Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tip Tuesday: Stop Saying You're Busy

I remember once, when I was living in Morocco, a good friend of mine had to schedule a Skype conversation with me four weeks out in advance. She was pretty busy. I tend to think that we make the time for things we want to make time for in our lives, and I was flabbergasted that she couldn't find the time anywhere for a little conversation with me. 

My life has gotten pretty busy itself in the past year.  What with my job as executive director, being a Girl Scout troop leader, friends, family, time for me, exercising, relaxing, you know the list goes on and on. Typically, I really like this busy pace, things to keep me occupied, always places to go and people to see. But I also truly love just doing nothing, and so many of us feel that we are doing something wrong if we have nothing to do. 

At a certain point in time we began associating being busy with being important.  Instead of busy just being the opposite state of available, we now have turned it into the humble brag in which we are trying to say "I matter." We listen to other peoples' rants on how busy they've been and we somehow equate that person with being productive, good, and interesting.

"How have you been lately?" 
"Oh man, I've been super busy."

I hate it when we use "busy" as an excuse and apology as to why we have been neglecting certain areas of our lives. For example, you haven't seen a certain friend in a long time, and you try to justify it by saying you've been too busy. Everyone is busy. You are not the only one wrapped up in your busyness. How do you expect to enjoy wonderful relationships and have enjoyable experiences if you don't stop claiming you're busy and live your life? There are people and things out there that are going to make time for you. You need to make time for them back. 

Keep these things in mind next time "busy" tries to come out of your mouth:

1. Busy is a choice-I am involved in a lot of things. But I am involved in them because I like them. I like leading a Girl Scout troop, I like meeting new people at Jackson Youth Professionals Meetings. But it is ultimately my choice to be involved. I can choose to scale back my involvement at any moment. 

2. Busy is not a feeling- If you say you are busy to the question "how are you" you are not really telling that person how you are. Busy might be covering up true feelings like stress, anxiety, loneliness, or low self-esteem. Identify your true emotions here. 

3. It's an easy out- A lot of us use this one to get out of doing something you really don't want to do, myself included. Sometimes it can lead people on however, if you really don't want to be a part of something, you should really just try to explain to that person why. 

4. It sounds a little crass- When you tell someone you are too busy, you are basically saying to are too busy for them. And it implies that the other person doesn't have enough going on. But as I said before, everyone is busy, and we all need to compromise and make sacrifices to keep meaningful relationships going. 

5. Re-frame your speech, re-frame your mind- I don't really see busy as a positive thing so if we say we are busy we are just going to keep overwhelming ourselves. Truth is, most of the time, we are busy doing wonderful things. Don't discount the great things you are doing by summing them up to busy. Instead when someone asks how you've been tell them exactly what it is you've been into. You will still sound busy, but you are giving yourself the much needed credit for doing the things that have taken so much of your time. Instead of calling your life busy call it active, lively, or eventful.