Busy just might be bad…
No, not really. Busy is good in a lot of ways: Having projects or hobbies keeps your mind healthy and preoccupied; having personal or professional deadlines keeps you on your toes; having chores does a magical job of keeping those wandering thoughts neat and clean (and your home); having a job for x amount of hours per day keeps your head above water and the bills paid.
But, and here’s he rub, when you use Busy as a weapon of mass procrastination or deflection, it loses its overall positive impact. It becomes a scapegoat, a “I don’t have time for blah blah blah right now,” which, as we all know, translates often to, “I don’t have time for some person.”
And that’s okay. Sometimes. Because we can’t be ON all the time. We are mentally incapable at being everything everyone needs. It’s not fair to us or our state of well being to put that much pressure on ourselves either. It’s unkind to expect it from others as well.
That said, I don’t play the B card often because I know the very real hurt that comes from repeated brush-offs. I know that no matter how many obligations a person has, at the end of the day — repeat this after me — you make time for what matters. You prioritize. And you make it work.
Simple as that. You work, you take care of your responsibilities – be it family, children, chores, etc. – and then you make time for xyz. It’s not rocket science nor is it an otherworldly concept that needs a plethora of explaining. And yet, a lot (a whole whole lot) of people play the Busy card a whole whole lot. I’m not saying they do that icky game with me often — it does happen but I’m terminally understanding despite my knowing precisely what is happening — but I do notice it happen all around me. To people as well as seeing others dish it out.
It hurts for a bunch of reasons, and let’s take a moment to break some of those down:
1) We are all human beings and have lives. We make the time. If we can’t, tell them why.
2) Your time is not more valuable than my time, so don’t pretend as if it is.
3) Those first two points apply to everyone doing the brushing off or being brushed off.
4) If they’re not important to you, tell them.
5) If the thing is not important to you, say that.
6) If they are important to you, if the thing is important to you, don’t let fear cloud your judgment and make decisions on your behalf.
7) Do not lie. I cannot stress this point enough. Do. Not. Lie.
Lie about what, you ask?
About being busy 24/7/365, of course. You’d die if you were that busy, seriously.
Don’t tell a person how “incredibly busy” you are and then go off and play video games for three days. Don’t tell someone how much needs to get done over a period of x days and then…play video games for three days.
Just tell the truth. It looks a lot like this in its most basic form:
“I don’t want to do this thing.
I don’t want to talk to you.
I don’t want to spend my free time — what little of it I have — dealing with you.”
Yes, it’ll hurt them. But guess what? There are better ways of sharing your truth than the ripped-band-aid method I’ve just said above. But you can figure that much out on your own, I know it.
Because, if I’m not mentally stable enough to take the weight of someone else’s gravity on a particular day? I’ll tell them. And then I tell them why. It’s not self-absorption and it’s not selfish. It’s just the truth. Our switches came equipped with an Off button and every once and again, it’s alright to toggle low power mode.
But, and this is a big but (much like my own…wait what?) if you do this too often to the same folks, don’t expect them to hang around.
And…Why would they? You don’t want them around and that much is evident. So for them to be expected to stay, or for you to expect them to remain, is illogical and goes against the rules of what is and is not fair where Busy is concerned.
So, in the end, don’t use Busy as a coping mechanism for people you want gone. Don’t use Busy as a means to an end. Don’t use Busy as a brush-off tactic. Don’t use Busy to make yourself feel more important than others. Don’t use Busy to fuck with people’s minds and leave them questioning every damn thing you ever said to them.
Do use Busy as a positive source — share the projects you’re excited to be working on or complain about the amount of work piling up on your desk. Do use Busy when it’s *real *and applicable and not merely an excuse. Do use Busy when you’re to-do’s are listed and you’re actually ticking them off one by one. Be polite, respectful. Explain if you’re willing to go that far and have the time (we all do, despite what we tell ourselves).
And on and on.
To wrap this blog up, I’ll repeat the overarching message: