For many years of my life, I used being busy as an excuse. An excuse for delayed responses, not connecting with friends or not participating in an activity. As I’ve gotten older and spent more time in the business world, I’ve become acutely aware that this excuse is an exceptionally poor one. The reality is that everyone is busy. I really do have a lot on my plate, but so does everyone else. So, why is our first excuse when we don’t feel like doing something to say we are too busy? What I’ve begun to realize is that while that excuse allows us to rationalize our behavior, it is especially disrespectful to those we say it to. By doing that, we are essentially stating that we are busier than the person we are speaking too. Which we likely don’t actually know. Unless you are very aware of someone else’s work load, personal life stressors, etc., you don’t actually know how busy they are or are not.
This is something I am continuing to recognize in how I approach others. If you think this may be an area of growth for you too, here are some ideas to consider:
- Don’t use the excuse of “I’m too busy” or “I’ve got so much going on, I can’t think about this.” Yes, this may be very true but you are inherently not acknowledging what other people might have going on. Try rephrasing this statement when communicating with people.
- Be honest with yourself. In the same vein, you need to be honest with yourself and others when you have too much going on. Identifying this as soon as you possibly can will allow you to turn down opportunities that you need to remove yourself from.
- Create margin in your life. Summit Church just recently had a phenomenal sermon on margin. The focus of the sermon was on financial margin but I think the same considerations can be made for creating time margin. You need to have margin in order to be flexible with what is going on in your life. If you do not have margin and something else comes up, you could explode. (I know, I’ve been there.)
- Do take responsibility. One of the best lessons I’ve learned since entering the workforce is that it is better to be up front and take responsibility than creating an excuse. Even if I got overwhelmed and busy with something, it doesn’t mean that it is okay for me to neglect something else. If you’ve been late on a project or missed a friend’s birthday party, don’t make an excuse, just take responsibility and make a commitment to try better next time.
The next time you think that you are the busiest person in the room, remember that everyone else feels the same. Instead of using your busyness as an excuse, choose to make changes to create margin and take responsibility for your state of being.