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Transcending Busyness and the Fast Pace of Life

December 19, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Featuring Busyness Researcher Dr. Ann Burnett

Former NDSU Professor, Dr. Ann Burnett, leads the Trinity Health team on Transcending Busyness and Navigating the Fast Pace of Life, especially during the holiday season. With numerous family obligations, work responsibilities, and the transition to the HCMD, our Trinity Health team is no stranger to busyness, but Dr. Burnett helps us reframe our perspective so we can enter this next season renewed and ready to take on whatever comes next. Dr. Burnett is an esteemed researcher studying interpersonal communication and the impact of busyness on our wellbeing and relationships. Dr. Burnett has been published in numerous academic journals and speaks all over the US about the impacts of busyness on our lives. 

Key Takeaways

Why are we so busy?
· More hours spent working/economic progress​
· More challenges with work/life balance​
· Less leisure time​
· Technology​

What is communicated?
Out of habit, we often make sure to tell others “I’m so busy.” It may be the excuse we give when we decline an invitation, we can say it in passing to keep the conversation moving, and we can say it as a means to prevent additional tasks being assigned to us. However, when we are quick to say “I’m too busy” what we unintentionally communicate to the other person is “you aren’t worth it / I don’t have time for you” which can negatively impact our relationships and connection to others. 

How can we address chronic busyness?
Here are a few ways we can combat this addiction to busyness:
· Be aware​ of how you talk about time
· Change the way you communicate about time​
· Don’t compare yourself to others; embrace your choices​
· Don’t waste time​
· Think about time differently ​
· Admit when time isn’t a problem​
· Start taking care of yourself​
· Volunteer​
· Connect with worship, higher power​

What about busyness in healthcare?
· Be present: Work your hours then leave with confidence.
· Let go: Figure out what you can give up.
· Include: Treat everyone with respect and nurture a positive culture.
· Inform: Transparently share what you know with the team.
· Inquire: Consistently solicit input from the people you lead.
· Develop: Nurture and support the professional development and aspirations of staff.
· Recognize: Express appreciation and gratitude to employees in an authentic way.
· Say no: This can be very freeing!

An Exercise for the Holiday Season

As you work to reframe your relationship to busyness and reclaim a sense of ownership and intention with your time, try the exercises below:

-Take a look at the Holiday cards you receive this year and note the language you see. How many cards use language about the family being so busy?

-What are you sharing in your Holiday letters to family and friends? Do you feel the pressure to over-emphasize how busy you’ve been?

-Pay attention to how you reply when people ask you “How are you doing?” Try a different response than “Great, but so busy!” and note if you experience a more meaningful interaction as a result.

Take the Quiz

What pace of life are you living?

In Dr. Burnett’s Busyness research, she uses numerous tools to assess the pace of life of her participants. Try this abbreviated quiz to assess the speed of life you’re currently leading. 

Tally your scores and then click the “next” arrow on the right side of the picture to see how you scored.

Download the Handout

Busyness and Communication in Healthcare from Dr. Ann Burnett

This helpful infographic PDF offers some insight into why we’re so busy as a culture, how our relationships are affected, and what we can do to start addressing our chronic busyness and reclaiming our sense of calm and ownership over our time.

Download the PDF

Background Info on Speaker Dr. Ann Burnett

Listen to Dr. Burnett discuss How Being Busy Became a Badge of Honor via MPR News

About Leadership Roundtables
Leadership Roundtables are monthly insights from leading industry experts on subjects that help enhance our Leadership Quest. These 1 hour “lunch-and-learn” style virtual trainings are streamed live in the Skyline Room with an opportunity to engage with the leaders and ask questions about applying their lessons to your own leadership.   


December 19, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Skyline Room at Trinity Health