Are You Saying Busy When You Really Mean Rushed?

Bigstock Images

Bigstock Images

One of the words I am certain you have already used multiple times in 2019 is busy. It’s become the default phrase for explaining many of the mistakes we make in our day. In fact, we use the word as a blanket statement to describe life in general (i.e. “Everyone is just so busy these days!”).

I am going on record today to suggest that we are using the wrong word. We are saying busy when what we really mean is rushed. Let’s look at definitions of each word.

According to Merriam Webster, key definitions for busy in the way we often use it to describe our schedules include:

* Engaged in action

* Full of activity

I have lots of days that are full of activity. Activities I have chosen to include in them to be productive, meaningful, and yes, even relaxing. I don’t look at such days as a bad thing. In fact I welcome them. Other things routinely pop up in my day to make me really busy, but I don’t feel like they deter me from getting my most important things done.

Now look at some of the definitions of the word rushed:

* To move forward, progress, or act with haste or eagerness or without preparation

* To urge to an unnatural or or extreme speed

*To perform in a short time or at a high speed

I don’t know about you, but when I think about the days that most frustrate me, they sound a lot more rushed than busy. “Big deal,” you say. “It’s two sides of the same coin.” I’m not so sure.

When we use the word busy in describing our day or week I think we are giving ourselves a pass on taking corrective action. We rationalize that it’s just the way things are. However, when we describe our day as rushed, it reminds us of the consequences of “being rushed,” which include:

* Failure to be fully present in the moment

* Increased opportunities for mistakes

* Diminished ability to be creative, reflective, or innovative in thought or action

Choosing to be transactional with others, instead of relational (it’s called a “relationship” for a reason)

I also think calling out our schedule as being rushed invites us to ask, “Why?” and then begin looking for solutions to reduce the instances of such a hectic and unfulfilling pace of life. Some initial questions to ask yourself could include:

* Is my sense of being rushed based more on internal or external factors?

* Is this something temporary based on a unique set of circumstances that will soon change?

* Have I allowed myself to accept being rushed as a new norm?

* What’s the danger to myself, my work, and/or my relationships if I continue to be rushed?

And honestly, I’m not convinced rushed is always the best word to describe this dilemma. I think it depends on the person. I do believe, however, that our schedules should exist to help us accomplish our highest priorities. I’ve seen people do amazing things when they are busy, but rarely achieve the same level of success when rushed.

What type of day would best serve you?