Being Busy: Is It Really A Brag Disguised As A Complaint?

As a blogger on communication skills that build leadership and deepen our connections with people, I want to deepen my relationship with you my blog readers. 

Therefore, I am going to try something new on the blog. It is called #BRAVETalk. It is a comment challenge where I ask a question, present a point of view, or share an idea and you tell me your thoughts on it. There are no right or wrong answers. I just want to stir up an intellectual conversation with my community. 

What's in it for you? In a word, practice.

Our #BraveTalk conversations are a perfect way for you to use and practice several transferable communication skills.

1. Writing. If you have a job, you are asked to write. Being able to clearly deliver your opinions in a organized fashion is a key leadership and communication skill.

2. Listening. Yes, you can practice listening online. Others will comment with their opinions. This is a great, non threatening way to practice reflective listening and paraphrasing skills.

3. Feedback. Feedback is part of life. These conversations will help you practice giving and receiving feedback. I encourage you to comment on others point of views.

4. Respect for others. Others may not have the same opinion and if you have ever been caught up in or witnessed an online argument where participants call each other names, curse, or defame one another, it can be enough to just stay silent. But that will not happen here. These conversations will not only help expand your understanding of others but enable you to show respect while still remaining true to yourself.

5. Community. We all desire to be in deep community with like minded individuals. Well how can I know your mind if you don't ever share it. You'll see you are not alone in your struggle or success. This awareness is a way to foster community here.

All of these benefits will help you become a better communicator and isn't that why I am here?

The topics or ideas will be ones that challenge a conventional way of thinking somehow. I want us to be BRAVE enough to engage in discussions that are based in respect of all opinions and encourage us to think about our responses to the status quo.

I will be using the hashtag #BRAVETalk on Facebook and Twitter to brand our discussions so you can find them. 

What's Your Responsibility?

Simple. Participate. Share. It is only good practice if we have points to read. We can't give feedback on silence so comment. Encourage others too as well. Just give your opinion.

Now that you know what's in it for you and what responsibility you have, let's get started!

1st #BraveTalk question:

Tim Kreider wrote a NY Times Blog opinion piece a while back called "The Busy Trap". In it, Kreider asserts that being busy is a self-imposed condition that we use in American society to prove our own importance. It is cleverly disguised as a complaint but in actuality we really are bragging. The author points out that being busy is essentially damaging our relationships and our contributions to the world. Being booked every minute of every day isn't good for our bodies, brains, or relationships, he says.

Have you ever been too busy to have coffee with a friend? Or does it take months of scheduling to get together with another? Has that phone call gone weeks without being returned? 

My question in our #BRAVETalk today is:

Are we addicted to being busy? Do we value being busy because it somehow proves we are important? How does being busy help or hurt our communication with others?

Leave a comment with your thoughts. And ask invite your friends to join the conversation.


  1. Adam, i think the first step we all need to realize is that busyness is not a badge of honor. It is an indicator that our time is consumed. Once we realize that our time is being consumed, we can better dictate how we spend our time. Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Sal you make an excellent point. I never verbally connected busyness with avoidance but you are so right. It always amazes me how busy I can make myself when I am supposed to be doing something else. I need to be writing but i find that I spent a hour "busy" doing laundry and checking facebook instead. Yes, busyness is a form of procrastination.

  3. Julia, amazing topic. I strongly agree with the article, I think it make us feel important. Another interesting point is the guilt we feel (at least I feel) when not being busy, so I may lie or exaggerate to cover it, when in fact there is nothing wrong to it.

    This is an excerpt from one of James Altucher (@jaltucher) post:

    Here's how to be a Jedi Knight:

    A) Rest when you have nothing to do.

    When Qui-Gon is fighting Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace a transparent door closes, dividing them. Darth Maul paces back and forth and Qui-Gon simply sits and rests and seems to be doing nothing.

    It doesn't matter to me that Darth Maul kills Qui-Gon at the end of that fight. Qui-Gon comes back later. Whatever.

    In modern society we all feel like we have to be like Darth Maul. Pacing, finding a "purpose", being anxious, stressed, waiting for doors to open. This is the dark side of the force.

    How great is it to just rest and be happy and not move when you don't have to.

    I will tell you: it's great.

    That doesn't mean: avoid mastery. It simply means: rest when you have nothing to do.

    Interesting point and remainder. I agree with him.



  4. I LOVE this analogy!!!!! (even though I had to ask my husband who Qui-Gon and Darth Maul were).

    Yes, we feel like we have to pace or being doing something. I don't know the story but sometimes doing nothing IS doing something. My coach said to me today that we have to strategically use down times...this assumes that we actually have down time.

    Great insight Diego! Thanks

  5. I love that Diego used Star Wars as an analogy. Superb!

  6. Julia,

    I think some people can be addicted to being busy but I don't think it applies for everyone. I'm busy a lot. When I say I'm busy when someone asks, in no way is it to brag, it's just speaking the truth. Sometimes it does take weeks to plan a time with a friend but at least I've planned that time, right? Ha. Being busy affects our communication with others because it doesn't afford us the opportunity to spend quality time with others. That's just the facts of life, though. It's all about making time for what matters most.

  7. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Life gets busy. It happens and whether we intend to or not sometimes our schedules interfere with our relationships. As you've noted, the point is to be aware and make time for what matters. Thanks for chiming in @vjosephr

  8. Wow, I don't know what to add that hasn't been said already. I'll echo what I said on Twitter, that I feel guilty when I'm not productive, but relieved when I'm not busy. And connecting busyness with avoidance, if that isn't the truth I don't know what is. Great discussion Julia!

  9. Ah, man I think this is so so true. Busyness is so often an easy out because it allows us to defer the accomplishment of goals and the discipline required to meet them. It gives us an excuse (one I've used more than once) not to do what we really should be doing, whether investing in our relationships and families, working toward our dreams, or developing ourselves mentally, physically or spiritually. Reminds me of a quote I came across from Tony Blair this week. Apparently when asked the secret to good leadership, he replied by saying

    "The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes."

    Sometimes, if I'm honest, if we're all honest, being busy is easier than being better. It costs something to say no to activity and focus one what's most important.

  10. I agree with this 100%. The amount of clutter on my Facebook news feed that comes from people talking about how incredibly busy they are or how hard they have been studying is almost enough to make me gag. Because it has nothing to do with how busy they are. If they were as busy as they say, they wouldn't have the time to post on social media. They just want to boast about how busy they are and how important that makes them feel.

    It's why I generally try my best not to post stuff like that. I want my posts to be encouraging and helpful for others, not boasting about myself (excluding tweets about sports....).

    Great post Julia!

  11. Daniel, as you and the article author point out, really busy people are too bust to say so. Let alone boast about it. We have to be careful with validating our existence through our day planners. Thanks for joining the discussion.

  12. Thanks for joining the community Leo!

  13. More great insight from my new friend across the pond! "Being busy is easier than being better." What a convicting statement of truth Micah! Thanks for chiming in.