Monday, December 29, 2014

Why I Stopped Saying "I'm Busy"

It's become almost an automatic response to the question "how are you?"

"I'm busy!"

"We are just so busy!"
"It's just a busy time of year!"

I don't question the validity of those statements for a second. And I wholeheartedly agree 100%.

But it's getting on my nerves.

Why? Well, for starters it's not unique to any one person. It's become so much of a norm in our lives that it almost doesn't deserve mention. It goes without saying.

And I think people use it as an "out." It's become an excuse for not returning a phone call, responding to an e-mail, taking on an extra project or attending an event. Yes, I've had my fair share of moments where I have forgotten one (or all) of the above items because I've been busy. But using as a preemptive strike? Not cool.

What's at the root of busy schedules? Is it because we are overworked parents? Or because we are caring for a sick loved one? Do we have too much on our plates between family, work and volunteer activities? If yes....then let's say so! Let's start being honest, truly honest, with each other in our exchanges. Let's tell each other flat out, "I'm interested but I cannot make that a top priority right now but I can get it to you in the next two weeks." Or "No, I'm sorry. I cannot committee to one more thing but here's what I can do." Or "I'm really struggling right now with (fill in the blank). I know this is important to you and I will do the best I can do to meet your expectations."

Can we all just agree, in 2015, to acknowledge we are all busy without having to actually say it? Or if we must say it, to not use the phrase so flippantly? I'm truly looking for a honest answer to the question "how are you?"; it's why I asked in the first place.

Can we start being a little bit more genuine (and gentle) with each other in this new year? I think we'll find we become a little less "busy" when we take moments to better understand and connect with each other. Our "busyness" is relative and temporary, as is everything else in life. Let's not waste time on empty statements. Let's make our daily exchanges more meaningful.  I think in doing so we will gain more that we ever imagined.