“Please stop complaining about how busy you are”

“Please stop complaining about how busy you are”
by Kirk Wakefield – October 2013

I’m guilty. What about you?

When I read that headline posted by my friend J.W. Cannon, I realized one thing: When people contact me they don’t care how busy I am. They want to know I care. About them. About whatever it is that motivated them to contact me.

What happens if someone always reminds you how busy they are? After a while, you get the picture and stop contacting them. That’s not the image I want others to associate with me. I’d much rather be known as an effective time manager.

What do we need to do?

#1 Stop trying to signal importance.

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Joan C. Williams

“How do the elite signal to each other how important they are? “I am slammed” is a socially acceptable way of saying “I am important.” Fifty years ago, Americans signaled class by displaying their leisure: think banker’s hours (9 to 3). Today, the elite display their extreme schedules.” ~Joan Williams[/dropshadowbox]

Some of the busiest people I know are never too busy to respond. They are important but don’t act like it. These are CEOs, CROs, COOs, and SVPs of some of the best sports franchises in North America. What is their secret?

First, they care enough to respond. 

Second, they understand people just want a response. It can be yes, no, or wait. A non-response just means another email or call. More time.

Before the era of email we were taught to handle a piece of paper once. Same principle applies: Act on it. Delegate it. File it. Trash it.

#2 Realign priorities. Really.

The bottom line: We do what is important to us. No one forces me to have a busy schedule. I must face the reality: It’s my choice.

J.W. Cannon
J.W. Cannon

As J.W. shared with me, “Busy people need to learn to prioritize tasks better, otherwise they will get bogged down in minutia. Focus on what’s most important first and foremost, and note those things that can wait.”

Sometimes even your profile pic tells others something about what’s important in life.

#3 Just say “no.”

Many people think “no” is an unacceptable answer to give. They avoid answering. The exact opposite is the truth.

As Clint Eastwood said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.

We respect people who can tell us no. A solid no allows us to move on to next. Non-response wastes the time of both parties.

As J.W. continues, “Learn to say ‘no.’ There’s no harm in letting people know you don’t have the capacity to handle something. There’s still only 24 hours in a day; trying to stretch that just leads to unproductive busy work.”

#4 Get smart.


  1. Take a time management course. Read the “One Minute Manager.” Too busy? Listen while driving or exercising. Click here and buy, like I just did.
  2. From Tony Schwartz: Begin workdays by focusing for 90 uninterrupted minutes on the one task you decide the night before is the most important. Turn off email. Close all windows on the computer. Let the phone go to voicemail. After 90 minutes, take a break.
  3. Cut useless meetings, especially if you’re in charge. If the meeting doesn’t include interchange, energize, or lead to new opportunities, cut it.

What do you think?

Aldo Kafie
Aldo Kafie

Aldo Kafie, Group Director at Octagon Sports, nails it: “If you can’t prioritize and delegate then you’ll always be ‘busy’.” 

So, there, I hope this helps solve everyone’s problems with busy schedules. Let me know if you have other ideas or comments. Hopefully I won’t be too slammed this week to respond! Click the Tweet button below: @kirkwakefield #toobusy


Cover photo courtesy of Peter Schmutz.


How Will Teams Stay Personal In This Social Media Era?

How Will Teams Stay Personal In This Social Media Era?
by Bryan Apgar – May 2013

Look at these “kids” these days; all they do is tweet, text,  and Facebook each other and don’t get out and do anything together. Some even sit in the same room texting each other.

Social media can help or hinder personal relationships. You might react to these “kids” like I do sometimes. Or, you might see social media as offering opportunities for new and extensive personal relationships, especially when relating to your customers.

Let’s look at a few ways social media can be used to keep or create a more personal level with your customers.


Low touch media = High touch service

Long gone are the days of dial up internet or even DSL internet (which we used to think was lightning speed).

Everything has to be faster. We need our information faster, our answers faster, everything faster. That makes social media the perfect medium.

Several months back I was having some issues with my cable/internet company (to remain nameless). While on the phone on hold,  I tweeted something along the lines of “having issues, terrible service, #onhold, @companyx.”

Within seconds I had a tweet back from a company rep asking me to direct message them so I could give them my number and they could call me immediately.

I was just trying to let my frustration out (albeit it to my low number of twitter followers), but was immediately contacted and had the situation resolved because of the instantaneous nature of social media.  What we might think of as impersonal and low touch, but the immediate service response times via social media communicates a higher level of personal attention:  “They must really care about me.”

Hangout with Brady Heslip
Hangout with Brady Heslip

Get personal

Social media gives the customer a greater sense of being “a part” of something.  Especially in the sports industry, fans are very passionate about their teams and players.  Fans join groups, like pages, follow certain players, teams, reports, and blogs. The list can go on and on.

Through those verticals, we can open up a community that helps bring people together and increases their connections with the team.  Doing contests, tweet photos, text to win, tag yourself here, etc. are a great way to get fans to directly connect with the team. And it allows the team to show a personal connection back.

Tweeting contest winner’s names makes it personal, especially for that person who won.  How cool is it to have your favorite team tweet or post your name or picture?  And even those that didn’t win like it because they can see it and think, “Wow that’s cool, hope I win next time” or even “Wow, I know that person.”

Increase transparency

Social media can also open up the transparency of a team.  Give a behind the scenes look that people would not normally get to see.  Social media allows for interaction through Google hangouts, or Twitter and Facebook Q&A’s with a player or coach that would not normally happen.  Fans love just seeing pictures or comments posted by players that delve more into their personal lives.HBR tip

So whether we want to brand social media as hindering or helping in personal connections, we can probably all agree that it is an effective way to bring community, stay connected, and increase personal connection with your fans.

Some of us can’t seem to put down our phones or be away from iPads, computers, or tablets. Our world might seem to be losing the in-person-to-person connection, but properly used, social media can increase our perceptions of personal connections.