Breaking The Catabolic Cycle: Why “Busy” Is A Four-Letter Swear Word, Part 1

Let’s begin to unpack the three factors leading to great stress in the workplace. Last week we deigned the first building block bolstering corporate stress is that ambitious businesspeople have convinced themselves that they’re too busy to cram anything else into their workweek, and thus, have systematically ignored the employment of stress management. This attitude materializes in our spoken language, particularly when we are asked casually about our personal status. You’ve sensed it before. Perhaps you’ve been guilty of perpetuating it. The classic manifestation resides in your answer to the informal question “How are you?”. If you often respond with “I’m so busy”, you are responsible for more than just an innocent declaration of how you perceive your state of being. You have figuratively uttered a misleading, pessimistic, energy-sapping cuss word. And you’re not alone.

Survey Says: Busy

The devastating reality showcased by a survey DRIVEN conducted in 2015 points directly to the busyness myth. Our community almost unanimously agreed that the “biggest current roadblock in their careers” was a sense that there isn’t enough time in their workweek to keep up with their workloads. People literally didn’t think they had the time to take care of themselves, health and otherwise, because of all of the career, family and community obligations on their plates. “Busy”, as it would ultimately appear, implies that we don’t have enough time to do the things that are important to us. But not only is there evidence that our assessment is way off base, perpetuating the “busy” mindset is actually a detriment to our well-being.

More Reasons To Steer Clear

From January 2016 to date, one of DRIVEN’s central missions has been to illustrate the importance of personal energy management, which we have termed Intentional Productivity. One principal discovery of this mission has been that maximum productivity is so closely related to a positive energy base that anything which resides in the catabolic recesses of our psyche will serve as a detriment to our output. This stated, we can conclude that “busy” is simply bad for one’s health and adds to the toxicity of the workplace. Just think about the emotions that “busy” summons: impatience, anxiety, stress, anger, restlessness. All of these emotions, including the words that describe them, conjure up ‘bad energy’. These feelings release Cortisol into our bodies. It’s nickname, the stress hormone, is a leading factor in lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Simply uttering the words “I’m busy” is the equivalent of injecting a toxin into your bloodstream. This four-letter word is a psychological blow to yourself and to your coworkers.

The other lethal blow lands in the heart of the person you are reporting to. Stating that you’re “crazy busy” may be interpreted as “I’m important”….a subtle form of one-upsmanship. Busy is macho. Isn’t it interesting how it’s not okay to be an alcoholic, but it is okay to be a workaholic? We should instead be thinking of “busy” as a numbing device, just like overeating. Back away from the cookies!

Impact Denied

A tremendous step that corporate America can take is to expunge the power from the word “busy”. This is no small feat, especially when companies still use the billable hour business model. But for those companies who are ready to make the move, DRIVEN stands at the ready to help facilitate. Now that we’ve made the case for “busy” being bad for business, the follow-up edition to this article will escort companies to the next level. We’ll provide guidance for evolved firms who wish to commit to sustainability and help their employees shift away from the “busy” attitude by utilizing a simple reality check. The fact is, we DO have abundant time to do the things in life that are important to us. Let’s find it and keep it!

Is your corporate culture saturated with stress? Consider DRIVEN’s world-class Private Client Services.