Busy Bragging - Stop it.

Busy people

Busy bragging reveals something that isn't about your to-do list. Reject busyness as a bragging point. Consider this all too common conversation opener. 

“How are things going?”


It seems like that is the first thing out of our mouths.

Resolve to change your speech. Never say that you are busy again. Refuse to be a part of the Cult of Busy. Resolve to bring balance into your life. You will be more effective and have more time at your disposal.

Not always, but often what "I'm so busy," means is, "Please notice me. I'm important. I do important things. I'm valuable." That's an entirely different issue to be dealt with, than how much work you have to do.

If you proudly wear the 'badge of busy', throw it away. Of course there will be times of greater intensity when you have to work hard. But be proud of getting more and more effective – not only getting more things done but getting more of the right things done.  Get those things done that really make a substantial difference in people’s lives … maybe those near to you.

Reject busyness as a bragging point.

"Today, we hear a common cry from many quarters. A cry that attempts to get at the core of the productivity problem. The cry is for values, ethics, integrity, authenticity, character – old-fashioned values that somehow got lost in the structural shuffle of the last few decades."  

Ron Willingham, The People Principle

Five Days of Coaching to Help You Stop Busy Bragging


Do you feel pride when you tell others how busy you are? You may have bought into the Cult of Busy. Today, examine your attitudes around being busy. What prompts you to tell others how full your life is? Be honest. Is busy a bragging point for you?

The Coach asks: 

  • Here's a really big question to get you started. Do you feel valuable? Take some time to think about this. 
  • What criteria do you use to determine if you are "valuable" or not? Your work, position, income, experience, education, or something else? 
  • Are there better determinants of your value, your importance? Less dependent on "stuff," and more dependent on absolutes and eternal truths? What might they be? 
  • Have you bought into the Cult of Busy? What needs to change to redirect your thinking and behavior?  


Resolve never to be “busy” in a way that is bragging, again. It may only be terminology, but it's loaded. Enjoy a full, rich experience in life and at work. Work hard and smart. But don't brag about how busy you are. Being busy may mean that you're doing a lot of things but it doesn't mean you're doing the right things. Zero in on those high priorities that make a difference rather than the make-work that distracts you and wastes time.

The Coach asks:

  • Think about the difference between being legitimately busy with a lot of things to do, and saying you're "so busy" because you want the other person to think of you in a certain way. 
  • Bragging about being busy is like an invasive weed. How will you deal with it? 
  • How can you more often work on the really important things and gain great satisfaction from that? It's a shift from gaining satisfaction from busy bragging, and gaining satisfaction from getting big things done. 
  • What are you learning about yourself as you think about this? 


Today, turn your attention to being effective. How much can you improve the way you do the  necessary, everyday things ? How well can you align what you are doing with getting to where you or your organization really want to go? How many of the priorities that make the biggest difference will you get done today? That's where your focus needs to be.

The Coach asks: 

  • What ARE the important things, that small handful of things that if you accomplished them, would make the biggest difference moving forward?
  • Make a list of these few things. How do they tie in with your personal purpose for being here, your faith, and your personal values? What does this tell you? 
  • Today, instead of doing a lot (to brag about,) do those things you outlined above. Be content in who you are and what you are currently doing. 
  • How does it feel to focus on just a few of the really important things?    


Some feel we may think about, plan for, and work at the really important things about 20% of our time. The other 80% is time spent shuffling ineffectively from one thing to another. Imagine what you could accomplish if you captured even a small portion of that unused capacity. Skip busy. Strive for smart, focused and balanced. Take action on it today.

The Coach asks:

  • Today, build on this new way of seeing yourself (as valuable and important,) and working (on the few important things.)
  • Don't shuffle through the day. Take some high-focus time, where you have no distractions, and get something important completed. Take advantage of that vital 20%.


Smile when others tell you how busy they are. You are ahead of the game.

The Coach asks: 

  • Of course you might not get rid of this tendency to brag about how busy you are, in just a few days. But work at it. 
  • What would be a better, and more positive response when someone asks you how you are? 
  • Resolve to never again belong to the "cult of busy," and participate in busy bragging. Ensure you have dealt with what was at the root of wanting to gain that type of attention. 

Spiritual Reflection for Christian Leaders

Gary Wood Christian Executive Leadership Coach

As a Christian Executive Leadership Coach I encourage Christian leaders to reflect on God's Word to add to their wisdom.

  • Jer 9:23,24  This is what the Lord says: "Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me ...
  • Pr 27:2  Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.
  • Eph 5:15 - 17  Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 
  • Ps 127:2  In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat - for he grants sleep to those he loves. 
  • Rm 14:23 And everything that does not come from faith is sin.
  • Jer 17:7,8  Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. 

If you are a leader, executive, or senior level professional looking to work with a Christian Executive Coach, I invite you to connect with me here.

If appropriate, we can meet by phone or Zoom to discuss your situation.

Record Your Progress

This is your opportunity to track your progress. Start by asking yourself how important this practice is to you? Record the importance as - not at all, somewhat, fairly, highly or extremely. 

Now next to it ask yourself how well you carry out this practice. Record your performance as - very poor, poor, okay, good or very good. 

Importance Performance Check

The things we track, we pay attention to. Across time, come back and record your new results. You will find that as you are intentional about making improvements, you will bump your "score" up higher. 

This is significant. Don't miss the opportunity to acknowledge your success, and use it as a springboard for making even further gain. 


Your schedule is yours to deal with. If it is overloaded, you need to attempt to make some structural changes. You are the leader. And you should have some control over your time.

Leaders know how big things get done. And it isn't by having too many things to do, but by doing those fewer things that make the biggest difference moving forward.

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G.E. Wood and Associates is an international coaching firm registered in Ontario, Canada
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