March 15, 2008
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO Executive Director

This month I was researching information to write my monthly message, and came across this short article from Jim Paluch that gets the message across more effectively than I could. Jim has given us his permission to reprint his message just in time for your hectic spring season.

Just don’t say it

By Jim Paluch, JP Horizons

I know some of you who have heard me speak remember thoughts on exciting your vocabulary and the typical response to the automatic question, “How are you doing?”

I’ve talked and laughed with hundreds of people about the old “fine” response and what it really means. One thing I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about, however, is how often casual conversation turns to how busy we are. Think about it. The topic of being busy is either the first comment that comes out of our mouths or nine times out of ten, it’s the second response following the declaration that someone is “fine.”

If you are lucky enough to converse with an expressive like me, I will not only tell you that I am busy, but I’ll rattle off all the cities I was in over the past month. Do you care? I doubt it. You are probably thinking, “Yeah, that’s a lot, but that’s pretty cool too. This guy doesn’t know what busy is!” In fact, I propose that there aren’t very many people interested in how busy you are either, including your children, your staff and maybe even your spouse. The reason no one is intrigued by how busy we are is the simple fact that EVERYONE IS BUSY! This is no revelation or surprise. I really don’t know many people that would not consider their lives busy. I can even think of many retired folks who still feel like life is “so busy.” Isn’t that amazing! In fact, for our generation and even more for those that are following, busy becomes a way of life from pre-school on.

So, with all that said, you might be wondering where I am going with this. The point is that if we are all busy and life is moving at a rapid pace for everyone that probably isn’t going to change, why do we have to talk about it? What if we found something more interesting or compelling to talk about when we meet up with people or when we talk with family and friends to share what’s going on in our lives?

I’m not a psychologist, but I am guessing that talking about being busy only adds to the stress that travels with it. When the person you are conversing with confirms their busyness, it doesn’t take away from your own or theirs but merely adds to the belief that life is just too busy.

What if we became more aware of all the things we are beyond busy? We are interesting people with interesting careers and families and hobbies and goals and challenges! We are curious and ambitious and energized! We are creative and caring and giving. We’re professional and personal and focused and scattered all at the same time and oh, yeah, guess what...we’re busy too. If I think of the alternatives to being busy, I think I will take the busy thing because busy is part of living and it really is a great day to be living.

If you truly are too busy, be aware of it and take action. Make choices that are consistent with your personal goals and priorities. If you need to make changes to the way you balance your time, just do it. In the process be careful and recognize when being “busy” becomes a negative or an excuse to avoid what you know you should be doing. Take the emphasis off being busy and put it on being productive, being balanced and being happy.

Jim Paluch is principal of JP Horizons and creator of the 52-week Working Smarter Training Challenge. For more information, visit
Tony DiGiovanni may be reached at