Less More & Less Busy

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” -Socrates

TASK AT HAND: This week I’m thinking about “the busy life”. When I ask friends how they are doing, the most common answer I get – irrespective of whether they work in medicine, business, entertainment or sports – is: “busy!”.

How’s the day going? -Busy!

How was the weekend? -Busy!

How’s the week looking? -Busy!


I hear it so much, I am reminded of this Henry David Thoreau quote multiple times a day: “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

Our language has a powerful effect on how we frame our relationships and strategy. Descriptors, like “busy”, create a disconnect from actions we perform. One is less able to extract meaning from an act that is defined in an impersonal manner such as “busy”. For the descriptor of “busy”, a strategy is simply to finish the event. Unfortunately, this is a rudimentary process because, in the end, what have you achieved? Completed a busy day? Almost always, the tasks have much more meaning that simply of being “busy”. You are living more than just a “busy life”.

For example, I see patients and perform surgery. There are days with more patients than others, some days with more complex cases, etc. I have three fantastic kids under 6 years old. Some days are marathons while others are sprints. Some days I enjoy the hectic pace while others I like the pauses for reflection. If I am left describing each of these different days as a homogenous “busy”, there is the deleterious effect of disconnecting me from what it is I am doing during those very different days. Instead, if you re-frame how you look at these “busy” actions, you can open the door to more engagement.

The call to action on today’s Sunday Surgical Scrub is to avoid using the word “busy” as a descriptor. Re-frame how you look at your tasks and actions.

How was your day? -It was a day with challenges that required me to…

How’s the week looking? -I’m looking forward to…

By simply changing the language you use to describe what you do or how you go about your days, has a demonstrative effect on your level of engagement. This approach allows you greater insight into managing challenges and resolving conflicts.


MEDICINE & MACULA: A few months ago, I had the privilege of being on a panel looking at best practices of the surgical technique of the dexamethasone intravitreal implant (Ozurdex). These events always remind me how much I learn from my wonderful colleagues. Many thanks to Seenu M. Hariprasad MD, Kimberly Drenser MD PhD, Sunir Garg MD and Bruce Saran MD!

For those interested, check out the publication here.


GRATIS: Happy Canada Day! Happy Independence Day!


My best to you,

David Almeida


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