Have you ever measured your busy-iness? Like if someone wanted to pay you, can you quantify your busy-iness? There’s this lady who used to be my boss, okay she still is my boss but at a much higher level, she would ask us to assess whether what we did was an activity or productivity. In fact when she first came to our branch on her promotion she made everyone account for their time from 8.00am to 5.00pm when they left the office. I think it was called an events log.Then, it seemed an uphill and an unnecessary task.

In hindsight I realise how goal oriented and focused she has always been on efficiency and productivity levels. She was able to reassign resources where they were needed more without having joy  riders living off other peoples’ hard work.

Most of us have perfected the art of being busy. Yes an art. You see you can either be busy or seem busy, yet at both instances we would say you are busy. I was never one to look busy, okay so maybe I was subconsciously, but I had to learn the art of being busy much later as an adult. Two years into my new  job, we got a new lady boss who was our supervisor. To put it mildly, this lady was big on delegation, to the extent that you ended up doing her work as she went to take the afternoon nap. I don’t mind working in fact I thrive on working under pressure but to be mis-used isn’t my cup of tea. Actually I don’t mind being used and I probably use people as well, but there’s something called being grateful. Gosh! This woman was so ungrateful, yaani she was the reason behind the coining of the word ingrate. She dumps a job on you, doesn’t bother to train and then comes to only tell you how clumsy your work is. Enhe! After a series of these episodes I gave up. Me and kissing this ass weren’t made for each other, and here my journey into mediocrity started.

I learnt how to be busy such that at any one time there was no room for dumping extra work. At exactly 10.00am I would get all the files out and place them on my desk, then get my registers and lots of papers to go with the files. If that wasn’t enough I had to hone me some acting skills,  the art of looking busy. If you came to the office those days you would think I was being overworked while in real sense I was bored stiff. Sullen, forlorn, morose and such were the words that would have best described the look I wore most of the time. This ensured I was unapproachable as a dumping site. 

Now, they say set a thief to catch a thief. Some times last year I got a chance to be in charge of a few of my colleagues, there was one young man who was notorious for looking busy. Unfortunately for him he had not mastered the art because at any one time he had pending and shoddily done jobs. Even in your pursuit to dissuade dumpers you should not be derailed so as to abandon your core job. Let your work affirm your busyness and not the other way round.

Looking busy can be exhausting and in reality a waste of precious time unless you are trying to prove a point as I was. There are people who will look busy just to avoid doing a job that is shared. Take for example where I work. I finish my work pretty early and end up doing some close of business summaries because some colleagues decide to play busy. What amuses me is that in their pursuit to look busy they actually get in trouble and I come out tops. I have learnt to filter the whining and the negative energy so I can forge ahead. You see playing busy sucks energy out of you, and the gloomy look always catches up with you. This will lead to you being careless and depressed by your work. 

“We are what we repeatedly do”~~~Aristotle.

Chose to rise above mediocrity and unproductive busyness, let your output justify your input. If necessary change departments and this is exactly what I did. I chose not to fight or insubordinate my boss, not to build on the resentment but instead reduce our interactions to the bare minimum.