Why I Dislike “Just Look Busy”

I almost didn’t want to publish this.  It didn’t turn out quite like I had planned.  Maybe I’ll revise it… eventually.

So it’s a slow day at work and you are having a hard time finding things to do.  Or perhaps what you’re doing doesn’t take much effort but you don’t want people to form a misconception that you’re lazy.

But I dislike this idea.  Here’s Why:

  •  If someone needs help they won’t feel as though they are able to ask you as easily because you … look busy.!  You’re not as friendly to approach as someone who is genuine, free to help.
  • You aren’t showing that you are capable of taking on more work and more responsibility.  You have time to do more tasks, and more work, which is why you need to look like you’re keeping busy.

To me it’s strange that people just assume that because you don’t look busy that you’re lazy.  That you’re not doing more, or that because you’re “slacking” you could be doing a better job.  Although this is generally true, the only times I ever make the appearance that I could do more is when I am placed into a situation where my abilities are literally being limited.  Like if three people are assaigned to a job that can be completed by one, and I am not allowed to leave. … I have gotten much better at expressing that I can do more, as well as people trusting me, so this specific situation does not happen anymore.

So when you see someone who you think is being lazy I want you to think of these points before you slap the label on them:

  • Are there any additional tasks that they could do be doing.  Could they be doing something to increase efficiency that would be accomplished if they gave it more focus?
    • “You’re just lazy” doesn’t open up any discussion and only is a simple insult.  If you feel as though they aren’t pulling their share then give them the suggestion, “hey do this as well.”  Maybe you thought of something that needs to be done and they obviously have the time.  This indicates that you expect more from them.  If they act as though you’re imposing your work on them, and they don’t notice the imbalance of work – then call them lazy.

When I am working I like to keep a very friendly informal environment.  I’ll talk to people and try to keep a dialog.  Maybe ask them about their day or tease them.

For all those ignorant fools who get upset about the amount that I multi-task my notes while working.

  • How many times have you timed every minute of your day in order to determine the most efficient way to perform each task?
  • How often do you perform tasks slower just because you’re paid by the hour, and won’t make more anyway?
  • You can work as hard as you want, work smart or work hard.

I like to say that I can take any task and make it look easy/simple.  I might be counting seconds, making precise calculated movements, using years of experience or something like that.  And that’s why it looks easy, because I’ve done all that.


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