The oft-mentioned, wonderful Nell Minow -- a world expert on All Things Corporate (and so much else, including even movie reviewing) has a terrific, short article here on the Huffington Post. It's about a four-letter word you should eliminate from your vocabulary. The word is -- "busy."
As she notes, the word "short-circuits genuine interaction" by making it so much an unthinking coverall excuse. Saying that we're so busy tends to be used on autopilot, she says, "to deflect others, not realizing that it interferes with the essential task of taking responsibility for our choices. 'Busy' is how the urgent distracts us from the important. 'Busy' is a too-easy answer and a too-lazy excuse."
I loved reading the article, since "busy" has long been a bugaboo of mine. A few years back, I was in a business relationship with some people who I'd often have to email four or fine times just to get an answer. Not just get a “good answer” – but a simple reply. Whenever I'd bring up how annoying this was, I'd get the response that “You have to be patient because I'm really busy.” I was always bothered by that for all the reasons Nell mentions so pointedly in her piece, and more. Occasionally, I'd politely ask my partners to turn the situation around. What if they asked a question and didn’t get a reply? How would they react? And how would they feel if they then had to ask the same question four times without getting a response? I asked that I be given the same courtesy that they expected for themselves. It was an uphill battle.
And it all stemmed from their being So Busy. In truth, they were very busy. But if they called or wrote the other person, they’d get an immediate response. And just writing back, “No info yet,” and then hitting “Send” takes about eight seconds.
So, yes, I loved the article. You may, too.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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