‘Busy’: A request for a different conversation please
Here’s how most people I know answer my casual polite inquiry; “how are you?”
”Busy!”, or “oh man, so busy”, or sometimes “tired, I’ve been so busy.”
So here’s the deal. I know you are dude. I am too. We all are. And this does not appear to be changing in between inquiries. So given that, I was hopeful we might add some more nuance and honesty to our conversations from now on.
Let me offer some recommendations:
”Oh man, I’ve been pouring myself into this work project I really care about, but I think I’ve gotten myself off balance and it’s probably time to stop and reflect on my wellbeing. I’ve allowed myself to become trapped by being ‘busy’.”
”I’m good, thanks. I mean I’m tired because my kid hasn’t been sleeping well, and I’ve been fighting with my wife which has been making me anxious. But I’m maintaining my perspective and I know things will pass and get better soon. My mind has been a little busy, though.”
”I’m busy getting after something I’m passionate about and nothing else comes close to mattering right now, until I run out of energy or I unlock some huge breakthrough, or the project runs out of steam, or I suffer some kind of energetic destructive burnout.”
“I am doing a lot of activity, little of it actually producing much tangible impact, but I hope you notice this activity and validate me through non-verbal acknowledgement, or just by your sustained attention for a few moments, so that I feel better about myself.”
”I am verbalising a story about the frenetic pace of my outputs which means that I am very, very, valuable.”
I’m busy? Use your words! You’re an adult. Own your decisions.
You might like to try some of these:
“I’m good. I’m taking a few days to chill and recover. I don’t feel the need to burn myself out right now.”
”I’m maintaining a decent pace, and I’m making wise choices about my energy levels.”
“I’m stopping to reflect right now. I’m not sure this is a direction I should maintain. I’m thinking and that requires me to not do a whole lot of tangible outputs for a while while my subconscious percolates through a bunch of difficult-to-verbalise complexity.”