Finding a new word to replace the word “busy”

Challenge you to find a new word to replace the word “busy”

“I am sooooo busy…………”

When I ask 9 out of 10 people “how are you doing?”  Most will reply with the word or phrase “I am busy.”  Many people are defined as “busy” regardless of their workload or how each of us defines what it means to be busy.  For some, it is just getting out of bed for the day makes them “busy” while others, work two jobs to make ends meet and they too use the word “busy”.  My challenge for you, to find a new word to replace the word “busy”.

We all have people, co-workers, friends, etc., who find themselves talking or trying to trump who is busier than others.  This is done by monopolizing conversation about how “busy” they are and then walking away.  Again, many define what it means to be busy in many ways.  That is not the point of this blog, but what I want to encourage you to do, is to mediate, encourage, support, or reduce engagement in those conversations.  Those who verbalize or speak consistently of being “busy”, tend to be stressed or have anxiety about their workload (regardless of the size or emotional heaviness of their work).  Being able to share with others, is a coping and/or venting opportunity however, at the expense of other person’s time, patience, and for many, frustration.

This one-sided conversation is not ok, and it is frustrating when people vent and walk away no matter the conversation.  Not talking to share or listen, or turn the conversation to hear your words, stress, anxiety, workload, etc. That is where frustration lies.  A few aspects of being “busy” that I have learned over the years and also in light of COVID:

  • I know who is going to vent about how “busy” they are, and who is not. I mentally prepare for the fact that if talking to others who are focus on their own work and no one else’s, I already know this is coming and try to listen with an encouraging ear and I know they will not ask me about my work, career, family, etc. I limit by contact with them with grace so I can be mentally prepared for the one-sided conversation.
  • This is a coping mechanism for many. This is their way of dealing with stress and anxiety.  They want to talk, share, etc.  The conversation, for many, is one-sided.  Again, I encourage you to listen with an empathetic ear.  No one else might be listening to them, you might be the only one.
  • Find a new word. Change your conversation. Don’t start with “how are you doing?”  Try a new conversation starter.  When someone ask how you are doing, try to answer with a word other than busy and/or I encourage you to try to carry a conversations about your work/career/family, etc. that does not use the word busy.
  • Know that everyone’s understanding of “busy” and “work” are very different. I know one task for the day throws many into a stressful, busy day while others complete 10 or more task day and balance families, work, community service, responsibilities at home, etc.  However, we are not going to show kindness, compassion, or empathy for anyone if we spend time judging who is busy and who is not.
  • If you find yourself focusing on how busy you are, or leave a conversation where you vented and have no clue what the other person said, you might need to stop and think more about how you show encouragement, your own listening abilities, and your understanding that others are busy too. Think about how it feels to be in someone else’s shoes.

We are all in this together.  We are all tired, stressed, anxious, possibly underpaid, possibly under-appreciated, etc.  However, you can still focus on positive aspects of you work, life, career, etc.  Find that new word, reframe your conversations, listen with kindness, not with judgement.  Work on your own conversation skills, become a listener, instead of a someone who dominates a conversation focused on how busy you are.    Mediate challenging conversations with grace and understanding.

My new word is fabulous.  We are doing fabulous. This  doesn’t mean I am not stressed, tired, overworked, but that we are healthy, have jobs, a home, food, etc. We are fabulous, we are well, we are fortunate. Our lives are “full” and for many, our lives are very blessed.

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