Have you ever heard someone say "Oh I'm sorry I have completely ignored you all week, I've just been so busy!" Or, if you're like me, you listened to a client say "I've been too busy to email you the 10 things I owe you, but I'd still love my site to launch tomorrow."
The word "busy" is extremely high on my pet-peeve/gross things list (Right up there with open-mouth chewing, pigs, monkeys, and not using a turn signal or understanding a traffic zipper.)
The reasons: you should be in charge of your priority list, and own up to the real reason you're "busy."
If a client ignores me for a week, doesn't send content, check in, or ignores my emails - then their site/logo must not be that high on their priority list. It's not that they're "busy" - it's that their list includes 10 other items that took all their attention, which isn't fair to either party. Why should that client be #1 on my list if their own site isn't?
What I REALLY hear when someone says they're busy:
"I forgot I hired someone to do my site, and I'm blaming being busy on forgetting to get you this content."
"I took on too much work this week and couldn't handle it all."
"Pokemon Go released an update and honestly I've been trying to level up all week."
When I'm hired to create a logo/site for someone, immediately that client shoots up on my priority list and I make sure I respond/update them every 48 hours. I have strict work/life boundaries that I honor, but during my working hours, my clients are my #1.
If I'm able to buy a planner that works for me (this one!), wake up every day and jot down a list of people I need to talk to, and actually accomplish that - then you should, too. Being "busy" does not excuse you from being inattentive!
Here's what I also hear when someone says they're busy:
"My daughter had a big school week - I had to be there for her."
"I spent so much time working on content for you, but I couldn't grasp it completely, and need more time."
"My mental health was slipping this week and I needed time to decompress and catch back up with myself."
What is so wrong with those reasons? Nothing! The second half of my original statement is that "busy" is a terrible catch-all word. It casts blame instead of being brave. If you put your children first or need time to work on your mental health, but you're too afraid to actually say those things for fear of being fired or judged: that's on society, not you. I'm here for you.
If your reason for being busy is due to your integrity and work/life balance as a person, then I honor you and would love to hear all about it and how I can support you with a better schedule that makes you feel more comfortable. If your reason for being busy is that you are Type A and need to take everything on but don't actually have time for the things you sign up for, then we need to talk about Work/Life balance and how to delegate.
"Busy" is a word like "just" or "very." It has no meaning any more. Also: We're ALL busy. I didn't mention that concept in this article much because it should be obvious. I'm a freelancer and I constantly juggle anywhere from 5-10 clients. You want busy? I also work with a few moms who have three children, their own company, and another part-time job.
It's time to start digging deep into balance and not leaning on "busy" as an excuse for anything - especially when it comes to working with others. A successful work/life balance and successful delegation will always result in "busy" leaving your vocabulary.