Do you know one of THE most common phrases I hear?

I’ve just been SO busy I just haven’t managed to… you can fill in the blanks as I’m sure most of us have used this excuse for something, right?

I mean, yes we are all busy people but is one person busier than the next? I see Jacinda Ardern running the country, being a mum, wearing great earrings, plus looking after her nutrition and exercise (she has a 30-minute exercise routine and she’s a vegetarian). If she can manage this then we aren’t too busy to look after ourselves and put some self-care strategies in place rather than self-sabotage.

Janet Choi, in Busyness is Not a Virtue translates, “I’m busy” as one of several messages, including:

  • I matter. Being busy means I’m needed and significant in this great big universe. Though going around literally telling people, “I matter!” and expecting some sort of substantive conversation to result would be really weird. I’ll just say “I’m busy!” instead.
  • I am super-important. Doling out complaints and explanations about being too busy is the express line to a mini-ego trip. It’s going beyond “I matter” to “I matter… more than you” despite the fact that nobody ever wants to hear this.
  • I’m giving you an easy excuse. This is one of the easiest outs for stuff I don’t want to do. Alternatively, I’ve spent a lot of time being distracted or stuck, but this excuse allows me to feel okay with it.
  • I’m afraid. I keep relentlessly busy because I suffer from fear of missing out. I’m scared that I don’t matter, that I’m not important, that I’m not needed, so I’m going to spend my time on distracting stuff that doesn’t really matter, that’s not all that important, where I’m not actually needed.
  • I feel guilty. There’s fulfilling, meaningful stuff that I actually do want to do but I can rationalize it away instead of confronting challenges or changing direction. Alternatively, I think being busy is such a valuable quality that I’ll overbook myself to the point where I feel guilty for not getting to everything or for spending time on anything that doesn’t fit into a limited definition of “productive.” Busy is the new lazy.

As Choi puts it, “Interestingly, I find that most people who are legitimately occupied — with their work, or family, or art, or what-have-you — rarely play the ‘too busy’ card, or go out of their way to make time for meaningful connection exactly because they’ve been busy.” She’s right. Whenever I hear someone say to me they’ve been really busy, I have to say I am a little bit sceptic. Are you becoming a slave to your family schedule or your job? How much time are you really spending on your phone? The average person spends 5 hours and 40 minutes a day (A DAY) on their phone and 2 hours 22 minutes of that is social media… hmmmm, still feeling busy?

Sometimes, IMHO, being ‘busy’ can be a safety net. Because not being busy can create anxiety or open up gaps we don’t want to address. Such as a lack of exercise or not being good with one’s nutrition. I reckon this creeps up on us and we feel overwhelmed with no plan. Before every class I plan. If I didn’t have a plan it would be an awful class wouldn’t it? Every weekend I plan meals and snacks, otherwise I know I won’t have the time during the week. When I don’t log my food (this is my biggest weakness) I don’t make my nutrition goals. When you go on a long journey you have a plan right? If you didn’t would you know where to go? So start your plan, use the information you already have, make a time to regularly check in with me and plan.

I don’t think this behaviour is ever intentional, more a coping mechanism – is this you? If so, get in touch and let’s sort out some strategies to address this. Also I want to link this to a previous blog on saying ‘no’ to stuff as I think these two topics are linked.

I also reckon the people who complain the least of being busy are the ones who are quietly and consistently making the gains. My last post to Facebook about the lady who recently lost the 12 kg? Yup, busy working mum, training for an ultra and has some amazing hobbies she finds time to do. She never mentioned being busy but I know she is. 🙂

By the way, I wrote this while I was supposed to be busy studying…