As we ramp up efforts to emerge from the lockdown conditions around the world, we are seeing a return to some of the adverse behaviours in people as they try and recover the losses of the previous year.
I have spoken to and worked with more people in the last few weeks who fall into this ‘Busy Fool’ category than I have in a very long time.
At first you might think I’m being offensive by using this description but when you read on, I hope you’ll see why I have chosen it.
Workaholism by definition involves high activation in an organisation married with degrees of unpleasantness. These degrees vary according to the workload, but needless to say that when the situation becomes too unpleasant one of two things tends to happen:
i) the individual finds alternative activity (ways of coping or new organisation)
ii) burnout (low activation and unpleasant)
Just consider this for a moment. Workaholism generates high activation so the individual is busy in the organisation but this is unsustainable with potentially disastrous consequences. How many times have you had regrets in your life. Using the benefits of hindsight saying things like “If only I’d” or “I wish I’d read the warning signs?” Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so they say, but I believe foresight is better. ‘Whatifness’ is a term I use with many individuals, teams and organisations to consider the possible eventualities of a certain set of attitudes, behaviours and performances. You can draw upon hindsight from your own experiences and those of others but learn the lessons and consider the consequences of your actions.
When it comes to wellbeing the ‘Busy Fool’ will adopt the traditional stance of denying the need for intervention or a shift in behaviour often stating:
“I’m too busy right now to focus on that stuff”
“I have deadlines to hit”
“Some of us have important jobs to do”
“I don’t have time!"
Everyone has time as there are 24 hours in a day and what you do with that time is, in the most part within your control. The only thing you have limited control over is the amount of rest you need. Your body will inform you as and when you need to rest. Just as when the body is pushed to its limit it will affect a period of rest which can be extremely detrimental to your overall health. Everything else is a choice. The choices we make determine the outcomes we get. If we choose to work all the hours we can and not look after our physical and psychological health then we must be prepared for the adverse consequences. If we choose to invest in our own health and wellbeing and look after ourselves then there are more advantageous consequences on offer. The busy fool will complain about the amount of work they have to do and lay the blame firmly on others. They’ve become detached from the reality that they are in control of the choices they make. This is not only dangerous it’s also likely to result in that individual having time to contemplate their choices when they burnout. Remember you cannot pour from an empty jug and this continuous behaviour will not deliver the expected results. Pay attention to yourself and your colleagues to avoid the detrimental results and maximise on sustainable success.
We’re all busy but not all of us are effective.
Share this story