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Business or Busyness?
By: Don McLean
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The business of advertising, or any business for that matter, can get very hectic. Poor time management skills, unreasonable requests, laziness, and work overload are just some of the reasons, good and bad, for being busy. Business and busyness are nearly identical in spelling. In fact, depending on your regional accent, it may sound the same coming out of your mouth. These terms are closer than just in spelling. Why are they synonymous? Do they have to be?

The answer is no.

How are things going today? Busy.

How many times have you had that verbal exchange with someone in your career? The last month? The last day? With an educated guess, I am confident in saying way too much. Saying "I’m busy" is like saying "I was born a human." Everybody knows it and no one cares. Being busy is part of having a successful life. Very few people get anywhere without being busy.

When you have a verbal exchange with someone and you simply say "busy," you are shooting yourself in the foot professionally.

In building your own personal brand, think about a few things:

  1. How many opportunities am I missing out on by saying "I’m busy"? If you tell everyone you're busy a majority of the time they will stop asking. First they stop asking how you are doing, then they stop asking you to do things. There go the opportunities to form work friendships. If you tell your spouse, parents, siblings, and the like you are too busy, you will start detaching from them as well. Is work so important and so busy that you skip watching a game with your dad, baking Christmas cookies with your mom, or gardening with your spouse? Is work so important that the last time you saw your best friend face-to-face was over a month ago? Life is short and the work/life balance is never easy to handle. However, without maintaining that balance you will never find true happiness.
  2. Will people stop talking to me because my self-programmed quick response was always the same? After people stop asking you how you're doing or asking you to do things, they will just stop talking to you altogether. You are a downer now. You are too busy. Try brainstorming new responses and physically tell yourself not to use the word as often. Treat it like a swear word and throw a dollar in a jar every time you use it. The responses you start giving people will be more memorable. Instead of saying "busy," give a short overview of your day or one good thing that happened. People will think more highly of you for that. In Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar says to start out every morning listening to something uplifting. Something exciting to help start your day. Some upbeat music or an inspirational CD will do. You do not necessarily have to go all Rocky Balboa and climb the steps to "Gonna Fly Now," but it wouldn't hurt.
  3. What can I do to better control my schedule? Sometimes you may actually have to change a part of your routine. You may not like the change right away but it will help. One thing that helps is coming into work at 7:00 every morning instead of 8:30 or 9 AM. It gives you extra time to start your day and get moving before others come into your office and pull you in a thousand directions. This is just one example, but in this solid uninterrupted two hours you can usually get more done than in an entire eight-hour day.

Next time someone takes the time to ask how your day is going, tell them something memorable. Leave a positive impression on people because it is a small world in any industry, especially advertising. Everyone is busy.



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About the Author
Don McLean, MBA is an account supervisor at Airfoil Group, an independent marketing and public relations firm serving tech companies and innovation-centric brands with offices in Detroit, New York and Silicon Valley. Follow Don on twitter at@mclean_don.  
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