“When someone tells you they are too ‘busy’… It’s not a reflection of their schedule;
it’s a reflection of YOUR spot on their schedule.”
― Steve Maraboli
It’s happened to me many times. How about to you? Plans fall through because a friend/family member/acquaintance is suddenly “too busy” to participate/visit/chat. Have you heard these statements or similar ones?
“Oh I want to attend the blah-blah-blah concert, but it’s crazy-busy at work…”
“If I weren’t so darn busy I’d take that iPhone photography class that I really, really, want to take.”
“How am I doing? Not great. I’m so busy I can’t get anything done.”
“I’d love to volunteer. It’s just that right now is such a busy time…”
“One day, when I’m not so busy, I’ll ________ (fill in blank).”
It is a word people accept with little thought. Busy is good, right? Busy people are doing things. Busy people are to be admired because they are not sitting around stagnating.
I’ve heard some people have “busy envy.” They think, I don’t want to say nothing is new with me because so and so is always busy. She’ll think less of me if I don’t come up with a list of busy-ness that is comparable to hers. Oh my gosh! Maybe I AM a total slacker! Ack!
Lately I’ve been reading more about the concept of busy, and wanted to share a few thoughts that resonated with me. Why? Because I care about women’s happiness and know we’re run ragged by being busy.
From the book, You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero:
“When we are forced to do something, suddenly the time is there. Which means it’s there all the time, but we’ve just chosen to limit ourselves to believing that it isn’t. Ever notice how if you’ve got six months to do something, it’ll take you six months to do it, but if you have a week, it’ll take you a week? Once you understand that tie, like the rest of your reality, is in your mind, you can make it work for you instead of being its slave.
Here is a quote from the Wall Street Journal:
“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.”
And I love these gems by Derek Sivers and Tim Ferriss from the book, Tools Of Titans by Tim Ferriss:
Derek Sivers…Busy = out of control. “Every time people contact me, they say, ‘Look, I know you must be incredibly busy…’ and I always think, ‘No, I’m not.’ Because I’m in control of my time. I’m on top of it. ‘Busy,’ to me, seems to imply ‘out of control.’ Like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so busy. I don’t have any time for this shit!’ To me, that sounds like a person who’s got no control over their life.”
To which Tim Ferris replies, “Lack of time is lack of priorities. If I’m “busy,” it’s because I’ve made choices that put me in that position, so I’ve forbidden myself to reply to “How are you?” with “Busy.” I have no right to complain. Instead, if I’m too busy, it’s a cue to reexamine my systems and rules.”
And now into the Busy Season…
Hmmm. Today is Halloween. In a heartbeat it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and then the New Year. How many times will you hear the word “busy” in the days ahead? How many times will you hear it coming from your own sweet lips?
Maybe it’s time to reconsider what busy means to us, and what it costs us. Do we really have so little choice when it comes to our lives? Is our busy a source of happiness or numbness?
I’d love to know how you feel about being busy, “too” busy, and crazy busy. Is it good? Is it bad? Meh?
And no, you can’t wait until you’re less busy to think about it!
Barbara Dreyer says
At the suggestion of a friend I have eliminated using the word “busy” which triggered the feeling of ” frantic” in me. Instead, “I have several things to do”, implies choice and prioritizing. Thanks Gail!
What a great suggestion, Barbara! I’ve been trying hard to find a better replacement word as well. Thank you!