Claiming to be too busy is the last, great, universal excuse for justifiably getting out of doing things we want to avoid doing. People who cry “too busy” may or may not be accomplishing something worthwhile. They may be busy taking a nap or reading a scintillating novel, but nonetheless the “too busy” excuse buys indulgences.
Now that I am retired, I have lost the legitimate use of this excuse, and I miss it. When someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do, the only honest response I can give is “I don’t want to.” That doesn’t sound nearly as noble as “I don’t have time.”
Being unable to claim “too busy” has other drawbacks. I am without excuse for failing to complete tasks that need to be done. Sadly, now I do have time to balance the checkbook, dust the window blinds, and organize my office workspace. When I neglect to take care of these tasks, what can I legitimately put forth as an excuse?
In the past I could always figure out, at any point in time, exactly what to do next by asking myself this question: “What do I absolutely have to do now?” That question was a strong motivator because it meant if I didn’t act quickly, something bad would happen. “I have to pick up the kids from the skating rink before noon.” “I have to finish this project before my boss comes to pick it up at 4:00.”
These days I rarely feel the panic that accompanies real time pressure. Thus, I tend to operate from the IGAD mindset. “I’ve got all day,” I tell myself, when I consider pulling weeds from my rose bed or going to the store to buy milk. When facing particularly odious tasks, I sometimes even tell myself, “I’ve got all week … all month … until April 15 … until Christmas, etc.”
This makes it hard to prioritize my to-do list. Which is more important: making banana bread or finishing an article to post on my blog? The choice I make really doesn’t matter (I’ve got all day.), but since I am accustomed to taking care of more important jobs first, I over-analyze.
This careful scrutinizing of the tasks on my list becomes an avoidance tactic. I spend so much time trying to determine which task outranks the others in importance, I fail to start, much less finish, anything.
I will not try to convince you that being “not too busy” is all bad and you should cherish your current hectic lifestyle. I am advising you, though, to anticipate a day when that busyness will come to an end.
Cultivate some hobbies, develop new interests, and anticipate that you won’t always have the “I’m too busy” excuse to fall back on. Begin now creating new excuses for not doing things you don’t want to do.
When you think of a really good excuse, pass it along to me. And be quick about it. My husband keeps telling me I need to vacuum my car.
Debbie Scales March 27, 2016 520 Words