Too Busy

It’s not about having time . . . 

It’s about MAKING time . . .

I haven’t blogged much lately, and to be honest, I’ve kind of felt guilty about it. I think it’s because when I first started out with this project, I envisioned making time every day to write – to create – to challenge myself to maintain the energy and consistency I felt when I first began writing.

 

In my enthusiasm I foolishly forgot what I know to be true … LIFE happens. Circumstances change, priorities shift, unexpected challenges emerge that inevitably impact the path we are taking as we move towards our goals. It doesn’t necessarily render our goals unimportant or unachievable – it simply means that we may need to adjust what we choose to make time for.

 Over the past few months, I’ve had plenty of time to write, and there has certainly not been any lack of material – believe me. I’ve quite simply made the choice to focus my efforts elsewhere. Sometimes this is a conscious choice – other times it is more of a subconscious decision, typically manifesting itself as good old writers block.

 I’ve stepped away from spending time with friends – not because of a lack of desire or interest – but because I have had other things that require my full commitment and attention.

 For a long time, I’ve used the excuse of “I’m too busy to do _________ right now”. I’ve noticed a lot of people do this. The ‘busy’ word seems to have become an acceptable adult response to anything we choose not to make time for.

 This isn’t to say we aren’t busy. Of course we are. We have children, jobs, marriages, health, households, activities, and responsibilities that fill almost every moment of our day. This is the reality of adulthood – we have to prioritize where we are going to choose to spend our time, where our efforts need to be, where our impact is needed most. Often, this is dictated by the circumstances in our lives. We may be going to school, staying at home with the kids, solo parenting while a spouse works away, moving, or working on a project that is near and dear to our hearts. We may be supporting a family member or friend while they experience challenges, or we may be looking within ourselves to determine how to be a better person – a better parent, a better spouse, to be more connected with those around us.

 The reality is, we make time for the things that are important in our lives right now. There is no shame in this. There is no need to make the “I’m too busy” excuse. Why can’t we just be honest about what we are making time for? Is it because we are worried about hurting someone’s feelings? Is it because we do not trust ourselves enough to determine what is important at any particular moment?  Or is it that much of the work we may do is hard to quantify and describe? After all, contemplating how to be a better partner is not something that typically manifests itself in a concrete manner – rather, it requires a great deal of reflection and internal examination. When someone asks “what have you been up to?”, it’s much easier to say “I’ve been busy” than attempt to describe an often sedentary and very personal process.

 The other day I was lamenting to my husband that I was finding it a real struggle to keep on top of maintaining our house, coordinating schedules, and ensuring the kids are entertained. I was feeling discouraged because I had previously been somewhat (and I use this term loosely) successful in keeping the house clean; however had a couple of really difficult weeks with some issues occurring in my life. My husband said to me “You have made a commitment to your health and you are able to make sure you get to bootcamp each week – even when you are struggling. If you put forth the same commitment to maintaining a cleaning schedule of the house, you would be able to do it”. At the time, I didn’t respond in a way that suggested his comment was helpful.

Upon reflection however, I was reminded that my husband is a very wise man. He was not criticizing my lack of cleaning prowess. He was not stating that my priorities were in the wrong place. He was simply stating the obvious – if having a clean house was very important to me, and I made a commitment to having a clean house, then the house would be clean. I would make the time to ensure it happened. Because he knows – he has seen me do this time and time again. I appreciate his faith and belief in me.

There will always be time for the things that are important to us – we will do everything in our power to make sure of this. However, it is equally important to recognize and accept that priorities shift depending on circumstances – not just in our own lives, but the lives of others. My lack of blog posts lately is most definitely not a reflection of how I feel about writing – to me, writing is still a very important part of my life; however there are more immediate responsibilities that take precedence right now. When those things are resolved, I will be back to writing more regularly – I know this to be true. There will be weeks when everything is falling into place, and the house will be clean. There will be other weeks where s$^# is hitting the fan and the house will look like a bomb went off. And that’s ok.

In the meantime, I’m going to cut myself a bit of slack . . . and I’m going to be honest when I’m asked about what I’ve been up to or why I haven’t done something. I’m going to accept responsibility for my choices and remember that things will not always be this way so there is no need to feel guilty. The people who love me will accept that I’m doing my best, and trust that I know where to best utilize my time.

How about you? Do you fall into the “I’m too busy” trap, yet struggle to describe what you have been doing in a way that seems to give your ‘busy – ness’ credibility? How do you handle these situations? Do you have a spouse, partner, parent, or friend who helps to remind you of your strengths and capabilities?