Back in the Spring of 2015 I was attending a leadership conference when the facilitator started talking about the word busy. Before being a facilitator she worked in a big time, terribly demanding corporate job, and according to her team, she was known for being busy. Initially she felt it was the truth and there was no way to change that fact – she was, after all, very busy. After awhile though, she realized that it wasn’t what she wanted to be known for and sought ways to change it.
After hearing that story I started to wonder exactly what we mean when we say we are “busy”. What is it that we are trying to communicate?
For example, on a recent Saturday my husband stayed at home to get some things crossed off his list, and I went to a dance class and to run errands. When I returned, I asked him if he had accomplished anything off his list, and he said no, he got busy doing other things. He then stopped himself and said, you know, I wasn’t busy, I just didn’t make time for those things on my list and instead choose to do something else. I literately stopped and thought, he’s so right. It’s not that we were too busy – it’s that we didn’t make time for it, the it being whatever it was we thought we were going to accomplish.
This may be a hard one to come to terms with. It definitely was and is still for me. But there is such truth in those words I feel I cannot run away from them. We all have an allotted amount of time in our day and sometimes the things we planned to accomplish don’t happen. Sometimes we also need a break to do absolutely nothing. Sometimes we will miss out on previously made plans because something else came up that we rather do. Time management is all about trade-offs. To do one thing often means we cannot do something else.
Over the last few months I have tried to remove the word busy from my vocabulary. I instead try to communicate what I honestly mean, and mostly the answer is one of two things. I either over-planned my day and couldn’t get to it all, or I revisited my list and chose not to do it. Being type A though, I struggle with having an unfinished to do list at the end of the day, and admitting to myself that I made other choices. But it’s ok. In fact, I’d argue it is good to revisit your list, and recalculate.
My hope for 2016 is to keep making progress with eliminating the busyness from my life. Is there a word you are trying not to use? What is it and why? Comment below!