February 9, 2016

Give Up Busy this Season

 picture of a two way sign“I don’t know about you, but we seem to keep getting busier and busier,”- a CEO expressing what many of us suspect.

Our most universal vice is “busy.” At every gathering, when we’re asked, “How are you?” We think back to what’s been filling our calendar and what remains and state, “I’m so busy.” Most of us begin to commiserate.

Webster tells us busy is actively doing something or being full of activity or work.

Is busy good or bad? It’s neither. It’s just taking action.

Lent begins on Wednesday, and lasts forty days until Easter, not counting Sundays. While Christian in origin, its benefits include reflection and a chance to improve oneself—sort of like a replay of a New Year’s resolution. Historically, Lent calls for a forty-day “fast” – giving up a vice. No doubt some of your friends already have announced they’re giving up desserts, drinking, or cursing.

This Lent, I invite you to fast from using the word “busy.” That is, when someone asks, instead of automatically stating you’re busy, think before you respond and don’t use the word busy in your reply. Even more challenging: stop telling yourself you’re busy.

Stop and question, “What is it I want to say here?

Might you say:

“I’m delighted to be here.“

“I decided to do too much.”

“My board members, boss, staff, donors etc. asked me to do things on top of what I want to accomplish. I’m challenged setting priorities.”

“I’m wondering why I’m buying into the belief that stating I’m busy is a good thing to tell others.”

“I’m learning some interesting things about my calendar and thinking.”

“I’m having fun helping my customers, donors, or board members accomplish their goals.”

Can any of us actually make it forty days without using the word busy? Let me know how it goes!


Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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