7 Signs That You’re Not Busy; You’re Just ‘Busy Bragging’

Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

Have you found yourself complaining about how busy you are, possibly to a spouse, friend or coworker? If you’re like most of us, you do this on a regular basis. You almost can’t help it, especially when others start talking about how busy they are in their lives.

“I know, right? I feel like I can’t get anything done.”

It’s a phenomenon referred to as busy bragging, and it’s common throughout Western culture. Is that because, as a culture, we tend to value people who are busy? Is it because we’re afraid of looking lazy if we aren’t as busy as our peers? Is it because we’re fishing for more congratulations and support for our work? Or are we stretching the truth to get out of some responsibility? Chances are, it’s some combination of these factors.

Still, with the demands of the modern world and the fact that “stress” is a subjective experience, it’s easy to blur the line between being busy and feeling busy. So, how can you tell if you’re not really busy — you’re just “busy bragging” — and what can you do about it?

Look for these signs:

1. You’re getting plenty of sleep.

2. You work less than 47 hours a week.

3. You aren’t sending or receiving as many emails as your peers.

4. You’re childless.

5. You see your friends and loved ones regularly.

6. You’re taking breaks and vacations regularly.

7. You’re caught up on the latest episodes of your favorite TV show.

You can also take this quiz to gauge how “busy” you really are, taking into account things like your family status, job and hobbies.

This shouldn’t suggest to you that being busy is a bad thing, or that you should make an effort to either increase or decrease your workload. In fact, psychological research suggests that people are actually happier when they’re busy than when they have nothing to do. The most important point here is that you should be aware of how busy you are and why you’re busy; why brag about how busy you are when your responsibilities are actually relatively limited? Why have you chosen these responsibilities in the first place?

We all need to look a little deeper and learn more about not only our work-related habits, but how we think about and respond to those habits.

For more content like this, be sure to check out my podcast, The Entrepreneur Cast!

CEO of EmailAnalytics (emailanalytics.com), a productivity tool that visualizes team email activity, and measures email response time. Check out the free trial!