I'm So Busy!
When is the last time you said you were so busy? Maybe it was yesterday and maybe it was only 10 seconds ago. Have you ever stopped to think about how many times a week you tell others how busy you are? Have you ever wondered if there is a downside to your busyness? I am posing these questions because I recently had the unfortunate experience where my own ‘busyness’ cost me a contract. My prospective client had heard me say numerous times how busy I was and assumed I would not have time to handle her business. I was gutted!
Saying that we are busy just rolls off our tongues these days. People holding full time jobs work on average 44 hours per week and in some professions, it can be 60 hours or more. If you are an entrepreneur, you are probably working round the clock. All to say, it’s natural for people to talk about their full schedules. But being a broken record about how busy you are can have adverse consequences, or so I learned the hard way.
Rather than taking my licks and blindly forging ahead, I decided to take a deeper look into my work habits to avoid a repeat performance. I certainly learned a few valuable points. For example, when you tell people about the millions of things you have going on, you might be sending the message "Look at all my obligations and responsibilities. I am productive, industrious, accomplished and successful." By sharing with others that you're so busy, you inevitably place the focus on yourself. Doing so might be perceived as ignoring the needs of others.
Reflecting on all the times' people have asked how I am and I have responded with “I am super busy”, I realized I might be signaling that I was too busy to talk to them. Without meaning too, busy people can come off as a little self-centered and maybe even rude. Instead of telling people how hectic and hardworking you are, take the time to ask them questions. You can always make time to get to know people, create friendships and deepen relationships. Taking just those few extra minutes could help you land that client or contract.
When it comes right down to it, everyone is busy. Your full calendar doesn't make you extra special. So, don't go around saying "I'm busier than you" or comparing your schedule to others. If you're trying to stand out as an entrepreneur and in your business career, you're not going to separate yourself from your competitors by telling everyone how busy you are. Instead of being a badge of honour, your busyness may send the signal to your potential customers and colleagues that you aren't working smart.
Another part of my analysis was how I could be more efficient with my work and achieve a better work-life balance. You know, the balance we all talk about but never actually do anything about. Because we are so busy! At the end of the day, workaholics aren't heroes. They don't save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is home because he or she figured out a faster and better way.
The moral of my story is that when people think you're too busy, they won't present you with opportunities. You want people thinking of you when a truly amazing opportunity emerges. It's up to you to let people know that you will make time for them. The next time someone asks how you are, try responding with “I am great and I'm always interested in new opportunities”. Such a response could spark a deeper conversation that could lead to more and better prospects.