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Stop using the “B” word

| by Todd Hopkins

There is a tension that lies in the word “busy.”  

This word drives me crazy, especially since I noticed the power it had over my life. I simply cannot stand it when someone says to me, “I know you’re busy, but…” or, “Everybody is busy!” My response recently has been to kindly correct people with the fact that I am choosing not to be busy and replace that word for another word that has a positive connotation. 

The issue with being busy is the fact that it can quickly point us toward being ruled by what is urgent and of little value. Here is a list of 10 things I associate with being busy. 

1. I do not focus well on priorities.

2. I am not giving myself permission to rest or rejuvenate effectively.

3. I give up the order in my life.

4. I overlook discipline and begin to do what is comfortable.

5. I become focused on myself and lose my internal sense of unselfishness.

6. I lose clarity on what I am called to be.

7. It makes it challenging to be tracking any goals or progress.

8. I lose my ability to be intentional.

9. I get blurry vision.

10. It becomes hard to have endurance.

Now, take the above list and remove the power of “busyness” from them.

1. Priorities get more attention than urgencies.

2. Rest is valuable and increases my effectiveness.

3. Order breeds healthiness.

4. Discipline sets me apart from the competition.

5. Unselfishness helps me to lead those around me well.

6. Clarity on my calling fuels my purpose.

7. Tracking progress keeps me accountable.

8. Intentionality gives me control over my life.

9. Vision helps me to know what is coming so I can be ready.

10. Endurance gives me the energy to push through when times feel tough.

When we choose to eliminate “busy” we have to replace it with something else of greater value. If we do not deliberately choose to give ourselves to something other than being busy, we may subconsciously choose to be lazy. Notice that list of 10 statements put together spell P.R.O.D.U.C.T.I.V.E. 

I have found that when I stop identifying myself as busy and declare that I am productive, the results of my life show the benefits. The reality is that the identity of who we are is directed by the words we use. In the same way that the DNA of a corporation is determined by its values, principles and statements, we form our identity by the statements we make about ourselves. 

The statement “I am busy” has a negative connotation and is free of boundaries that keep us from unhealthiness. The statement “I am productive” has a positive vibe and keeps us producing results.  

As productive leaders, we are foundationally grounded and make decisions based on what is most important. Randy H. Nelson’s bestselling book,The Second Decision,showed me there is a different mindset between leaders and managers. Productive leaders do the right things right. We cannot become productive leaders when we are caught inside the self-imposed busy trap. 

To be clear, the feeling of busyness does not go away when we decide to replace that word with “productive.” We still have moments when we feel overwhelmed and weighed down, which will tempt us to go back to using the “B” word. The good news is that those same feelings can be addressed with the word “full.”

Lastly, I want to address the spiritual implications of being busy. Busyness is a tool from our enemy to keep us off our game. Our spiritual enemy wants for us to be distracted and caught up in his busy trap to prevent us from working toward success and all God has for us. 

We all face opposition, whether that might be the competition in Silicon Valley or the internal battle to be the best we can be. The enemy we face knows that if he can keep us busy, he can prevent us from winning those battles. As often described in spiritual circles, being under Satan’s yoke (B.U.S.Y.) is a place we don’t have to be. 

Satan holds no power over us. Christ died for us and has freed us from the bondage of busyness and He has given us authority in our words to live our best life.  

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21).

Photo source: istock 

Todd Hopkins

Todd Hopkins is founder and CEO of Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services. He is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Birthing of Giants Executive Entrepreneurship Academy, a prestigious program for top entrepreneurs. He has authored or co-authored four best-selling books, The Carrot Chaser, The Janitor, Five Wisdoms for Entrepreneur Survival and most recently, The Stress Less Business Owner.

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