Why ‘I’m really busy’ is a terrible phrase.

Go on admit it, you’ve said it yourself haven’t you? I have. I say it a lot. So much so in fact that I’m outing myself in an attempt to curb my use of this horrible phrase. Maybe you’ll join me?

I recently read this except from someone on twitter:

“Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with £86,400.

It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every penny, of course?

Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME.

Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft.

Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.”

‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I’ve got too much on’ are rarely ever the case. We might feel like this but the truth is we make a lot of choices in our lives which dictate the amount of time we have left. In truth, when we say we don’t have time to do something, what we’re really saying is that we’re not prioritising it.

Tell me this (and be honest with yourself) do you watch Game of Thrones or any of the other box sets out there when you get home at night? Do you sit and watch the news everyday? Do you spend time looking at pictures of cats on the Internet or watching YouTube’s endless funny clips? Its important to understand that these stop you doing other things so when your colleague comes asking if you can do them a favour or your boss really wants you to over deliver on something for a looming deadline, saying you’re too busy is perhaps the wrong choice of words.

I really hate hearing those words either at work, or in my personal life yet I say them myself so how can expect others not to? They are so negative aren’t they. How can you possibly deliver that sentence in a positive way without affecting the person you’re delivering it to?

Offer up a better way?

How about trying the following next time you feel yourself about to blurt it out.

“I’d love to help with that. I have a few other priorities that I must deal with now but I can help you tomorrow/later today if that helps”

“I’d love to help with that but I’ll be honest, I’m probably not the best person for it. Would you mind trying xyz and come back to me if they can’t help?” (Obviously make sure xyz is actually a good suggestion – this isn’t shifting things you don’t want to do onto anybody else!)

“Sure, I’ll be able to do that for you later… I just need to get a few other bits done before, is that ok?”

Before you use these though, consider the bigger picture and the excerpt at the top of this post. Do you have the right to say you’re too busy? Are you using your time wisely? Do things distract you when you should be doing work? Do you watch TV when you could be reading or improving your skills in something? Do you play xbox for hours when you get home, when you could be putting that time into planning your next day and making sure you’re as efficient as can be? If not, perhaps you shouldn’t be saying you’re too busy at all, or using one of my suggestions?

Perhaps you should be thinking about where you put your time from now on?

Now Your Thoughts

  • Can you hand on heart say you are planning your time consistently and efficiently so you can use it to maximum effect?
  • Have you got any tips/stories to share on this subject? Good or bad please, we’ll learn from both.

2 Comments

  1. Stephen Morris on 30th March 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Too true. I feel the same tang of guilt when I say “I’m stacked” – no bad thing.

    • Banksy on 3rd April 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Glad I’m not the only one Stephen 🙂

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