It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

She walked into my office and asked if I was busy. I replied that I was, but I’d make the time for her.

After we spoke, I found myself wondering about this word, “busy.” Yes, I’d characterize myself as busy. Too busy much of the time.

The following week, I gave a talk to 25 new safety professionals in the Air Force. I spoke about what it takes to succeed in EHS, what’s happening in the field, and answered a variety of questions. One student asked me, “What have you been able to accomplish as the safety career field manager?” As I replied with a few specific areas we’d grown in and seen success towards, this word “busy” reentered my mind.

None of the ideas that led to the biggest changes had occurred when I was busy. Every single accomplishment had begun on a Wednesday morning, when I schedule four hours for professional reading, brainstorming, prioritizing, and planning. No email, no phone calls, nothing else.

Everyone is busy. As an EHS professional, you too will get busy with the urgent and important. But it’s the scheduled down-time that often carves a path towards success.

Are you busy?

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