THE LAST WORD

Fiona Blayney is ban­ning the word ‘busy'. And there are good rea­sons for it.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents -

Fiona Blayney

I'm not quite sure when the re­al­i­sa­tion first came; it may have been at the mo­ment where I found my­self, yet again, an­swer­ing the ques­tion of ‘How are you?' with the re­sponse ‘Busy'. Or per­haps it was hear­ing that same re­sponse in each con­ver­sa­tion I start. It could have been on one of the many oc­ca­sions where I find another per­son de­scrib­ing me as busy. What­ever the cat­a­lyst, and there are many more than I have men­tioned, I have turned my mind to the no­tion of ‘busy­ness' and all of the con­no­ta­tions this lit­tle word brings.

It's been quite a jour­ney since I stopped be­ing busy. Yes, that's right; I'm no longer busy, and now I ac­tu­ally feel re­freshed. My heart rate has dropped and I'm sleep­ing bet­ter and get­ting more done. All from let­ting go of busy.

Right now you are prob­a­bly think­ing ‘What has she done? How did she do it? Has she hooked up with the four-hour work week guy and typ­ing this from a beach in Thai­land?' No, quite the op­po­site – let me ex­plain. (Read­ing on will take you ap­prox­i­mately 2.32 min­utes, so slot that into your ideal week some­where.)

Firstly we need to get clin­i­cal about this lit­tle word. If we re­fer to our learned friend, the dic­tionary, be­ing busy is de­fined as ‘hav­ing a great deal to do'. I'm not con­vinced it's that sim­ple; for it to be so, we would need to be­lieve that ev­ery­one can fit the same amount of ‘do­ing' into their day, and any­thing more than that is busy. I don't agree.

Con­sider for a mo­ment that we all work at dif­fer­ent speeds, process in­for­ma­tion in vary­ing ways, in­put a kaleidoscope of emo­tions and energy, re­quire dif­fer­ent rest pe­ri­ods, plus more; I think it only fair to ad­just the def­i­ni­tion. Be­ing busy, ac­cord­ing to Fiona Blayney, is ‘hav­ing more to do than would be con­sid­ered nor­mal for one­self'. And so there came the ev­i­dence.

Hi, my name is Fiona Blayney and I am not busy.

For those of you who have ever seen my sched­ule, your head is now spin­ning and you're think­ing, ‘Of course you are busy!' But here's where we are wrong; I do not have any­thing more to do than that which is nor­mal for me, so there­fore I am ac­tu­ally not busy.

This lit­tle word ‘busy' has in­fil­trated our lives, yours and mine. It has weaved its way in as a stan­dard re­sponse, has taken on a new im­por­tance in the def­i­ni­tion of who we are as peo­ple, has given false mean­ing and pur­pose and ul­ti­mately sent a level of pres­sure into your day sim­ply by its use.

I can­not imag­ine it be­ing pos­si­ble to get more done in a day than I al­ready do, yet ev­ery time I told my­self I was busy a mes­sage was sent to my brain and with it the as­so­ci­ated stress and work­ing speed to get even more done. I could feel my heart race, my fin­gers take on a per­sona of the Phar Lap of typ­ing, calls were more abrupt and there was a sig­nif­i­cant shift in the of­fice as Fiona the tor­nado hit town.

That was the old Fi. I have now of­fi­cially banned the word busy; it's no longer part of my vo­cab­u­lary. It hasn't seen the light of day for a few months and wow, am I bet­ter for it. The B-word has been re­placed with words like ‘pro­duc­tive' and ‘ef­fi­cient', none of which pro­voke any neg­a­tive re­sponse (well, none so far). In fact they have done the op­po­site. I am still get­ting through the same work­load, per­haps even more; I am in flow more of­ten and de­liv­er­ing higher qual­ity re­sults. It's amaz­ing what im­pact one lit­tle word can have.

Next time we speak and you ask how I am, I'll say I am pro­duc­tive; I'm look­ing for­ward to hear­ing the same from you. ■

I DO NOT HAVE ANY­THING MORE TO DO THAN THAT WHICH IS NOR­MAL FOR ME, SO THERE­FORE I AM AC­TU­ALLY NOT BUSY.

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