Beware of the “busy bug”!

Beware of the “busy bug”! – Future Leaders Blog – Wearethecity INDIA – 09 June 2017

“Busy is a bug that a lot of people are addicted to”

We are clearly seeing a growing “epidemic” – it is called the “busy bug”. Do you have it? Let’s explain what we mean.

When we meet people we often ask them: “How are you?”
How many times do you hear the answer: “I am so busy”? What are we all so busy doing? We have to stop and ask ourselves that question.

Life can feel like we are on a metaphorical ‘hamster wheel’. We spin around and are running, running, running. If we ask the hamster “Where are you going?” the hamster answers “don’t know, got to go, I’m busy, busy running”. We then ask “ Why are you going there”? The hamster replies: ”don’t know but I am busy, got to go!”

If we’re like that hamster, we need to get off the wheel, stop and take a look at it from a distance. We need to allow ourselves the time and space to think: Hey where am I going, where have I been and why am I doing this? We are after all human beings, not human doings. It’s not just about doing a lot of stuff. Unless we are doing the right, relevant things – the things that really make a difference – then we maybe shouldn’t be doing them.

Some causes and symptoms

We are sure you would agree that there are plenty of reasons for us to be busy; there is so much to do, there is the pressure of work, home, family, getting the balance in our life right. The next job, the next promotion, the next meeting we have to go to, the flight we have to take, the next thing we cannot miss. We get into that hamster wheel and it feels like we can’t get off it. We feel like we HAVE to, OUGHT to or SHOULD do all these things. There are demands on our time from every angle.
And sadly it can feel like we are missing a lot of life and its great moments when we are in that “busy bug” mode.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Michael Altshuler

Some remedies:

Yes, the good news is that we can take control of the “busy bug” and really think about what we can do. Why not try some of these remedies:

  • Make some fundamental choices. Start to feel like you are at choice; after all you are in control of your schedule, you drive it, so start make the choices that work for you. There are so many great things to do and things you would love to do, but you don’t have to do them all, and you most likely don’t have the time to do it all. Make sure you are making choices not just “wants”.
  • Take some time to reflect during your busy day, week or month. Take some time out even if it’s only a short walk, a deep breath, a brief moment to reflect and put things into perspective. You might even want to put it in your calendar, it will be productive use of your time.
  • If you are always busy then you may miss the chance to celebrate success, and both the small and big things that you have achieved will get missed. Take a few moments at the end of each day to think about what you have done and achieved today, value that, and then think about how you can take those positives with you into the next day and the future.
  • When you get very busy, break the tasks down and simply take it one step at a time. Don’t multitask, you can only do what you can do, one thing at a time. Take control and notice how it starts to feel calmer and better.
  • We can also ensure that we are saying no when we need to. And when we say no, we need to work on how we say it. It is the way we communicate the no that is important, to create understanding and acceptance as to why we are doing it.
  • Consider asking for help and support from others. Others are usually happy to help, if we just ask. Think about when you were last asked for help, did you help and how did it feel? Pretty good, wasn’t it? Someone trusted in you and reached out to you. So helping each other is a great way to share the load and take some pressure off.

If we constantly say to ourselves and others that we are busy, guess what we will be? That’s right, busy. So next time you hear someone say ‘I am so busy”, what will your response be, how can you help them off that ‘hamster wheel’? And the next time someone asks you how you are, what could you replace the “busy bug” response with?

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life”


In next week’s blog, let’s explore the “curse of multitasking”…..

About the authors:

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book, multi-award-winning ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”, published by Financial Times International is a practical tool for building winning teams. You can download a free chapter of the book at

Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”Enjoyable to read. Simple to understand. Practical to implement. A must read for team members or leaders”Debbie Fogel-Monnissen, Executive Vice President, International Markets Finance Officer, Mastercard, NY, USA

Author: Marilyn Pearce

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