The four-letter B-word, B-U-S-Y, is no stranger to any PR professional. We work in an industry notorious for extreme time crunches and tight deadlines and it wasn’t too long ago we were named the #2 highest caffeinated industry, moving up in the rankings from #9 in 2010.
Being “busy” has recently spurred a national (maybe even international) debate; making at least New Yorkers take a second look at the way they spend their 168 hours a week. Tim Kreider of the New York Times argues in The ‘Busy’ Trap that in today’s fast-paced world we identify ourselves by our level of ‘busyness’, which he defines as being a self-induced defense mechanism to avoid the ‘emptiness’ we feel when alone or to simply justify the guilt we feel when not working.
Although every so often it’s good to take a step back and evaluate where we spend our time or how to maximize our productivity, as discussed in the Wall Street Journal, Kreider’s argument is short-sighted because it doesn’t account for those who actually prefer busyness to idleness.
As a PR professional, as much as I’ve secretly wished for Google alerts to stop flooding my inbox at odd hours of the night, like most people in the industry I would be worried rather than relieved if my phone stopped ringing altogether. My busyness stimulates me, pushing me to think critically and evaluate problems in new ways and I most certainly wouldn’t trade it in for the alternative.
Yet, although the majority of PR pros thrive on busyness, it is our productivity – namely our ability to provide strategic and innovative communications solutions quickly and efficiently, generate coverage and build awareness amongst our target audiences – that really matters to clients. And as long as our clients continue to see excellent results, then our level of busyness is neither here nor there to them.