Don’t Say You’re “So Busy”

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As back-to-school starts up and campus stores prepare for the rush of students returning, time most likely enters your mind – particularly that you don’t have enough of it.

It is said that “Time is the most precious commodity because unlike money, we can’t make more of it” (cnbc). While this is true, and it may be tempting to answer every request that comes your way with “I’m so busy,” it may be time to consider removing this phrase from your daily vernacular.

Research shows that the United States is the most overworked developed country there is, so naturally everyone is busy. What we communicate when we use the excuse, “I’m so busy,” is actually “What I’m working on is more important than you or what you are asking me to do.”

Think about this in terms of your employees. If you request a task from a worker, and the response is, “I’m so busy,” how do you feel? Model and train your employees on what to say instead. Here are some suggestions on how we can shift our vocabulary.

Positively explain what you’re doing

Instead of complaining, bragging, or stating that you are too busy, proactively say what you are working on. The Retail Doctor suggests, “actively own what you are doing and choose to stay in the moment with the person you are talking to. Now your voice says I’m so busy, but I’m enjoying it…” You can be honest about your workload in a positive way that invites conversation instead of shutting the other person down.

Offer an alternative timeframe

Even if we are removing the “I’m so busy” from our vocabulary, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t still too busy. It may very well be true that you are unable to add to your workload now, but you can still display positive work ethics. This can be as simple as explaining what is currently on your plate and when you will be able to add the new request. This not only communicates your desire to complete responsibilities effectively, but also that you are on-top of your work and prioritize well.

Be helpful even when you must decline

Honesty goes a long way and fellow employees and managers appreciate when you are clear and upfront about your workload. Instead of simply refusing or putting off a requested task, offer a compromise that helps everyone. For example, maybe you don’t have the time to re-stock a shelf right away, but you can offer to do it first thing on your next shift. This shows that you care enough to offer support, even when you are busy.

Alternatively, here’s a great article about what employees can do when they aren’t busy.

Check out this great video where Daria Long tells audience how to move from “Crazy-Busy Mode” to “Ready Mode.”

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