It’s Time to Stop Telling Everyone You are Just too Busy!

The other day I was so excited to get together with a group of close friends for lunch. Shortly after we ordered, my friend Jenny announced to the table that she had finally enrolled in an art class, and she really loved it!

I wish I had time to take a class. I am just too busy.

She had been talking about signing up for months, so we were really happy that she finally did it. Kathy gave Jenny a pat on the back and Anne told her she was proud of her. Jenny sat up a little straighter and had a big proud smile on her face. But then it happened.

“I wish I had time to take a class. I am just too busy,” Jody said with a sigh.

The table went quiet and Jenny shoulders dropped a little. Her proud smile disappeared and I could tell Jenny now felt either guilty that she was “taking time” for the class or that she actually “had time” to take a class.

To be honest, Jody’s comment made me mad. And because I couldn’t help myself, I felt the need to make a, not so subtle, point. I complimented Jodi on her freshly manicured acrylic nails and asked her how she “had time” to get them done every month?

Jody shot me a dirty look and said that she had to have her nails done for her job.

“You’re a sales rep, not a hand model,” I teased. Everyone laughed, even Jody, who I think got my point.

I left the lunch thinking about how often people say, “I wish I had time to…, “I am just too busy to…..,” or “I don’t have time to……”  And then I thought about how often people make others feel bad who, “do have” or choose to “make or take” time for themselves.

It seems that even when we greet each other (women and men), nine times out of ten the conversation starts out like this:

“How are you doing?”

“Oh, I am just so busy!”

“Yeah, same here, super busy.”

I don’t know if it is just me, but it seems that people are too often comparing their busy-ness to other people’s busy-ness. I hear people say, “Her ex-husband has the kids this week, so she probably has plenty of time,” or “I work and he doesn’t, so I know he has way more time than I do.” When did we become experts on other people’s time?

Now for those of you who may be getting annoyed with me for suggesting that people are just saying they are busy, I am not. I know people are busy. However, I do believe that people make time for what matters to them, (like Jody’s nails).

I also think people sometimes find ways to be busy to avoid doing things that they don’t want to do. I know I do it. Especially when it has to do with cleaning my house!

In my family we have a rule. We cannot say, “I didn’t have time”. We say, “I did not make (or take) time”. (For example, if I ask my daughter if she made her bed, she can’t tell me she was too busy and didn’t have time, when I know she found time to shoot baskets before school.)

I will let you in on a little secret about my use of time. There are days when I am not busy. Every once in a while, I truly don’t have anything that I have to or at least want to do. Sure, I could do laundry or reorganize the 50 different messy drawers in my house but I don’t want to. Those days I kill time on my computer, wander through Target or the grocery store and/or watch some brain candy TV.

But I will also admit, that chances are, if I run into you that same day and you ask me how things are going, my (guilt induced) answer will probably be,

“I am really busy!”

I guess there is a Lovey’s Life Lesson here for all of us.

It is all right to make time for yourself and not feel guilty. But even more importantly, we need to praise people when they do take time for themselves, rather than making them feel bad about it. I believe we would all be a lot happier and healthier  

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