Of the many reasons why we do not do the things we say we want to do, there’s one reason we seem to believe that one particular reason gives us a pass:
I’ve been busy. Real busy.
Who among us hasn’t said something similar at some point?
It does seem to have a way of keeping us from taking action on what we say we want, while absolving us of the responsibility for refusing to take action, and making us feel oh so important — all at the same time.
A true multi-tasker.
And there’s no busy like real busy. Or so busy. Or crazy busy.
reasons excuses we give to explain why we don’t do the things we say we want to do.
Let’s have a moment of radical honesty and call out Busy for what it is, at least in the context of things you say you want to do but are too busy to do.
(In the context of something you don’t want to do, then Busy is simply a lie; that’s a different topic.)
Busy is resistance.
This is simple: the thing you say you want to do scares you. So you chose ways to be busy to avoid it.
Busy = Culturally Sanctioned Resistance
Busy is an insidious form of resistance, because it’s so prized in our culture. Busy is a badge of honor.
Most people won’t call you out on it because they don’t see it for what it is. The majority of people would respond with
Oh, of course, I get it. I’m busy too.
(Side note: I’m not the majority. Intimately familiar with my own resistance, I call it out in myself even when others don’t see my ploys as resistance. I love disarming resistance. My clients tend to come to me when they’re ready for someone to call them out on their bullshit. If that’s you, let’s talk.)
Busy = Lazy Resistance
As far as resistance goes, Busy is weak and lazy. It’s abstracted, generic, and non-specific. You can poke holes in busy so easily that it’s not really a fair fight.
Busy is the ultimate escape hatch. Force yourself to get specific in describing what you’re busy with, and you’ll at least start to create awareness around your own self-deception.
Busy = Self-Victimization
Busy wears the mask of significance: when we are busy we feel important and worthy.
Busy also makes you a victim of all the things you “have to” do. You give into the myth that you have no choice, no time. Victims always look to blame someone or something else.
Busy = Fear
I am intimately familiar with Busy. She and I used to be great friends, until I realized how much she interfered with what was most important to me.
Eventually I came to see Busy as the frenemy she is: pretending to make me important while sabotaging my dreams.
And yet she still comes to visit me sometimes and I find myself being tempted by the work and projects she puts in my path. Until I remember who she is.
As resistance, Busy is Fear.
Busy is a Choice
Ultimately, busy is a choice. I know many people who might appear “busy” but are not busy — they make time for what matters to them. And when they don’t they acknowledge what’s behind it.
Ultimately, this is about the conversation you have with yourself; the excuses you give to yourself. There’s the things you say you want to do, and the things you actually want to do. The choices you make reveal what you want to do. Busy is one choice. You have other options.
We All Choose Busy Sometimes
Truth: we all choose busy sometimes. All of us. Sometimes we’re simply not ready for the hard conversation, or the next big step.
The difference between being empowered in your busy and being disempowered is in owning your choice. If you’re choosing busy, at least do so with awareness and self-honesty.
What might change in your life if you simply owned your fear instead of hiding behind the oppression of busy?
Try replacing busy with fear for a week, and see what shifts for you.