When I stepped on the elevator a few mornings ago the other guys on my floor either didn't notice me or didn't mind me hearing their complaints about their colleague Bob. Apparently Bob was overworked and under appreciated - at least that's what Bob was always saying to his co-workers. The gentlemen on the elevator were having none of it. Instead, the guys were enumerating all of the different ways Bob wasted his time. He was on engadget; he took frequent trips to tbe breakroom to warm up his coffee; he stood in the hall way and complained about being busy. Bob was a talker and, based on the emotion I saw on the elevator, he was getting on people's very last nerve.
I don't know Bob's side of the story. Of the story I heard, I only eavesdropped for seven floors. Still, two principles jumped out at me:
1. Stop saying you're busy. Most people I know are swamped with their jobs, their family , their life. Let's just assume that everyone has more things to do than they have time to do them. Complaining about it doesn't endear you to others. Just the opposite. It turns you into a target where people start evaluating your choices. They will take shots at how you prioritize. They will pay attention to how often you post on Facebook and whether your tweets are coming through in the middle of a meeting. Saying that you're busy doesn't engender empathy.
2. Do your work while you're at work. If you have time to surf the internet and chat in the break room and complain, you probably have more time than you think . Take those minutes and devote them to focusing on that project. If you're a work horse at work you'll probably have less time for complaining and your colleagues will have less fodder for their elevator trips.