Author, designer and podcaster Debbie Millman recently said on a Tim Ferris podcast:
Of the many, many excuses people use to rationalize why they can’t do something, the excuse “I am too busy” is not only the most inauthentic, it is also the laziest. I don’t believe in “too busy.” I think that busy is a decision. We do the things we want to do, period.
Those sentiments resonated with me strongly. I've said it before, and I've heard others say it too: "Yeah I'm super busy, I don't have time to tackle everything." Such a sighing statement is usually side-dished with "But I wish I had time for X and Y!"
Thing is, we DO have time for X and Y if we prioritized our schedule differently. I suffer from this most apparently with my love of new TV shows: I know I spend too many hours taking in the new Jessica Jones series or catching up on Fargo. Instead, I should be learning more about Toronto Jewish history for my current project, or applying for grants, or working out.
At least I'm recognizing where I can shift my priorities. Other people are still dead to that inner voice that says, "You're not busy. You just want don't want to do that thing you say you should be doing."
There's an odd cachet around saying you're busy. It's as if you're boasting about the many responsibilities swirling around your life, perhaps leading to invaluable successes you'll reap once that "busy life" eases up. But I think the business of being busy could bankrupt our confidence; instead of strengthening our willpower to push away distractions, the idea of an overwhelming life acts as a salve. Yeah, I'm so busy I just couldn't take on this creative projects that means a lot to me. Gots to keep the lights on!
Millman also says, "You can’t let being busy stand in the way, even if you are busy. Make the time to do the things you want to do and then do them."
So I'm not watching series like The Walking Dead any longer. I'm waking up earlier to get more out of my day. And I'm reevaluating my priorities, almost monthly, to set a schedule for myself so I'll be free to do what I want, when I want. Being a freelance writer offers me that flexibility, too, that may not be available to 9-to-5'ers.
Such a shift in my mental energy will do wonders for my psyche...and the creativity flowing through me, begging to taste air.
About David's Blog
I write about journalism, freelancing, the arts, Toronto, technology, sports and why egg nog is under-rated.