5.11.2015

Busyness


Can I share something with you today, friend? Something that has really been weighing on my heart? (I'm not really asking your permission, because I'm going to tell you anyways). That thing is BUSYNESS.

Being busy is often times something we pride ourselves on. It's a state that society tells us we must be in if we are doing anything productive with our lives. Oh, you have free time? Surely you're not working as hard as you could be. Am I right?

Lately, I have been troubled by the fact that busyness is also used as an excuse. If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say, "I'm just too busy to.... X, Y or Z." Well, today I am here to tell you that I think this is a lame excuse.

You aren't too "busy." You are just choosing not to prioritize that certain thing. I don't believe for a second that you're too busy to workout, cook a decent meal, or attend church on Sundays, especially when I see you tweeting about your latest Netflix binge or browsing Facebook at your desk. Especially when I know that you stayed out all night partying and slept until 11am.

When I hear, "Sorry, I'm just too busy," I feel like I might as well be hearing "Sorry, that's not at the top of my priority list."  See how those two things are different? One just feels less deceiving than the other. We make time for the things that matter to us. Using being busy as an excuse to not do certain things is a cop out. If it were important to you, you would make time for it. Right?

I'm not here to tout about how awesome I am, but I'm in graduate school working towards my PhD and somehow still manage to cook dinner every night, exercise, spend time with my spouse, play a strong role in my church, and run my blog. Sure, I'm busy but I never want to use that as an excuse. I prioritize what's important to me and when I can't fulfill someone's expectation, I try not to use the excuse that I'm too busy when I'm really saying it's not a shared priority. 

So, this week, I would encourage you not to use being busy as an excuse. I challenge you to ask yourself if your priorities are right. If something isn't at the top of your priority list, acknowledge that instead of using the excuse that you're too busy.

What do you think? Are you in?

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53 comments :

  1. Interesting read. I completely agree with you. I am busy, but the things that I don't get to are because they aren't at the top of my priority list. I know I will say that at work a lot, I will let someone know that the project is on my radar, but not at the top of my priority right now. However, I don't do it so much in my personal life though, I do just tell someone I'm busy. Maybe I should say that something isn't a top priority right now.


    Also, I totally agree that our society wears busyness like a badge of honor. That's bull. There is a lot to be said about having down time and how important that is to sanity and well being.

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  2. Totally. Sadly, our family doesn't value self care the way it does productivity. Because of that, we put so much of our time into work and staying busy that we forget to take care of ourselves.

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  3. Also- I tried to comment on your post today but it was giving me trouble. Congrats on the new addition to your family. I really think that more women need to hear those truths more consistently in their lives!

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  4. ABSOLUTELY. I think "people-pleasers" are definitely guilty of this! If you constantly want to make everyone else happy, it's often hard to be straightforward!

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  5. I agree that it comes down to priorities. I will admit...sometimes work is so exhausting that I just don't have the energy in me to do anything later...I think I need a less stressful job :) The hubs is out of town this week so that'll make it easier to prioritize this week...haha.

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  6. I think a lot of people feel similarly exhausted and that's totally fine to prioritize rest and self care over other things!!

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  7. I try to be really careful about saying I'm "too busy" to do things. I'm busy, yes, but I still manage to get a lot of things done - things that I choose to prioritize, like you said. I make time for the things that are important to me. Love this post!

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  8. It's nice to hear that people are thinking about the difference between being busy and just not making something a priority. I really appreciate that you have thought about this :)

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  9. I think it's an important distinction to make! I just wrote something similar recently in terms of finding/making time to work out. I get asked sometimes how I manage to work out so much and it's because I make it a point to fit it into my schedule. It's really that simple :/

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  10. TOTALLY. That's just one of the many things that drive me crazy. When something is important to you, you find a way to fit it in no matter how busy you are.

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  11. No lie, five minutes before I read this post I told someone I was "too busy" to research something for them just because I couldn't be bothered to do it when I easily could have. It's funny because using *too busy* as an excuse is honestly never something that I really payed attention to but I can totally see how it can be one of those small semi negative yet totally unnecessary things in life.

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  12. I got you, Cassie, I got you.

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  13. I love this! One of my favorite sayings is "we make time for things that are important to us". It's so true. I often get frustrated with friends for the same reason and just have to remind myself of that quote.

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  14. I sort of said this today too! :) I think it's easy to equate importance and purpose with the amount of things we're doing. And, well, I don't think that's really the case. Actually, I know it isn't the case because some of the most purposeful people I've met in my life are focused on doing a few things at the best level they can instead of ALL THE THINGS in a half ass manner.

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  15. I think you're so right. If you're doing something intentionally and with purpose, it shouldn't be overlooked in favor of doing a million things that you heart isn't in.

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  16. That saying is soooo relevant for my feelings hahaa. Yes. Friends are where I find this the most frustrating.

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  17. How timely ;) it's unrealistic to think we can drop it completely but I hope reading this will make you more aware at least :)

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  18. Whenever possible, I definitely just straight up say, "That's not a priority for me." That said, there are some people are are not always respectful of my priorities, and because of who they are *coughfamilycough*, saying, "I'm busy" can get them to leave me alone.


    Oh, and at work, due to a lot of things I won't go into, I frequently have to explain why xyz won't get done that day, not because it isn't important, but because I'm honestly assigned too much to do all at once.

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  19. Oh gosh, I didn't even realize this was/was becoming a pet peeve for me. I've had my feelings hurt by a few people when I've been given this same excuse and realized exactly the same thing you talked about. Being "busy" is a cop-out. Thanks for challenging us all to do better. I'm sure I've told someone that I'm too busy before and I don't want to be on that side of it either!

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  20. I was just talking about this. I struggle with "busyness"- I mean who isn't busy? But I'm actively working on making important things a priority and slowing down. I think we glorify busyness in this society and we accept it as an excuse.

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  21. ohh this strikes home! and so true! (and you inspire me!)

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  22. I am with you girlfriend. I am an extremely busy person, like, its out of control -- but I try not to use that as an excuse - because the things I'm busy with? They are all things I'm passionate about and I'm working towards a bigger goal. I hardly have free time because I'm working towards my dream job, constantly shooting/editing weddings and other events, volunteering weekly with church, running a blog and maintaining a marriage/friendships. PHEW! So my goal this month? Say "no" more...and be okay with it. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

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  23. I totally agree! I don't make dinner every night because it is lower on my priority list ;) but realizing that awhile ago was huge for me and my stress levels. There are things that I want to prioritize and things I feel like I need to prioritize. Mixing those together and really figuring out what that looks like for my husband and I was huge. SO we both know what we have made a commitment to spend time on - work, blog, community,date nights, healthy & active living, and a tidy (livable) house. Sometimes our laundry, deep cleaning, or fancy dinners get pushed to the side to allow for last minute visitors and we are okay with that! We have chosen our priorities!


    Great post on the importance of choosing our own priorities! It is always good to be reminded of why we do what we do and aware of any things we are doing that we really don't care much about (aka browsing Pinterest instead of working diligently on my blog posts! ;) )

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  24. I completely agree!! I definitely say I'm too busy for things but what I'm really saying is I have to do x,y,z before I get to anything else and clearly that is important. When I took a break from blogging because of school, I was busy but I was putting school, working out, and family, in front of blogging. It's all a priority thing. I totally agree

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  25. I think it's really great that you say it's not a priority! I'd much rather hear that from someone!

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  26. Thanks for the awesome comment. It's really interesting to hear that I'm not the only one bothered by this! I think it's just kind of a norm in our society and most people don't actually take the time to think about this in depth!

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  27. Totally! We definitely glorify it and I think its incredibly unhelpful!!

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  28. Exactly! We prioritize what is important to us and we shouldn't have to feel bad about it and as a result use busyness as an excuse!

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  29. Haha! I think it's really cool that you have talked about this in your marriage- it's so important and I think prioritizing often gets overlooked and can be detrimental for couples! You definitely have to be on the same page! Thanks so much for your encouragement and for the comment (that I'm just now getting off pinterest to respond too, jk).

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  30. Sorry you feel that way! You might think it's contradictory, and maybe it is, but this is my blog and my place to process through these things even if my thinking isn't completely linear. In all honesty, I'm having a hard time following your comment as well. I'd love to know what you think is judgmental and self-centered as that's not my intention.

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  31. I totally agree! I also am in the "you can tell me the truth, it won't break me" school. I understand if you don't want to do something, I would rather you told me you didn't want to do it than making any kind of excuse. obviously, don't be a jerk about it, but don't let me think that you wanted to do it. if that makes any sense...

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  32. Me too! I really respect honesty over most things!

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  33. Have you met many PhDs? Most of us with higher degrees tend to be MORE self-centered, including myself. Of course, not speaking for all people who have a PhD, MD, JD, etc., and certainly not for Cassie, because she is one of the least self-centered people I know. However, your characterization that PhDs are characteristically less self-centered leads me to believe you haven't met many. I feel like the general consensus amongst most of our society is that those of us who have higher degrees tend to be more self-indulged. Also, your comment seems to have very circular and contradictory reasoning.


    Source: I'm an attorney with a JD and self-centered.

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  34. Afraid of getting shamed on yoMay 12, 2015 at 1:25 PM

    I do see your point with this post. It probably is true that people sometimes use “I’m busy” when they really aren’t all that busy by their own standards. That said, I have to agree that your delivery here comes off as really judgmental. The threshold for feeling busy is different for everyone. Some people may truly feel busy when they do way less than you do and that doesn't mean they're making an excuse for themselves when they tell you they're busy. You're suggesting here that people have to live up to certain standards of busyness in order to actually be busy (otherwise they're making excuses) and I find that unreasonable.

    I hear what you’re saying about recognizing what your priorities are, but lots of people knowingly prioritize going out all night with their friends and checking in on loved ones on Facebook above the things that are priorities for you, like cooking meals and exercising. Neither hierarchy of priorities imply more or less busyness, they're just different. Is it really that unreasonable to believe that a person who takes a few minutes at work to go on Facebook can truly feel busy? At the very least, I don't think going on Facebook or having a Saturday night out with your friends turns you into someone who isn't busy. What I'm saying is, you don't have to be in graduate school, cook dinner every night, exercise, spend time with your spouse, go to church, AND run a blog to truly feel busy and be able to say "I'm busy!" without it being just an excuse. Someone can do lots of other combinations of things, and do fewer things, than you do and feel just as busy. So why are the people who are going on Facebook, going out on Saturday, and binging Netflix the ones lying about their feelings of busyness?

    Maybe instead of comparing other people’s priorities to your own and marking them as making excuses for themselves when they say they're too busy, you can try practicing empathy and putting yourself in their shoes. Better yet, if you see someone who seems to be chronically “busy,” maybe you can kindly and nonjudgmentally share with them your techniques for managing your time and priorities!

    Very thought provoking topic! Thanks for posting on it!

    Also, I would have posted with my real name but I wanted to avoid anything identifying given the discussion about Give me a Break's comment on your Twitter right now! I'm sorry!

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  35. My intention wasn't to say I can say I'm busy because I do the things I listed. My intention was to say those are things I prioritize. Sorry that you thought I was coming off as judgmental. If you wanted you to comment without people having the opportunity to respond, maybe emailing would have been a better outlet especially if you genuinely wanted to share you felt I was being judgmental. That definitely wasn't my intention and I'm sorry you took it that way.

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  36. Also- I wasn't comparing priorities. I was saying own your priorities, even if it's Facebook or a night out, instead of saying you're too busy to do something different.

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  37. I competely agree, and sometimes I forget how many things I schedule in one week, and am simply burnt out and overwhelmed. I always think that being upfront is the best policy and tell someone if I just can't make it work, (for the unneccessary things, like a pedicure with a friend). Prioritizing is key,and with this busy world of ours we all should use our calendars more, right?! I love your point about browsing facebook, or being out until 1 am, because I find that with the technology these days that people are constantly on social media and doing things that aren't needed instead of being efficient with their time. Great post!

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  38. Such a great post!! I'm guilty of doing this sometimes and I'be really been trying to own when I'm busy and when im not. Because as you said...everyone is busy but you can still make time for the things that are important. :) thanks for sharing!

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  39. I've struggled with a few friendships that ended essentially over busyness. When really they stopped prioritizing our relationship.

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  40. Yes! I think that's where my seemingly snarky comments about netflix and facebook came in for me (oops). It feels like it happens more frequently as we get older and have more responsibilities

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  41. Can I just say I love this soo much?? I agree with you completely. I feel like using the I'm to busy excuse is a way to essentially lie. Are you trying to protect the others person's feelings by saying that? Who knows. Definitely lies to yourself because if you (not you directly) has time for Netflix you definitely have time for a run!!

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  42. Thanks Melissa, not everyone saw my intentions with this post which is unfortunate, but it's nice to see you can relate. It definitely can feel like a lie sometimes!

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  43. How did I miss this post? I was scrolling through your blog today and caught the first few sentences, and it was an instant amen! For the past few years I've actively tried to change my language and avoid saying things like "I'm too busy to ___" or "I don't have the money to ___" and instead speak more honestly, like "I'm not making ___ a priority right now" or "I'd love to ___ but my financial priorities are ___." Sometimes it would be a lot easier to use those old excuses, and I think people might hear them and understand more quickly what I mean, but they aren't really true.

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  44. YES! I am totally guilty of doing that myself. I'm definitely not perfect. I'm so glad you can relate and that I'm not a crazy person for having these thoughts that totally go against society's norms haha

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  45. DUDE, YES. I have said this so many times, being busy doesn't mean you are better than anyone else. We ALL have things to do and need to make sure we are aligning our priorities well.
    PS I don't trust anonymous comments... just saying #rude

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  46. Hahahaha. Definitely rude. Thanks for understanding where I'm coming from!

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  47. Amen sister. I hate it when I ask someone how they're doing and their response is, "Oh I'm just so busy!" Busyness is a CHOICE! Learn to say no and slow it down people. Life is happening before your eyes and you're missing it. Ok...as you were...I'm done. :)

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  48. I hear you! So glad you see what I mean haha

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I would love to hear from you! I try to respond to all comments.