Busy is Good!

Being busy is a good thing when you own your own business, law practice, etc. I find it interesting, though, that other people do not share my perspective. From time to time, when speaking with someone who doesn’t quite appreciate that busy is good, I try to understand why. When this happens, the person to whom I’m speaking is usually not the firm owner, but rather, a staff member. I get it; sometimes the person’s pay does not change regardless of how busy he/she is, though often it does. Several incidents stick in my mind. One was a client’s paralegal who told me, when their case was resolved, “I hope we never need to hire you again. That case kept me so busy and I don’t like being busy…” Then there was an employee of ours who was happy when a client chose the lesser of 2 research options on a case – saying “I’m glad he only chose 2 groups, not 3 or 4.” We were stunned. Busy is what keeps the doors open, allows expansion, or, at least, allows payroll to be paid. Inevitably, we have times of feeling overwhelmed in terms of being busy, and there are other times when we wish for busy days. I was prompted to write this post after a recent lunch with a long time client who, when I said “How is business?” paused and said “Fine; we’ve got a lot of work right now.” He then went on to explain that he used to answer that question more grudgingly that he was “too busy” for other things. But, he’s learned to take work when it comes and adjust accordingly. It is somewhat common that I will contact a prospective client and end up with a “gatekeeper” (secretary or other assistant) who, in my response to me asking to speak with the big boss, says “He (or increasingly, she) is so busy.” My response for years has been that if they were not busy they would not need to speak with me. So when one is drowning in busy, deal with it knowing that things will change, whether adding help to the team or that the thing(s) making one busy today won’t last forever. Busy is good.

Busy is good. In fact, being busy is great! As the co-owner of a business, I am keenly aware that the only way we can survive, in the long term, is by being busy more often than not having work to do. Of course, as in most businesses, our work volume ebbs and flows, often due to factors beyond our control (such as court dockets), however, the name of the game, in business, is to have enough business to keep the doors open. As anyone who knows me well will verify, Monday is my favorite day of the week, not Saturday, Sunday, or any other day. The reason I like Mondays is because I am thrilled Magnus is busy enough to open for business each week. After 25 years of owning and operating Magnus with David, Mondays are still something that excites me! Many people I know, who have always worked for someone else, dislike being busy at work, preferring instead, to sit around, idly checking their social media accounts or making personal phone calls (on their boss’ “time,” I daresay). I have never understood the perspective of these people. I think anyone who does not want to work or be busy while working, performing job related tasks, should stay home and watch TV, or take a nap, or eat bon bons. As David mentions, our clients are busy people; if they were not, they would certainly be the type of attorney to never need our help. When I talk to a client and inquire “How are you doing?” there are many times when the response is “I’m very busy with cases and clients right now.” When I hear this remark, I respond “Great!” and the attorney always appreciates that I get it. It’s great to have meaningful work to do and in our case, work that helps people. Furthermore, it is wonderful to be paid to perform work that one enjoys and to have enough work to do to pay the bills and enjoy life. As David says, busy is good.

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