I don’t know when being busy became a badge of honor where we get to share with everyone OMG, how busy we are. Like it’s a competition. And we’re winning.
And as if we weren’t busy enough before, here come the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year! The motion of business slows down because everyone is either drinking egg nog or Christmas shopping or talking about how much they have to do.
This week has been crazy here because we’re getting ready to leave for seven days which is unheard of for two entrepreneurs, of three businesses. and I’ve become that person who is too busy to return calls from my good friend. So I’m going to try to be better.
1. The I’m So Busy Laundry List
I will not be the person who verbalizes a laundry list of 18 reasons and excuses why I haven’t returned a call, an email, gotten together for a drink, or fulfilled on a promise. All that does is tell the person why they are 19th on my list. It makes them feel bad. And they’ll stop calling/emailing me, and I’ll be sad. Not to mention, if I spend 30 seconds itemizing the list, to five different people, that’s 2 1/2 minutes I could have used to knock one of those 18 items off the list.
No one needs the why. They just want to know what to expect.
2. Remember choice and the word “No”
I have chosen pretty much everything that is going on in my life. I choose if I want to be overwhelmed by taking on more work and more projects. I choose to make time for the things and the people I love. The word “no” is pretty useful and often forgotten. I will follow the word “no” with, “I don’t want to end up letting you down, which I know I will” rather than my I’m So Busy Laundry List. It makes people feel more valued.
I have a joke with a friend. Our mutual friend is NOTORIOUS for bailing at the last minute. So now, when we start to make plans with him, we say, “why don’t we just skip to the part where you bail, and save us all the time?”
3. Scale back
Every day, I look at my list and decide what is realistic. Every day I have to decide some things aren’t going to happen, so I push it to here. This is not procrastination. This is called realistic scheduling. I do it to keep my sanity, and to make sure I have room to get the priority things done, and to do the things I love. It often means I have to implement #2 and use the word “no.”
4. Pull. It. Off.
The badge of busy isn’t in being busy. It’s in pulling it off like it’s no big deal. I will not walk in gasping for breath reading my I’m So Busy Laundry List telling you about my dog’s intestinal issues. TMI. No one wants to know my life is barely held together. Pull it off, baby – just like you pull off that rocking outfit. Put your best face on, hold yourself together and act like you got this. It’s way more impressive.
5. Make time
The other morning, I received a text from a friend with whom I hadn’t socialized in gosh, at least a year, if not more. “Can I take you out to lunch Thursday or Friday?” She just wanted to have lunch with a friend. something I NEVER do. It happened because she proposed a time. How often do you bump into someone and say we should get together some time? Yep. All the time. and you never do.
Text that friend or colleague and invite them for a drink or lunch at a specific time. Give them a yes or no question, not an open-ended one.
Busy is not a badge. It’s also not a feeling. The answer to “How are you?” is not “I’m so busy.” You are happy, you are sad, you are disappointed.
Who’s with me on this?[ssba]