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How much time do you spend each day thinking about, worrying about, talking about, or planning for being busy, overworked, and not having enough time?

I suspect it’s more than you think.

It can actually cause us to lose up to 2 hours of time each day.  How?

It’s all about how we feel about being busy.

Thinking you are busy causes you to feel: Lousy.  Overwhelmed.  Discouraged. 

And when you feel lousy, overwhelmed, or discouraged, what do you do?  

Most of us do things to try to calm ourselves down. Maybe we walk, get coffee or tea, or grab a snack.  Relax for a moment with a game or scroll on social media.  You might contact a friend to talk to and let off steam. 

So we think of ourselves as very busy, and we feel lousy, then we spend time calming ourselves down.  That all takes up time. 

Its a cycle: Busy-overwhelmed-calming back to busy.

It feels like an endless loop we can’t break out of. 

Is it hopeless?  Absolutely not.

A list of things to do isn’t good, bad, not enough, or overwhelming and busy.  It only becomes that way because of what we THINK about it.  Thinking we are busy is the discouraging part.

You can save yourself discouragement AND create time by changing your mindset about your work.

Stop saying you are busy.

These conversations don’t assist progress; they hold everyone up instead by draining energy and creating overwhelm.


When someone asks you how your day is:  Try saying these things instead.

  • I’m getting some important things done today.
  • I’m making it a productive day.
  • I am taking time for what’s important.
  • I am lucky to have many activities to choose from.
  • I’m looking forward to completing this with you today.
  • I’m getting work done today.
  • I’m focusing on one thing at a time.

I want you to notice how you feel when you think ” I’m busy” compared to those other phrases.  Do the new phrases feel slightly better?  Do they feel a little less overwhelming?  More motivating?  Less lousy?

For me, they do.  It feels better to talk about what I will be getting done and that I’m focused on what is important than It does to talk about what I HAVE to do and how busy I am (even though often they are the same tasks)

Choosing how to talk about my work creates less overwhelm and, therefore, less time that I spend calming myself down. 

And not only that.

It has a positive impact on others too.

Going back to talking about being busy.  Think about how you feel when someone else talks about how busy they are.  

  1. You commiserate with them and offer up sympathy because you know what it’s like to feel busy (and then feel discouraged)
  2. You offer help.  Sometimes you take on more and over extend yourself further (and feel overwhelmed)
  3. You get annoyed with them because you are way busier than they are, so who are they to complain? (And you feel lousy)
  4. You tolerate their statements and then move on to get some work done.  (and you might feel irritated)

So if others talking to us about their own busyness results in us thinking in ways that create negative emotions, Perhaps shifting your own vocabulary about your work can result in a more positive environment for yourself AND others at work.

I am not telling you never to talk about being busy and overwhelmed.  Most of us need to blow off steam.  We can do this with our friends.  I am saying that many of us use this type of discussion about being busy as our default small talk.  And it creates discouraging emotions that rob us of progress and rub off on others.

So, try to notice how often you talk about being busy.

And then decide to stop talking about being busy.  It doesn’t serve you at all and can create a negative ripple effect on those around you.

So how much time do you lose talking about being busy?

The key is to choose something that feels better than ” I am so busy”.

So, how is my week this week?  

I have a week full of important things.  

In other words, It is full of activity, with important work for myself and my family and projects that will help me and my team move forward.  I’m looking forward to focusing on what’s most important.  It will be fun.

All of this is totally true.

And it feels so much better than “It’s busy”

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