The busiest man in the world

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Monday 11 November 2013

The other day I saw the busiest man in the world.

Now before I go on, what are you thinking? An overachieving executive with no spare time at all? A person whose daily to-do list is roughly the same as your yearly one? Someone who just can’t delegate enough and has even had to consult a wantologist?

Well before I tell you about him I need to tell you about my own little busy classification system and the way in which I like to label people. For what purpose? So you will come to understand why I found this man so incredible.

Firstly there are the busy looking people. I’m sure you know the type, such as a colleague of mine, who whenever asked how he is, always replies in one of three ways – “Busy busy busy”, “Oh, just flat out, never been busier”, or my personal favourite “Busy as a one-legged man in a butt kickin’ contest”. This is the same guy who takes an hour for coffee, a twenty minute smoko (although he doesn't smoke), and long lunches. I honestly believe if for just one week he stopped telling people how busy he was and hopped in and did his work, he would probably win that butt kickin contest hands down.

Secondly, there are the busy procrastinators. These people are actually relatively busy. However they are so busy doing things they don’t need to do, that they actually avoid ever doing the things they are supposed to be doing. I once had a friend at university, (I have had other friends since then) who regularly didn’t have toilet paper in the house. Instead there would often be a box of tissues or if things got really desperate the 1983 A-K phone book*** sitting next to the toilet. When asked why there wasn’t any toilet paper, they replied “Oh, I just didn’t have time to buy it this week. I was too busy”. Modern corporate gurus call this a paperwork prioritisation problem, but I call it idiotic.

Thirdly, there are the people who binge on busyness. These people are also relatively busy but work so hard on their desired tasks that they either run out of puff and have a break down, or they work so hard that in order to recover they have to binge on taking time off, in complete contrast to their previous temporary beaver like activity.

But I guess you’re still wondering about the guy I saw and the guy I labelled as the busiest man in the world. Was he busy looking, or busy procrastinating or busy binging on busyness? Perhaps, but I am more worried that he is not even on my taxonomy chart of busyness. So who was it?

This is not the man I saw. While strange, I do not get
this close behind people when taking a photograph of them. 
It was a man standing in a public pool, waist deep, board shorts on, with his son splashing around him. Nothing unusual about that. But he was on his mobile phone. Making business calls.

Now I don’t care whether you think that is foolish, unwise, or even dangerous (for the phone or his son), but that guy must be busy. And that is the guy who I have called “the busiest man in the world”.

*** This may or may not have been sitting next to the toilet. It could have been a 1984 edition.


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