Contrary to how society has made being “busy” seem honorable and like a virtue, I see it more often used as an excuse.
Let me explain what I consider to be two very different types of busy.
The first is consciously choosing to accomplish lots of things to achieve a goal, and this type of busy is productive. The process of taking each strategic step on your way to your goal feels good because the choice to take those actions is based in freedom.
Some of those steps are likely out of your comfort zone so although they feel uncomfortable, the personal growth and sense of accomplishment with those types of steps feels amazing and grows your confidence!
On the other hand, there’s using busy as an excuse. I’ll call this fear-based behavior “busyness,” and it is very different from consciously taking lots of steps to accomplish a goal.
Some people even pride themselves on being “so busy” and they use BUSY as a badge of honor – which it is not! Being busy does not make a person more important than anyone else, and by no means is being BUSY a sure sign of success nor worthiness.
Using “busyness” or being “too busy” is the type of busy (excuse) that the remainder of this post will dive into. Frankly, it’s an unhealthy habit that can steal our power, confidence, and joy.
Awareness: Is It an Excuse or Reason?
It can be hard to separate between a freedom-based reason and a fear-based excuse. The distinction I learned based on my work at the Fearless Living Institute is:
- Excuses take a fact and spin a story (emotion & drama) around it. They feel real yet usually there is regret behind an excuse.
- Reasons are factual. When you make a decision based on a reason, you’ll feel at peace with and won’t wonder “what if.”
Awareness is such an importance first step in recognizing what we think is a reason we do (or don’t do) something, but is often really an excuse that is rooted in fear.
What Does Fear Have to Do With Excuses?
We all have things that we say to ourselves that excuse us from taking that next step. We rationalize that we’re too busy, too tired, our partner isn’t supportive, we don’t have enough money, etc.
These things feel so true because there is a seed of truth in every excuse.
Excuses are one of the ways Fear keeps us from thriving. It uses seed of truth and past evidence to keep us stuck in our comfort zone.
(Related Reading: How and Why Fear Keeps Us In Our Comfort Zone)
Fear convinces us that we’re too tired, too broke, too untrained, too busy, or too whatever – so that we never plan and commit to taking that next step toward our goal… our potential.
How to Stop Using Excuses
How do you shift out of excuses so that you can feel empowered to achieve your goals and dreams?
Shift from an excuse to a place of choice and empowerment.
We’ve all been there – spinning aimlessly rather than slowing down and mindfully choosing what we want to do next.
For example, using the “I’m too busy” excuse to get out of going to a social event when the real reason is that you feel exhausted. Own up to feeling exhausted, and consciously choose to not go to the event so you can take time to rest and recharge (and release the guilt for doing so!).
Believing your excuses takes away your personal responsibility… your power. Instead, take responsibility for your life by making new, conscious choices.
Be Honest With Yourself
In order to make new choices that better align with what you want for your life, you need to be honest with yourself.
3 Truths of What “Too Busy” Might Really Mean
1 – You feel depleted! Exhausted!
How often do you say things like:
- I wish I could sit and read a book but I’m too busy.
- Take a day off? Nope, I’m too busy.
- I’m too busy to do that thing I really want to do for myself!
Possibly the real reason isn’t that you’re too busy. Rather, did you ignore your own needs for the sake of your family or career and now feel overwhelmed and tired?
Choose to take well deserved and needed self-care time! Self-Care is a necessity in order to feel rested and ready to cheerfully help others. Be honest with yourself… you’re not too busy. Instead, you have a need for time to rest and recharge!
2 – You made a different choice.
Be honest, you made a CHOICE to not workout or clean the house… you were NOT too busy. Did you need downtime? Were you avoiding what you didn’t want to do?
Did you spend hours playing games on your phone, binging a Netflix series, or scrolling through awesome accounts on Instagram (shameless plug to connect with me!)?
Whatever the reason, be mindful and call it what it is rather than using I’m too busy as an excuse. Remember, the goal is to shift from an excuse to a place of choice and empowerment.
3 – Fear of failure.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or scared of failing, don’t blame it on being too busy. Identify your real feeling(s), and move toward a solution rather than spinning in busyness. Have the courage to ask for help from your circle of support!
One Last Thought
As you work to become aware of your excuses and shifting them to CHOICE, be sure to give yourself lots of compassion.
When you’re in overwhelm or feeling exhausted, talk to yourself as you’d talk to a good friend. Self-compassion can help you keep your inner critic quiet.
(If you need help with how to do that, read my post about the amazing value of self-compassion.)
Using “I’m too busy” as an excuse (or a badge of honor) steals your power, confidence, and joy. Take your power back by making conscious choices based on reasons, not excuses.