Busy is the new fine – why I am fighting back

How many of your casual conversations start something like this:

“How are you?”

“Oh, you know, busy!”

It seems busy is the new fine.

Default answer, default setting
What’s the big deal? It’s just a throw away response to a polite question, which probably doesn’t interest the asker that much anyway.

But it is a big deal – it’s accepting and reinforcing a social norm.

Busyness is no longer a blip, a short burst of extra activity, an exception– it’s the default. Being busy is not just socially acceptable, it’s almost expected.

Busy is not fine
By operating with busyness as the default setting we are doing ourselves a disservice. We are sending out messages like:

  • if you’re not busy, you’re not successful or important
  • it’s not enough to be satisfied with what you have, you should always want to do more and have more
  • quantity is more valuable than quality.

Worse still busyness blinds us. When we’re busy, we’re more concerned with the what than the why. When we’re busy, there’s no room to think, reflect or question. In a world where we’re busy by default, in effect, we put our heads in the sand.

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