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Why I Never Say “I’m Busy!”

The car goes “Beep!” The dog goes “Bark!” And the career woman goes “Busy! Busy! Busy!”

There’s an unwritten rule that people follow nowadays whenever they’re asked how they’re doing. The only acceptable answer is BUSY!

It’s like we’re doing something wrong if we don’t fill every minute with a constant buzz of productivity and ambition.

One of my favorite stationery stores has a planner with “I’m very busy!” scrawled across the front in rose gold foil. Because even busy folks want to be trendy, I guess?

I fell into the busy trap too, and I can remember my days as a book editor racing through the cubicles in my high heels and business suit. “Can’t stop now, Karen. I’m busy!”

And I was soooo busy.

Feeling stressed out with hundreds of tasks to do that I barely had time for lunch was typical. No one wanted to look lazy so we tried to seem as busy as possible.

Have you ever felt compelled to stretch 2 hours of work across an 8-hour work day? I remember organizing and re-organizing my file folders over and over again in an attempt to look like I had an endless amount of work to do.

Of course, I told everyone within earshot that I was super busy. By saying it out loud a million times, I became a magnet for more busy-ness.

Little annoying admin projects would get plopped on my desk. My train would run 15 minutes late. The email threads would bounce back and forth for eternity.

In retrospect, I may have been busy, but I certainly wasn’t productive.

This is the law of attraction in action. What you say, feel, and believe manifests itself in your real life.

Think of a Debbie Downer type of person. She says everything’s terrible, and she continues to get more terrible things in her life. We all know these depressing people.

It’s the same for ultra-busy types. If you say you’re busy, then you’ll always be busy.

Now that I run the show with my own online business, I’ve had to rethink the way I used to act and speak in my old corporate jobs.

I’ve given up the “busy badge of honor” because I’d rather be helpful, productive, and energized.

Wouldn’t you?

Becoming more aware of the words I use has taken some practice, but I can absolutely say that I’m no longer filling my days with nonsense that doesn’t amount to much.

Being mindful of your busy-ness levels leaves more time for self-care or nurturing your relationships. You know, the stuff that truly matters.

Those memories are worth way more than fake productivity.

Easy Edit: This week, consciously edit the words you use to describe your work. How do you want to feel as you do your projects? How would you describe the ideal version of yourself?

This post focuses on Step 2 of the Life Editing Process, Delete Bad Influences. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.