Tis The Season…For Fetishizing Busyness

Tis The Season…For Fetishizing Busyness

December 1, 2016

It’s that time of year again. You know the one where everyone comments, usually with an air of breathlessness, about how they just can’t believe it’s December already, and they just don’t know how they’ll “get it all done”. While this sentiment is universally felt, there’s toxicity to this kind of rhetoric in the workplace.


The more we hear the message that other people are SO busy, the more we start to self-consciously reflect on whether we are busy enough. If your coworkers, your neighbors, your Facebook friends, your LinkedIn connections are inundating you with the message that “busy” is a badge of honor to wear proudly, you could find yourself scrambling to keep up with the Joneses, even as the Joneses are loudly exclaiming over how quickly they’re drowning.


Do not buy in. Whether it’s the holidays or work or your personal life, being busy is not an accomplishment in and of itself.


Take mental inventory of the activities that are taking up your time. Consider quality over quantity every time. Working yourself into a mental frenzy about the project that’s due rather than focusing solely on the tasks that must be completed for the project to be finished can make you feel like you’re doing more when in reality, you accomplish less. The exasperated, haggard employee may actually be doing less than the calm, cool, steady coworker.


So instead of jumping on the band wagon because you’re concerned that if you don’t look busy enough, you aren’t busy enough, consider reflection that can actually foster self-improvement resulting in a better mental, emotionally and physical state around the office. Instead of asking “Am I doing enough?” ask yourself:

  • How efficient are you at completing tasks?

  • How often do you meet deadlines vs. exceed them?

  • How valuable are the projects you are currently working on? What about ones completed?

  • Are your goals and timelines realistic? If not, which needs adjusting?

  • Is what you’re doing right now the most important thing that needs to be done?


You cannot add value to your life or business by keeping pace with everyone else, especially if that pace is a frenetic, directionless one. Stop glorifying busyness and start appreciating substance.


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