There’s an old adage that says, If you want something done, ask a busy person’. It’s a phrase that has been around since before 1900 and is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, among others. How often do you meet a friend or acquaintance, ask how they are, and hear the response, ‘busy!’.
IIt’s almost like a badge of honour. If you’re not busy, are you even trying? We can all be busy, but there’s also a risk with digital intervention, distraction, and ‘productivity’ tools that you’re busy but possibly doing nothing. It’s amazing how much time some people spend organising their time. So are these busy people efficient, or are they just consumed by their activity, or lack thereof, rather than actually productive?
Since lockdown, a lot of people I’ve discussed their work lives with have made serious adjustments to the way they conduct their time, realocating work time and social or family time thanks to the flexibility offered by employers desperate to limit brain drain to competitors. It’s something I’ve done too; I’ve tried to ensure that if I’m busy, it’s because I’m allocating time in the right way to work, activity, family, and recently a small addiction to online chess (good for the brain, right?!). I want to be able to answer that question with ‘fulfilled’ rather than busy.
If you’ve not watched the Arnold Schwarteneggar Documentary on Netflix, you should. It’s a testament to what you can do if you put your mind to it. His mantra is not to be busy but to ‘be useful’, to focus your time on contributing in some way and following your dreams to make your life full.
With all this in mind, I was impressed to meet the woman behind the brand that adorns our cover this month. With three children and a full-time job, Ann Muhoro has also started not one but two new businesses, one of which is the clothing brand that carries her name. It’s clear she’s motivated by a focus and drive that’s more than keeping herself ‘busy’, but instead a pursuit of fulfilment.
Next time someone asks, think twice. Are you busy? Make sure it’s the right kind.