The busyness excuse

The busyness excuse

How often have you heard the phrase ‘I’m busy’? How often have you said it yourself?

It’s true, many of us lead busy lives, juggling work, family and social events. We live in a culture where being busy has become the norm. If you’re not busy, then what are you doing with your life? When you are always busy, you are putting unnecessary stress on your mind and body.

Three ways to know when “I’m busy” is a problem

When it becomes your default answer

There is nothing wrong with being busy in itself from time to time, however it can be a problem when it becomes your default answer to any new request coming in.

Whether it’s your child, or a friend, or a coworker, when someone asks you for something, is your automatic response “I’m busy”? Or do you take a few moments to think and respond truthfully? Maybe you really are too busy in the moment and now is not a good time. In that case it would be more appropriate to say “I am busy right now, but let’s talk about it later this evening.”

I’m not suggesting you have to give attention to everyone who asks you for something, every time. Sometimes you give attention to those who scream the loudest, and this does not serve you. When possible, acknowledging the person’s request for your time and letting them know when you can address them is better than dismissing them only with a short statement.

When you are using it to avoid being honest

“I’m busy” is a problem if you are using it as an excuse to avoid dealing with uncomfortable situations.

Have you put off responding to an old friend who wants to get together, whom you no longer feel close to? Have you used the busy excuse to avoid a social event that you are not really interested in attending?

Instead of defaulting to the busy excuse, the next time you catch yourself, take a few minutes to gather your thoughts and respond with honesty. Maybe you are afraid of disappointing people. In the situation with your friend, you are doing both you and your friend a favour by being honest and letting them know your friendship has changed.

When you are not taking care of yourself

“I’m busy” is also a problem if you are using it to avoid taking care of your own wellbeing.

For example, how many times have you put off making a healthy meal and opted for fast food, because you think you just don’t have time to cook? Or how often have you put off going to the gym because you have too many other things to do?

It’s time to stop and ask yourself these questions and acknowledge when you have been putting yourself last due to overcommitments to work or other people. Are you making yourself busy because you are afraid to have quiet time to yourself?

It’s important to have downtime, or even an entire day with no plan, in order to be with yourself, to gather your thoughts, or to do absolutely nothing. When you stop making plans, life has a wonderful way of presenting new opportunities and ideas to you.

Drop the excuses

I believe that you make time for people and things that are important to you. Even if your calendar is completely full for the next month, it’s never too late to examine your priorities to free up time for people and things that are important to you, including yourself.

It may take a while to break an old habit of using the busy excuse, but with practice and self-inquiry, in time you may just find yourself wondering when was the last time you used the phrase “I’m busy.”

Originally published on ImageX Media Blog.