Quit the “Busy” Trap

February 20, 2014·

I am not the first person to write on the subject of being “busy” and I know I will not be the last. And to be honest, I am not sure exactly what spurred me to write this… I don’t think it was any one particular instance or event. I just think over time, and especially over the past few months, I’ve heard more and more people glorify the art of being “busy.”

It’s as if suddenly being “busy” is what elevates us to a level of importance. If you’re not always “crazy busy,” you’re not important. If you’re “busy, busy, busy,” it means you must be super important.

How many times has someone asked you how you are and you respond with some form of, “Ohhhh you know, just busy! SOOOO busy!! GOSH AM I BUSY!

I am NOT knocking anyone who claims to be busy. That would be the pot calling the kettle black. I have been guilty of falling into the busy trap on multiple occasions. I have certainly used “being busy” as an excuse to say no. As an excuse to get out of something. As an excuse to take a nap. Or something.

It’s like we all find ways to say “how unbelievably busy we are” and in the process, we miss out of so much of what life has to offer us. In 20 years, 30 years, or heck, even next year, I don’t want to look back and realized I missed it all for the sake of being “busy.” I don’t want to miss spending precious time with my baby as she grows up. I don’t want to let my marriage fall by the wayside and suddenly I find myself married to a stranger. I don’t want to let friendships that are important to me suddenly become non-existent because I chose being “busy” over making time for them. I don’t want my relationships with my family to suffer because I couldn’t make time to visit them or talk with them.

When I look back in 5, 10, 15, or 30 years, I’ll remember the sweet smell of my daughter’s hair when she snuggles on my chest… I won’t remember whether or not the carpet was vacuumed or that e-mail got sent. I’ll remember the nights spent with my husband staying up till 4am like two little kids just talking and laughing… I won’t remember whether or not the laundry was folded or if I got that proposal submitted a day early. Now, I’m not advocating neglecting your work…

I get it. We’re all “busy.” But in reality, if we REALLY stop and think about it… we’re probably not as busy as we like to think we actually are.

Barack Obama, whether you like him or not, is busy. The Pope is busy. …other than those two people, I think those are really the only truly busy guys in the world right now. These are jokes, people. Jokes. You get what I’m saying.

Instead of busy, what I think we are is “priority focused.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, we begin to worship certain priorities and we push back other things that aren’t as “important” as we want them to be. All the while making the certain priorities we have CHOSEN to prioritize as the cause of our “state of busyness.”

While I spend most of my days feeling “busy,” I’m actually just overwhelmed and unable to figure out how to prioritize things. I’m probably not the only one who is guilty of this.

Instead of just knocking out the 25 things on my to-do list, I prioritize spending 20 minutes stressing about my to-do list whilst eating a Little Debbie snack cake, 18 minutes on Instagram whilst pouring myself a glass of water, 14 minutes on Twitter whilst editing my Spotify playlists, and Lord knows how many minutes on Facebook doing ALL THE THINGS. All the while, I could have been just knocking out my to-do list and then I would have had all that extra time to spend reading a book, taking a walk, or cuddling on the couch with my little girl.

Now, social media is not the enemy. And that is a post for a whole ‘nutha day… but what I guess I’m trying to get at is we seem to find ways to prioritize whatever is in front of us at that current moment and when something else comes up, suddenly we get a tinge of that “overwhelmed” feeling and bam… we’re now BUSY.

Am I making any sense at all?

My point through all of this rambling is simply to say this – quit glorifying being “busy.” Just like that time I wrote about how it’s not cool to say you’re “so broke” and to get out of the “poverty mentality,” it’s the same thing with being busy. It’s all in how we frame it. It’s all in how we focus our attention. 99.9% of our state of busyness is totally mental.

So no, I’m not busy.

Sure, I’ve got a lot of stuff to do on a daily basis. Sure, being a stay-at-home AND work-from-home mom is extremely difficult and I’m constantly multitasking and figuring out how I’m going to accomplish everything on my to-do list. But, no I’m not busy.

I make time with my family a priority, so I make sure that I’m able to focus and get done what I need to get done in order to have time with them.

I make time with my friends a priority, so I repeat the above process and I make time for the people in my life I want to make time for.

I make time with God a priority, so again, I repeat the process to MAKE TIME for what is important.

You have to just MAKE time. There will be days when it will seem impossible, but I can pretty much guarantee you that you can spare 30 minutes to eat dinner at the kitchen table with your spouse and kids. I guarantee you can find one day a week to grab lunch with a dear friend just because. I guarantee you can find 10 or 15 minutes to spend reading the Bible or a good book.

You can do it. You’re not as busy as you think you are.

And sure, I might not know your situation or I might not understand what you’re facing, but I’d venture so far as to guess that if you take five minutes to think about how you spend your time, if you just figure out how to re-prioritize some of that time, that you’d FIND time to be a little less… well, busy.

Am I right? Bueller?

Tell me I’m not alone.