I think you’re a liar. You may not be a liar, but I suspect you could be. I’m also a liar, at least I think I used to be. What makes both of us liars is we constantly say we’re too busy. I’ve learned over the years that too busy is simply code word for either not interested or simply a means of not being able to manage your life correctly because you’re lazy. Therefore, you’re either a lazy liar who cannot manage your life correctly or you’re simply not interested.
Still with me or insulted at this point? The last thing a writer needs to do is insult his audience. I’m here to offer an awakening because I fell culprit to the too busy syndrome and getting out of it gave me the potential to become aware, productive, and happy. It made me a human again.
Riding my bicycle across the valley, I recently came across a tiny mom-n-pop shop in Burbank, CA with its store hours listed on the window. This rather whimsical sign, only intended to humorously display the operation hours, appears to divulge life’s little secret about happiness and success: Manage your time well and you’ll be happy.
As a trainer, I can easily relate this topic to exercise as a means of showing that too busy is a poor excuse to not workout. As it turns out, being too busy isn’t just a poor excuse to not workout, but rather a poor excuse in all facets of life.
Previously, I used to think the idea of being busy was cool. It showed me a great sense of confidence that I was wanted and requested by others. Being busy was a vanity thing. The marketing world from books like Book Yourself Solid constantly remind us that busy is good. Telling clients how busy you are and how you don’t have any time for their requests is a means of winning their business because human nature is to want something we cannot have. Who’d you rather have as your personal trainer: The busy guy with loads of requests or the guy who hardly has any clients in his portfolio?
Being too busy isn’t just a poor excuse to not workout, but rather a poor excuse in all facets of life.
For this reason, I did everything I could from what those sleazy marketers told me to do: I tried to book myself to capacity. I trained in-home. I trained at the studio. I trained in Glendale. I trained in Pasadena. I did an internship and trained additional clients in Brentwood driving two hours in horrendous traffic from the valley to the westside. I was at the mercy of my clients. I would go whenever and where ever they wanted me and I’d give each of them their very own hour — sometimes more. I was miserable and in turn professional service was compromised. I realized the marketers were full of shit and busy was not good.
I realized life is too short to be busy. When you’re not busy, you have more time to think and play. More time to exchange ideas and experiences with friends and family. In turn, professional service for clients is never compromised. There’s a lot to be said about partnered personal training sessions – grouping two to three clients within the same hour. Even though each client has a different goal, a good trainer can train multiple people within the hour while still upholding safety standards and individual results.
Tyler Ward’s article Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymore taught me that the negative connotations I was feeling about busy folks was justified. Busy is just a false facade based on lies, laziness, and time mismanagement that restricts performance and limits your mental capacity.
I know this because I experienced it. I claimed to be so busy that I had no control over my time management skills. I used busy as a means of showing confidence I lacked to demonstrate to people that I really am worth it. And I used busy at the expense of limiting my professional performance with clients.
I used busy as a means of showing confidence I lacked to demonstrate to people that I really am worth it. And I used busy at the expense of limiting my professional performance with clients.
I’ve realized that it is only when you eliminate the idea of being too busy that you can finally open the door to being happy. Eliminating busy means you’re in absolutely control of your life and your time management skills. Most importantly, you regain self-worth and confidence without using the word busy as a confidence-booster. Eliminating busy means you’ve got time to finally think and develop both personally and professionally.
This year I have numerous travel obligations, both personal and professional. Stanford University in Palo Alto, Mt. Saint Mary’s College here in Los Angeles, Knoxville, TN, Asheville, NC, Houston, TX, and New York, NY. But busy will not be one of them. Learning and experience will because we’ve learned that being busy doesn’t mean being productive. “Being busy is just another form of laziness,” said Tim Ferriss.
Busy was also not in the agenda when I decided to take 8 days off from work on December 31st, 2013. Sure I had personal and professional projects to work on, year-end taxes to organize, and people to see. But the main reason for this time off was to be idle. Idle from busy. The Times commentator Tim Kreider said, “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice. It is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.” Idleness is a good thing because it helps eliminate busy in allowing you to experience more with family and friends and as stereotypical as this sounds, allows you to stop and smell the roses.
“Being busy is just another form of laziness.” -Tim Ferriss
Through this approach I’ve learned to run by business like a mom-n-pop souvenir shop or the lemonade stand I used to have as a kid on the front lawn. I open in the morning and close in the evening and don’t attend to additional hours or requests because life is short. My idle time is more valuable than my busy time and there’s absolutely no room for work on the weekends. When I’m not working, I don’t think about counting reps and barbells, or in our analogy, lemonades and souvenirs. Idle time is time away from busy for what makes me happy whether it’s enjoying great food with friends, cycling, or driving to a place I’ve never been.
A wise friend recently said to me, “Life is not something that happens to us, it is only responding to us.” Stop fooling yourself because you’re not really busy. You may be lazy and lacking confidence. You may also be a liar. But busy is something you’re probably not. You just need a better approach to managing everything — one that will give you ample time for all the things you really wanted to do including regular exercise that provides real results or that long overdue conversation with your close friend from back home.