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\"I'm So Busy...\"

Posted by
07 Jul 2014

How many times a day do you hear the words "I'm so busy"?

There has been so much written over the last 12 months about being busy and an article caught my eye last week on LinkedIn; it discussed how the words "I'm busy" have become a standard response and that many people feel they should be busy as this means that they are doing something important with their lives.

This has led to people actually bragging about being busy and, as Greg McKeown puts it "Busy, is code for being successful and important."

I am writing today more about being busy in our time outside of work rather than in work.

We have all used being busy as an excuse for forgetting a friends birthday, not going to the gym, or not completing a piece of work. The excuse being busy is rarely challenged and so is easy, but there is a real reason behind the excuse - you forgot your friend's birthday, you didn't feel like going to the gym, and you weren't quite sure about how to complete the piece of work.

Be honest with yourself and don't hide behind being busy.

I have been guilty of using the busy excuse, but when I stopped and looked at why I didn't have any free time it was because I filled my diary with various commitments that it was near impossible to meet. As much as they were fun and enjoyable things to do, I realised that I couldn't do everything I wanted to do. 

This realisation came when one Saturday when I had planned a day at a theme park in Staffordshire, a family meal in Manchester and then an engagement party in Wales. I did make it to all three events but couldn't fully enjoy them as I was always thinking about the time and the journey to the next place.

In my free time and weekends now, I always try to leave some space where I can do something relaxing. This will mean different things to everyone, but it's important to do whatever is relaxing to you.

I also try not to use my phone during this time, as reading an e-book or listening to music on your smartphone can be interrupted at anytime by an alert, reminder, the temptation to check work emails...and the list could go on.

Many of the articles and books about being busy state that people feel guilty about making free time to relax, like the time could be better spent, which is a mindset that needs to change.

A common recurring solution to this busy epidemic is to say no, but not only to the things that you don't want to do, but to the things that you want to do. It is difficult, but surprisingly helpful. If you sometimes feel that you need another two days off work after the weekend is over, try this and see what a difference it can make.

How often do you use the excuse that you're "so busy" - and have you taken any steps to change this behaviour? Leave your experiences and opinions below.

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