I too often answer the question, “How are you?” with a simple word: “Busy.” But I recently realized that my busyness, much like my joy, is a choice. The fall is by far my busiest season as a photographer. I’m swamped with emails and editing and end of the year business stuff. I obsess over finances so I’m checking my spreadsheets and doing math based on hypothetical sessions and honestly? I just waste a ton of time during this season. And it makes me feel crabby and busy. But I’m just so sick of using it as an excuse.
People have been writing about being busy for years, specifically our country’s obsession with the glorification of it. I’m not going to add to that fodder. But I will try to convince myself and you that we are not, in fact, all that busy.
1. Social events don’t make you busy. Unless you are Barack Obama. His social calendar is obligatory, for sure. But he isn’t reading this, so I can confidently say this to you, reader: If you say “yes” to hanging out with your friends, this is not the thing that makes you busy. If it feels like an obligation, they are not your friends. They are the worst actually and you should start saying “no” to them more often.
2. YOU ARE NEVER TOO BUSY TO EAT. Girls who say this make me cry-laugh. Never have I ever been to busy to eat something. Also, never have I ever met someone who would judge you for taking the time to go find some food. I’m convinced that the people who say this are actually just trying to lose weight and using their heavy workload as an excuse to skip meals. Don’t be ridiculous; buy a CLIF bar.
3. In my world, “I’m busy” translates into Rachel-English as “I’m disorganized.” I have no less than four lists going at all times: in an app, on a pad, in my planner, and sometimes on my hand. I waste the most time on “busy” days marrying my calendars and to-do lists together.
4. If you have checked social media in the last three—no, let’s say 24—hours, you are not busy. I’m sorry, I don’t care how much of a creative professional you and I are, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Periscope do not count as work. Your (and my) business will not live and die on any of those hills. They help, for sure. But I know that when I open those apps countless times a day, it whittles away at productivity.
5. While we’re on the topic of phones/social media … do you have a game on your phone that’s for “winding down” or “down time?” Angry birds? Two dots? Dare-I-Say … Candy Crush? Those games get played way more than people like to admit. It’s not fair for me to complain to my husband that I’m busy when I am on level 650 of Candy Crush. No one poops that much.
6. Busy is not an excuse for poor time management skills or lack of motivation. Just yesterday, I looked at my to-do list of about 47 items, closed it, and did the following:
– Balanced my business check book which doesn’t need to be done until April. APRIL!
– Ordered new dog bowls for our puppy. Also, held said puppy for 20 minutes.
– Read a book, telling myself, “Oh, you need to do this for your blog.” (Lies!)
– Watched Netflix.
– Ordered new toothbrush heads.
– Made apple dumplings.
I eventually did all the things I was supposed to do yesterday, but how much more could I have accomplished if I wouldn’t have filled my day with literal busywork.
7. Being busy shouldn’t be worn like a badge of honor. It doesn’t make you important or accomplished or even special. We all have full lives because we are all seeking fulfillment. If we weren’t busy, we wouldn’t be doing this whole life thing right. The world is too interesting to not be busy. But rather than look at it like that, we all (myself included) need to examine the negative feelings we associate with it. If we feel busy, maybe we’re saying “yes” to the wrong things. If your life doesn’t energize you, maybe you need to get busy with some restorative activities. Do some yoga, eat some cookies, sleep in. Before this gets preachy, I just want you all to know that you have an open invitation to judge me the next time I answer your “How are you?” with “Busy!”