An Uncomplicated Life Blog: You're Not More Important Because You're Busy

Monday, September 25, 2017

You're Not More Important Because You're Busy

In a world where being busy is the norm, take a step back to evaluate exactly how "busy" you are

I'm on a roll with these op-ed type posts, huh? I think after spending the summer doing a ton of DIYs and crafts, the heat starts to fade in Texas and I get my mind back to do some deep(er) thinking. This one has been on my mind for months, actually. No, YEARS. It started as a gut feeling in my last job I had in Minneapolis, where the culture was to always complain about how busy you were, and I found it so odd. Fast forward over five years, and while my life looks completely different than it did when I had that job, I have the exact same feelings about "busy" people. Those feelings can be summarized by saying this: Busy people, you're not more important than anyone else. In fact, I feel sorry for you.

These boys were SUPER busy chasing ducks and chickens at a zoo in Wisconsin recently

Have you ever asked a friend or acquaintance how they're doing and s/he responds, "Busy! But good. So busy though!" What's that even about?! Like, is responding to my greeting even too much for you? You're so over-scheduled that you can't even be a decent person and respond to cultural politeness? A simple "I'm good!" would have done. Or if you're not good, let's sit down and talk about it. But please, don't tell me you're "busy." 

How busy one is (or isn't) is a choice. You have the ability to say yes or no to social obligations, work projects, meetings and deadlines. You have the power over signing up for extra-curricular activities, booking travel, and whether or not you cook a meal or grab fast food. Let me say that again. Being busy is a choice, made by you. And to me, busy people have lost control over their own lives either because they're so unhappy they don't want to live in the present, or they're looking for someone to blame for being absent from their own life.

Let me paint a picture for you. I bet you know someone who has sounded something like one of these two people before:

"Ugh, I have so much work to do, I'm going to have to bring home a project for the fourth night in a row this week! I'll be lucky to get five hours of sleep tonight. My boss/job sucks. I'm so busy with nonstop work!"

"Tommy has football practice, then Sally has dance, then we have piano lessons and will spend the whole weekend at a tournament, it's no wonder I've gained 15 pounds! All we do is eat on the run because we're so busy."

Guess what? Both of those examples are busyness choices made by YOU. You prioritize your workday; if you can't get all your work done regularly and are unhappy about it, seek help from your supervisor or coworkers. Reassign tasks off your plate. Odds are, it's not that you actually have too much to do, you just like to complain. Because if you were truly unhappy, you'd do something to change it. As for the second example, that parent is the one responsible for not only signing their children up for all those activities, but also for the food choices they make. It sounds like they want to blame busyness for their weight gain, but in reality, all of that is a choice that they've made. The only blame is on themselves.

When we're in Dallas, they're also always busy in our pool. But they don't think they're more important than anyone

See why I said I feel sorry for busy people? They love to complain about being busy, because it makes them look important. Needed. Indispensable. But in reality, overly busy people lack accountability TO THEMSELVES. They blame external factors for their own unhappiness. And to me, that's so sad. It's sad that they're unaware that the only person who can make them happy is THEM. Odds are good it would start by them saying no to something, and freeing up some personal time.

There are times when I'm busy, absolutely. In fact, most days of the week from 8:30-2 I'm sometimes sprinting to get all the things done that I need to while I have childcare. Here's the difference between being occasionally busy and chronically busy: I have no complaints about it! And at 2pm when I pick the kids up from preschool, I put my phone down and concentrate on them. We slow down and play together. I cook homemade meals and play cars and dinosaurs and take time to live in the moment.

As a mom, of course I have busy periods of time in my week, month, year. But it's a season. It passes. I don't complain about it. Sometimes, I do some intentional "un-scheduling" when there's just too much going on. Busy people don't take the steps necessary to slow down and enjoy their lives. It's not a race to be won guys! It's the daily living that makes your life great. So no, busy people. You're not more important.


  1. I am working on being less busy when the kids are around. I left my job for that very reason, but now work for myself and tend to still work when the kids are home which negates why I did it in the first place.

  2. Yes! It's usually all self-imposed business. Especially when it comes to children's activities. Us parents make the choice if we want them to be in 1 activity or 10.
    Although I will say unless you don't want to move up in your career, I wouldn't say no to meetings and projects at work all the time. At least that's how my last two companies were. You don't get a lot of choice. But then I guess you could say it's a choice you make to work there and be busy. :)

  3. LOL omg they are way too cute! Love your blog <3

  4. Oh my gosh I completely relate to this. Everyone is busy! If you want to make time for something you can, it's all about priorities but some people hide behind being busy. I have yet to meet someone who isn't busy most of the time, that's just what life is.

  5. fabulous post. I know the exact person that needs to read this too.

  6. Girl. Yes. yes. I hate it when people complain about being so busy all the time. Honestly, I would go insane if I didn't have time to catch my breath. So, kudos to them, but I never want to be busy. haha

  7. Ah yes! And being "busy" means something different to everyone; maybe I'm busy with my feet up chilling with a good book and a mug of tea! I guess I'm super important too ;)

  8. Yes! I would love to hear more about your intentional "un-scheduling".

  9. I'm the person notorious in my family for being not busy - if my parents ask me for dinner on a whim, I won't say no. If I'm on the phone with my gram and she mentions my grandpa isn't having a good day, guess what? I'll be right over. Yes, I have responsibilities - working a few jobs, blogging, taking care of kids/house - but I like to keep an open schedule because of this. My gram says I'm the busiest non busy person ever - she knows I have a lot on my plate but never act like it.

  10. I couldn't agree more! Being busy (or not) is a choice. We are all busy in our own lives but we do make time for the things that are important to us. Like I can be swamped at work and not have any room to breathe but if I have to take off work to bring my kids to the doctor for a well check up or join their field trip, I'd do it without even thinking about it!

    Belle |

  11. I've been so convicted of this, this year. I am a total Type A personality that lives for that sacred to-do list. But...there's more to life than being chained to my own high expectation. Thanks for the reminder. Plus...I live just outside Minneapolis. ;)

  12. I have so many friends and acquaintances who always live in that "busy" mode that its just sad. There's no middle ground for them, and like you said contribute to their unhappiness.

  13. This is so good Paige! I need to start saying no to more things. I don't like how crazy our lives are and I need to change that. I love how you say it is a choice. It is.

  14. I love this post and agree 100%!! I just want to run away from someone when I ask how they are and they say busy. Like you said we all get busy but we can make a decision to get off that roller coaster and prioritize what is important to us.

    Just a few days ago I bumped into a neighbor and asked how he was. He started telling me how busy he is. He is retired and picks up jobs here and there. I didn't tell him that his wife (who I really don't know well at all) told me that she thinks he stays busy to stay away from her. I don't know either one of them that well to get into the middle of it. Like I said it's about priorities.

  15. This is definitely an interesting perspective. I think sometimes my anxiety can feed into the stress that's caused by being too "busy"--I think it's moreso I worry I can't balance the things I NEED to do with the things I WANT to do, all while making time for people that matter to me. And sometimes busy is good! It means I have projects and am creating, which is important to me. Though I do usually clarify it's a "good busy" ;)

    I'm not offended by people who say they're busy, but I do get irritated if they say they're too busy to make time for me and then I see them doing all sorts of other extracurricular activities (and boasting about it on FB) that I'm not included in. It's good sometimes to step back and reevaluate.

    Again, good perspective and a reminder to figure out what's important and how to curb that stress.

  16. I get your complaints, I really do. But, I also think this is a pretty harsh assessment of what you imagine to be others' experiences. As a mom of older kids, I can tell you that you have a little less control over how busy you are as your kids get older. Mothering younger kids looks completely different from mothering older kids. It doesn't get easier, and, though I know I'll annoy you by saying this, it does get busier.

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