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  • Ann Willets

You’re Not That Busy


These days, everyone is busy. Over the last two or so decades, we’ve coined phrases like “busy complex” and “we live in a go, go, go world.” It’s been a popular editorial topic for nearly a decade. For many of us, if we aren’t busy, we feel ashamed.

Recently, I've noticed that people let the essence of "busy" consume them to the point at which they can't manage menial tasks, such as responding to an email or text but still maintain the larger, more inescapable portions of daily life, such as going to work.

I've started to notice that many people are losing track of the smaller things. Phone calls bounce due to full voicemail boxes; emails spend days unseen in an inbox, and texts go unanswered. The air is rife with excuses. In one capacity or another, it boils down to everyone being "so busy." Is the "busy complex" pushing communication and small tasks to the wayside? Is this an acceptable standard for professional communicators?

My point is this; you're not too busy to respond to someone's outreach. There are many passing moments when you are traveling, waiting for the coffee to brew, standing in line, and so that are brief opportunities to respond to texts or emails, return missed calls, or check something off your digital to-do list.

As a communicator, you must maintain communication with your professional network. Some of the busiest people I know, despite their vast obligations, have the courtesy and ability to manage time so they can return messages and phone calls.

If I’m too busy to engage in real and productive conversation with someone, I’ll usually respond with something like, “I can’t respond right now, I’ll get back to you tonight.” Thus, I’ve acknowledged them and set an expectation to connect later in the day.

When dealing with unresponsive candidates, I feel they have serious time management issues and won't be responsive to potential employers. That's a big red flag. Frankly, I need to have faith that you are capable of managing your time. After all, employers expect you to respond to clients and the media.

I see AEs and senior AEs struggle with responsiveness the most. As I've said, you must come to terms with this and prioritize being responsive as a professional communicator. There is never a reason that someone who's hunting for a job should not clear their voice mailbox or return a text message. It takes just moments.

If COVID-19 taught us nothing else, it's that we're not all that important. We're all just people. Anyone could lose their job for any reason, at any time. I can understand if Dr. Fauci doesn't get back to me in a month, but there is no excuse for the rest of you.

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