When did 'So Busy' supersede 'fine' as the stock standard answer to Joey's question, 'How you doing?'
It is as if being 'busy' has become a medal of honour. As if being 'busy' makes us important. As if being 'not busy' is a bad thing. How long has it been since you have heard someone tell you that they are 'so busy'? Worse still, when was the last time you told someone about how your life is, 'so busy’?
I have determined that I will try extra hard never to answer anyone with the answer, 'so busy'. Let me share why.
As leaders, we make decisions all day, every day, and how we spend our time is one of these decisions. Take a few minutes (if you have the time) to consider
how this 'so busy' answer is interpreted by those following you. Does it mean; too busy to have this conversation with you? Does it mean I'm out of my depth? Maybe it means I'm not good at managing my time. The reality is that it is never interpreted as a good thing by those who rely on you and expect to be led by you.
If we find ourselves in a place where time management has taken a back seat and the calendar has imploded with a life of its own, then it is time to recalibrate and decide what the priorities are. If the answer to prioritising is that everything is a priority, then it is time to learn about delegation, boundaries and what it means to be human.
The more we jam meetings, events and tasks into our calendar, the less effective we become in ALL meetings, events and tasks assigned to or responsible for.
"Wherever you are, be all there." Jim Elliot
The simple test of whether you are too busy is whether you can follow Jim Elliot's advice. If you find yourself contemplating the next or tomorrow's meeting in the now meeting, it is time for a change. Worse again, can you be 'all there' when you are with the kids, out on a date or when you ‘relax'? If your schedule bleeds from one event into the next, you need to change something!
I was listening to a speaker last year, sorry, I can't think who (maybe I was too busy at the time to notice) when I was prompted about the connection between 'I don't have the time' and priorities. When we think about exercise, time with family, work for a non-profit, Church or sport, so often the excuse we use for each of these things is time. Who can argue with that? As everyone knows, because we tell them frequently, we are busy people. Every time we tell others we are 'so busy,’ we subconsciously (or consciously) reinforce to ourselves that we are 'too busy' for those other commitments we should tend to. Taking care of our families, eating better, exercising, getting right with God and making this world a better place without charging someone for it are all things we should find quality time for.
We tell ourselves and others that the reason we cannot do such things is because of time; as everyone knows, we have no control over time. The Earth spins on its axis, and we get a day. The Earth orbits the Sun, and we get a year. We are not God, so we can not change time...therefore doing the things that are good for us are out of our control because we have no time and cannot do anything about it. That is the lie we need to believe. In reality, the following is true;
'I don't have time', is the lie we tell ourselves when we are too lazy/afraid/ignorant to ask the real question…' is it a priority’?
Is exercise a priority? Yes, for some it is, and they do something about it. Is doing work for a non-profit to make this world a better place a priority? Yes, for some, and they do something about it. You get the picture.
The next time you answer the 'How you doing?' question with the answer 'So busy' think of it as a reminder that you need to change something. Otherwise, 'fine' isn't too bad an answer.
After all, do you need to be reminded that the quality of your ‘yeses’ is determined by the quantity of your ‘no’s’.