For example, if you see a rock on the road, guess what? You will hit that. The same principle can be applied to our lives.  If we focus on how busy were are, we will be busy all of the time.

I have banned the word and replaced it with Productive.  If I am not being productive or feeling productive, then I ask myself – “How can I feel productive (rather than busy)?”

I was recently coaching a young leader, and we worked through her workload with the Important vs Urgent model.  For everything that she had on she asked herself if it was:

Important and Urgent – Do – but in what timeframe?

Important and Not Urgent – Delegate – can you get someone to assist you with this?

Not Important and Urgent – Plan – schedule time in your diary in the next week to do this.

Not Important and Not Urgent – Eliminate – let the other person know that you won’t be doing this.



I suggested that, each Friday she creates a list of tasks/jobs/projects that she is thinking about and put them into one of the four quadrants.  This allows her to prioritise her following week and gives her peace of mind that she is being productive rather than busy. You should do the same.










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