By Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar Family
There is a 4-letter word so pervasive in society today that nobody even seems to notice its use anymore.
Like all 4- letter words, it’s ugly and negative, and people tend to use it in frustration. The word?
Busy has become an overused adjective that is dropped in so many situations it’s almost completely unnoticed.
Speaking to a friend you haven’t seen in a while who asks how you’re doing: Oh, I’m good, but I’ve been so busy!
Responding to someone who mentions they haven’t seen you at church, or at a social group lately: I couldn’t make it; I’ve been too busy.
Working with a financial counselor who is suggesting a way to get your family finances back in order: I don’t have time to do that work now; I’m too busy.
Families are too busy with activities to eat dinner together.
Professionals are too busy with work to get to the gym or to take a walk.
Moms are too busy running the kids everywhere to read a good book.
Everyone is too busy to undertake any continuing learning.
What if we eliminated the word busy from our vocabulary, and instead used vocabulary that more accurately reflects the situation: I don’t choose to prioritize that at this time.
I don’t choose to prioritize dinner time with my family.
I don’t choose to prioritize exercise or making healthy meals.
I don’t choose to prioritize church or prayer time.
I don’t choose to prioritize my continuing education.
I don’t choose to prioritize managing my finances.
That hurts a little bit, doesn’t it?
It hurts because it’s true.
Zig Ziglar said, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.” And he’s exactly right!
Yes, we need sleep — although some people don’t give that much priority either — but we are 100% in control of how we spend our 16 – 18 waking hours.
One. Hundred. Percent.
If you can accept that premise, that the choice is yours, then you’re ready to make some changes to your busy life, and start taking control of how you choose to prioritize your time.
It’s not going to be as easy as just making the decision, though. You’ve likely spent years getting yourself into your current chaotic situation, and you’re not going to make it better overnight.
My recommendation is to start by sitting down and listing what is most important to you in order of priority. Be honest with yourself, and write down what is really important, not just what is currently filling your schedule.
Once you’ve got your list, you’ll want to keep it somewhere that you can see it every day.
Say, for example, someone from the PTA calls and asks you to make cookies for the bake sale, and you happen to notice that “bake cookies for the PTA” is not high on your priority list. You can be empowered by your list to just say no!
It’s ok! N-O is not a 4-letter word!
Yes, you’re going to feel like you’re disappointing some people who are used to you doing all things for everyone. You’re just going to have to get over it!
Unless what someone is asking of you aligns with YOUR priorities, you’ve got to be tough and keep it off your calendar.
If nothing else, think about the example you’re setting for your kids. The reality is, you’re teaching them to use that 4-letter word like it’s some sort of badge of honor. Is that really what you want to do? I don’t think so.
It’s time to clean up your vocabulary. Kick out that “dirty” word, and don’t let it back in. It might be a radical change for you, but I promise, you’ll be so much better for it!
What do you think? Can you re-frame your vocabulary to eliminate the busy excuse and call it what it is: a priority problem? Share your thoughts below!