Are you busy… or just full of your own self importance?

Do you encounter the kind of people at work who always say they are busy and continuously seem flustered or stressed? Surely there must be a way for them to get on top of their work and deal with it in a more controlled and calm manner.

People with high levels of narcissism fear being seen as inferior so they compensate by telling people they are busy all of the time. According to Pennsylvania State University these people are driven to give off the impression of being chaotic, to cover up their feelings of despair and lack of importance. So what are the signs and how can you avoid being that annoying ‘fake busy’ person.


1. They always seem preoccupied – To avoid appearing relaxed or calm, these people raise their eyebrows, frown or squint to seem like their mind is always in a state of overload. Stop pulling strained facial expressions unless you really have to!


2. They always seem like they have to rush – They will constantly be checking their phone, walking unusually fast and only half joining a conversation. If this sounds like you, when you are with someone always try to give them your full attention otherwise it can seem rude and obnoxious. If you are really busy, simply apologise and suggest a better time to talk.


3. They exaggerate their tasks – They’ll use any opportunity to make themselves sound like a true busy professional. An example could be them having a call with someone they know to discuss business opportunities but they decide to tell everyone they have an important conference call. Or they’ll post things on social media to give the impression that they are in a position of prominence in their job; such as travelling on planes, trains or checking in to all of the conferences they go to. If this is you, be more open and honest about your tasks rather than embellishing them with more elaborate labels. Avoid using social media to boast about work.


4. They always make you wait for them to arrive – By forcing people to wait for them it puts the other people in a position of lower power which is appealing to the ‘busy person’. This person will never show up first to a meeting or they will always be late, whether that is to events inside or outside of work. If this is you, simply make a conscious effort to show up on time.


5. They are always too busy to reply – They tell you they have been too busy to reply to you, yet you always see them on their phone or emails not looking overly busy. If this is you, explain the real reason that you can’t reply or set time aside to make sure you respond. Ignoring them all together is just plain rude.


If you are genuinely poor at time management then make sure you read our article on how to improve.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 23rd May 2018