Has working to put a dent in the world’s biggest problems left your hands tied up? Hate to break it to you … but everyone else is busy too. It might be time to change your mindset about what being “busy” really is.

“I’m busy. Crazy busy!” For years, this has been my standard answer to people when they ask how I’m doing. I’m not just busy. I’m crazy busy. And I bet you are too.

But I’m done with that. I’m sick of saying I’m busy and I’m sick of being busy. I feel like I have built up a persona around always being busy that has ceased to be a description of how I’m doing but rather has actually become a way of life.

If you’re like most people I know you’re exactly the same way. You say you’re busy. And you live your life like you’re busy.

Free yourself from the shackles of “busy.”
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So let’s agree together that we’ll give this up. We’ll stop defining our lives by the number of meetings we take or the number of events we attend; the volume of email we receive and our constant and never ending quest for “inbox zero”; the sheer volume of the things we do. We may not cut anything out of our lives – although looking at your life through this lens might cause you to rethink what you say yes to, as it has for me – but the simple fact that we don’t define our existence by this word will free us from its shackles.

“I’m great. And enjoying what I’m doing!” Decide how you will change your mindset about how busy you are. Change it. Then track how much more you are actually able to accomplish when you consider your time free to be filled with doing what you love to do (a.k.a. solving those big world problems).

This article published in 2014. It has been reposted to inspire further conversation.

About the author

Seth Levine

Seth Levine

Seth is a Boulder, CO based technology investor and managing director at Foundry Group. His career spans venture capital investing as well as operational, transactional and advisory roles at both public and private companies.

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  • getting “busy” is like a spiral – it’s so easy to spin out of control with it. i struggle once i start to feel a bit pressed in keeping it from heading downhill quickly. curious how others feel about how to avoid getting the “busy flywheel” going.

  • I don’t think we should define our lives as “busy.” Like the article said, everyone is busy and it is unfair to assume that what you have going on is more difficult or more of a time commitment or more hectic than what other’s have going on in their lives. Yet, I think being busy can also be a great thing, as long as you are passionate about what is keeping you busy.

  • The word “busy” can be interpreted so differently between various people. Almost everyone has told someone that they’re busy. However, I think there is a growing sense of frustration these days regarding this expression since someone’s “busy” life could be considered someone else’s free schedule. For example, a person that works two jobs and goes to school at the same time would say that they’re schedule is busy. This person would get frustrated when they talk to someone else and because that person would say that they’re busy because of just classes. Thus, everyone has different interpretation of what is busy or not. For this reason, in my opinion I think that conversations surrounding how a person is doing should just end at the answer “I’ve been busy”. More meaningful conversations would be going into details about what a person is currently doing, if they are enjoying themselves, or any reply that has a better detail attached.

  • i always consider my self as a busy person, however i love to keep my self busy rather than being at home and doing nothing. This is my senior year in university actually, i have a lot of paper to do and i also join an organisation and like to participate in any events and meetings. but i also make time for my friends to hang out.i know i’m not busy like a business person. i don’t have a job right know but i consider my self busy. one of my friend told me that she hates me for always saying that i am busy. i don’t know how i should change mindset about being busy because i also being busy with the stuffs that i like.

  • I would agree with Dolly on this one. I feel as though after 4 years of college I have a good idea of what I can handle and understand exactly what “busy” means. I find it frustrating when people who call themselves busy are struggling with tasks that are really simple to take care of. I think busy sometimes comes down to habit. How well can a person in grain in themself with work ethic?

  • These is some weird social pressure around being “busy.” Especially at our school. People get wrapped up in saying they are busy and they think that gives them a free pass to not help in group projects or participate in extracurriculars. I think the “I’m busy” response is crippling and the perception needs to change.

  • Time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose to spend it differently. I agree with the other commenters on how everyone tends to see themselves busier than other people. Sometimes, it seems like there’s an underlying competition going on to see who’s busier. I would say that everyone has their own capacity of workload, and being “really busy” should stop being the first thing people talk about when they see each other. Also, I wonder how many “busy” people are spending their time on facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.

  • Something that I always like to remember is that although we may feel overwhelmed and busy, we should never be too busy to make time for the things that we are about the most. I hear my roommate say all the time, “I’m a nursing major, so I’m too busy for that.” However, I also find her watching hours and hours of television.

    We decide for ourselves what we find important and we shouldn’t limit ourselves to thinking we are too busy for new things.

    I think it’s a great idea to put yourself in a better mindset and realize that you enjoy some of the stuff you are doing to. Taking time to reflect on this can also help us prioritize and set time aside.

  • Unfortunately, it has become all too common for people to use “I’m crazy busy” as an excuse for being flaky, for not doing something as promised, for being grumpy, and for an assortment of other bad behavior. A few years ago, I found myself falling into this trap. The worst part was that I was strangely proud of it. I felt a strange sense of accomplishment and pride in the fact that I was “too busy” to spend time with my friends or to take time for myself. Now I realize the naivety I was exhibiting. Being able to balance school, work, social, and personal time is a skill that I am constantly struggling to develop, but one that is extremely important to keep working on. Finding the balance in my life has helped me to not only be happier, but also to be more engaged in the things that I am involved with. Finding the balance means being at a level of busy that doesn’t feel so much like “busy,” but more like “fulfilled.”

  • I absolutely agree. We should not define our lives “busy” all the time. it is obvious that we are busy with all the things that are going on in our life otherwise we should not call it life anymore. However, I consider the word “busy” when we define our live is so pathetic. It is nothing but a complaining and negative attitude towards our lives. We may not realized that we do it all the time of telling the truth is that we are busy. but it will absorb and become our habit that whoever ask how we are doing, we say that we are busy. Why can’t we say “I’m very good. Really enjoying my busy life”. how’s that? Isn’t that more positive and have some kind of enjoying what life offers (unless you do not enjoy your life). I absolutely agree with Seth in this article. People sometimes so into their work that they lose the human sense of enjoying what life offers and just answers one boring word “busy”. It should be changed right now and we can make it if we make efforts to change that attitude towards our lives. Thanks so much for posting this. It is short, yet meaningful!

  • In my opinion the expression busy is highly relative to everyone, I would say that the amount of activity it self does not necessarily dictates how “busy” a person is. What I would say determines a person’s “busyness” is their capability to do the activities themselves. This means that a person could do school as well as two jobs in the same day but they would still have free time to do other things as they have more energy to go about and they are willing to put in the effort. I think that the word “busy” is generalized and overused to the point where people say that they are tired because they are busy.

  • Wow. What an interesting approach. I know I can personally say that the first thing I do when I wake up, is check my work emails. I am so consistently refreshing the page, and I actually just left this page to answer an email on another tab. I agree that it’s become a lifestyle, but like all lifestyles, it will be a hard habit to break – I believe it will be most effective to slowly transition into truly enjoying life again: taking breaks, leaving the phone at home, in the car, and beginning to really turn our mindset back onto our enjoyment of life, because you never know what you’re missing with friends, family and your life, when you’re tuned into an entirely different universe.

  • True, but college places a unreasonable amount of demand on students who don’t have the privelege of having parents to rely on financially. For students who have to pay their own rent and meals, those tasks you view as simple can become the tipping point for overworked students. For all the talk about college preparing you for the real world, in the real world you are not asked to pay $40K+ per year to work on projects in a diversity of subject matters for 30 hours per week, and then work a minimum wage 25 hours a week to just barely afford rent and food, while also maintaining an unpaid third position for 15 hours a week.

    As a student in that situation you are basically working double full time, while paying out twice or more of what you earn in a year. Can you really fault them for struggling with “simple” tasks when their lives are anything but?

  • I agree with this to some extent, but simply changing the way refer to our state of being externally does nothing for the stresses we feel internally nor does it do anything for the reality that there is a limited amount of time in the day to get things done.

  • From my perspective, I think busy can have a different interpretation between different people. However, being busy doing something that you are passionately about is a good thing. Sometimes we might not have the time to hangout with friends or watch movie premieres on a thursday night. But if our busyness is what keeps us satisfied, then I think it’s okay to be a busy person. As long as we still remember who we are and where we came from, then having a busy life is totally fine.

  • I am definitely one of those people that always say, “I’m busy” or “I’ve just been super busy.” But recently, it’s just become a habit to say that even though, when I really analyze my schedule and what I do daily, I’m actually not that busy. I realize that if I managed my time better and stopped doing useless, time-consuming things, such as watching TV, I would have a lot more time on my hand and wouldn’t make myself as “busy” and stressed.
    I believe that continuously thinking and saying that you are busy makes you feel a lot busier, so I’m going to try to find another way to describe how I’m doing instead of “busy”. Thinking and saying things a certain way definitely affects the way you feel and act, so thinking positively would be a great thing!

  • Completely agree with you on this. I paid my way through community college and during that time I was working sometimes 40+ hours at 3 different jobs. Even simple homework assignments become difficult when you’re exhausted. Finding time to complete school work is a whole other story.

  • The idea of not “defining our lives” by being busy doesn’t make sense to me. Simply eliminating the word busy without actually changing anything won’t remove any stress from overworking yourself. It would be more helpful to focus on defining your priorities to avoid adding unnecessary things to your life so you can actually be less busy.

  • Yeah, I agree with you, Marissa! I didn’t really buy in to his argument that “the simple fact that we don’t define our existence by this word will free us from its shackles.” It sounds as if he’s saying that if I don’t acknowledge the fact that I’m busy, then I will magically not feel busy any more. If it were that easy, I would have stopped using the word busy a long time ago! You’re totally right in saying that the real solution to “busyness” is cutting out the commitments you don’t care about or don’t really need to do. It’s all about making the tough decision to drop things that don’t matter as much and making time for yourself.

  • Great post. I think many people will change their mindset about “busy” after reading this article. Obviously, different people may have different standards to measure whether they are busy or how busy they are. Some people think that working beyond 12 hours a day and sleep only six hours are busy; however, some people think that working beyond 6 hours and sleep 12 hours are busy. I think the main point is not considering the time you use, rather the things you do and how you do it. If you are doing what you like, and every time you concentrate on doing it, even though it does not cost much time, you may think that you are busy. Therefore, I think we may revaluate the word “busy” and try to define it according to the situation that we are experiencing.

  • Personally, i do not think busy is something that bothers me. Sure sometimes I get very busy but I enjoyed being busy. Its nice to have a day without work and just relaxing, but it is boring. I tried to view every works/tasks enjoyable and take them not too serious (but that does not make my work bad), we just need to view everything in a less frustrated way.

  • I have never been in a situation in my life when I feel like “I am so busy” or “I have been busy”. It depends on how people schedule their tasks. Sometimes when my friends said that they were so busy with their job or what not, I was a little bit jealous, maybe, in some ways cause I feel like I dont have much thing to do. however, it is understandable when people feel frustrated when they becomes so busy with their life.

  • Thank you for posting this article. I agree that we are not supposed to
    define our lives busy all the time. It is true that we all are busy with
    all the things that are going on in our lives. In my opinion each
    person defines the word busy differently. Everyone has different
    interpretation of what is busy and what is not. I think that when a
    person goes on details how she/he has been busy is like he/she is
    complaining and has a negative attitude toward his/her life. I also
    agree that when people are so into their works, they tend to lose the
    human sense of enjoying their lives. I think it’s better for us to
    change the attitude towards the word busy and our lives.

  • our lives should definitely not be defined as busy all the time. im sure that everyone in the world have thought that they are “busy” when they actually are not. i think it is unfair for people to say that their busy just to avoid doing a favor for somebody else, when they could help out or something. in addition, i think that being actual busy is not always such a bad idea. keeping ourselves occupied and not slacking around keeps our mind to the test whether we are being productive or not. however, being too busy and not focus on any other small things is a bad idea. i believe that we all must know how to balance out our own lives.

  • People equate the opposite of “being busy” as being “not needed” or perhaps being bored / boring.

    Yet, the opposite of “being busy” could just as easily, and more positively, be “being open / available to new possibilities.”

    As Seth notes, the answer depends on one’s outlook on life, ultimately.

  • I feel that often we tell others that we are busy, as a defense as to why we are absent and unavailable from other activities and duties. I like how this article encourages a more positive approach to expressing ourselves. I will definitely be more mindful of what I say from now on.

  • It’s a very interesting article and reflects one aspect of
    our personalities and thoughts. When we are grown up, we tend to be busy,
    however, we might not actually be busy as we think we are. We create our own
    to-do’s list since we all want to better. We try to accomplish everything
    instead of actually enjoying our work. Honestly, I think busy is a choice. Some
    might say “they are busy” to make them look important and the others use it
    typically as an excuse or an apology.

  • Thanks for the great article! I think saying “I’m busy” is a habit for most people. It is common to use the word “busy” because even though they are not busy, they just don’t want to admit that they have nothing to do and have so much free time in their hand.

  • Truth! I’m all for improving perspective, but sometimes…you’re actually just super busy. Prioritizing is a great solution as well as using the almighty to-do list as a guide in hectic times.
    Be busy, but don’t let busy stop your life.

  • I personally challenged by this a lot. I say I am so busy but I also know that honestly I could be busier. For some reason being busy is negative rather than a positive accomplishment. You are busy? Great! That means you accomplished a lot that you are productive. However, I believe this doesn’t mean you should only be busy with work, work, work! We need to find balance in our lives and also leave time to be “busy” building relationships, spending time with our families, and becoming well rounded HAPPY people.

  • I think that people have become accustomed to thinking that being busy and letting others know you are busy is a sign of being better than them. But in reality, when you are that busy you are are missing the finer things in life. Life would be so much more enjoyable if people just slow down and take time to really appreciate their surroundings and everything around them.

  • Being busy is what I do best. As a college student with 18 credits a semester and 2 part time jobs, I am always doing something. These somethings I do are also not what I like to do. I have learned that being “busy” to me helps me with my stress, although most people would not understand that. Stress stems from a lot of events in peoples lives and can occur at any time. In my life, stress overwhelms me when I am not being “busy” because it almost frightens me that I have nothing to do. This not only is uncommon, but it pulls me down in the long run because I am wearing my body out. So although I do agree that we should not consider telling people we feel “busy”, you may want to think about what that person deals with every day and thinks about. Each individual deals with life a different way and emotions can occur at any given second so maybe saying “I’ve been crazy busy” is their only way out of having to worry about having a meltdown.

  • I agree a lot with what you have said, and that we as whole society need to change our mindsets. There isn’t enough control anymore in our lives, where its constantly being bombarded with emails or whatever the case may but having your mind right can change all of it which couldn’t be anymore closer to the truth. Its time to break free from the shackles and take control!

  • Thank you Seth! I agree with you that people are basically defining themselves by the number of things that they’ve accomplished in a day. Instead of focusing so much on these things, people should put more time aside to not be “crazy busy.” This could be a variety of different activities that you enjoy doing such as golf, or reading a book, or just going for a walk out in nature. I think that this blog post states the importance of avoiding getting sucked into becoming a “human doing” instead of taking time to relax and be a “human being” One question I would ask is, do you think that there are certain times when it’s necessary to be “crazy busy” if it means that you can accomplish an important piece of work?”

  • I don’t know if its as simple as that. I am going to try, when I say I’m busy, I’m busy, I don’t stop. But, by the same token when I hear some one say I’m bored or I have nothing to do, WOW, I wish that was me! Now I have added on to my plate by going back to school, sounds easy but, now imagine you don’t know how to use a computer, its like you just came out of a cave into this new technological world you know nothing about. Now, not only am I busy with school I have to take a crash course of learning a lap top or computer. When some one tells me they are depressed, I know its an illness but I have also noticed one thing that people with addictions and depression have in common, they are NOT BUSY!!! They are spending too much time on their addictions or depression, get out and do something, volunteer work, help with children, abandoned animals etc… Be busy contributing instead of just hyper focusing on what’s not good…

  • I found this article I could relate to because I am one of those really busy people. I really like the quote you added “free yourself from the shackles of busy.” I like this quote because in our society today we really are focused on moving on to the next thing and we often don’t just sit back and not be busy. It is hard to not focus on time and just focus on enjoying life. The only thing I found slightly difficult is that it is hard to not be busy, especially when you are a college student. No matter how well you manage your time, how well you focus on the important things sometimes you really are just going to be busy. Even though I personally want to be free and try not to be focused so much on time, I just cannot help it. But we really should not define our life as busy. Thank you for sharing this article, it helped me see that being busy sucks. This really relates to my life. But a question I might ask is what advice would you give to a busy college student?

  • I agree that everyone has a different interpretation of what is busy or not which can be very frustrating though I do not think it is fair to invalidate the way someone feels.

  • I always find myself saying to other I busy, just as Seth did. But I do want to say, half the time I just wanted other to give me a break. I believe this is pure sarcasm. When I am really “busy”, no one is able to get hold of me to even ask how busy I am. In reality we just need to learn to live life If we really are busy and not necessarily take breaks, but to enjoy the times. Thank you.

  • I really enjoyed this article, thanks for sharing! The name of this article caught my attention within seconds, the reason for that being is because I find myself using the word “busy” on a daily basis. Being a full time college student is a demanding job, and lately I have found myself becoming overwhelmed with the amount of work I have on my plate. It’s funny because just earlier today a friend asked me how I was doing, and out of habit I responded with “busy”, what’s even more funny though is that I think at some point I even mentioned how I was “crazy busy”. Now that I think about it, “busy” is not even a logical answer to describe how a person is doing, so why do we so commonly respond with that? The next time someone asks me how I am doing, I will not be answering with “busy”.

  • Thank you for sharing! I agree that sometimes we get caught up in work by putting things off when they’re convenient for us. We’re always doing different things that we can’t take time to enjoy the little things. However, we can make our lives easier by working hard and taking time to enjoy life. What can we do to make things less busy for us?

  • Thank you for this article! I am one of those people that I feel like I am always busy and never have a minute to sit and enjoy the world around me. I feel like that goes for most college students when you have to work part-time or full-time and go to school full-time there is sometimes never a break. I just think after I am finished with school I wont be super busy by working and going to school it is only for a short time. What advice would you give for a college student who has to work and go to school on how to get away from being busy?

  • This article is a little confusing to me. Just because we don’t define ourselves as busy, doesn’t mean we actually aren’t busy and aren’t feeling the effects it has on us. If I say I’m not busy when I actually am, I would still be just as stressed out, and have equal amounts of work to do.

  • Thank you for the very positive and uplifting article! I was just about to say how busy I was until I read this! When approached by someone asking how we are doing, I agree with you saying that many of us have a more negative response to this question. It is our decision to decide how busy we truly are, but I understand the difficulties it is to change that, especially with such a routine schedule that we are used to. As a student, it is rather difficult to change your class and work schedule in the middle of the term, but we do have control over how we respond to someone’s “how are you?”. I think that is a key way to reduce stress and negativity, not only for yourself, but maybe the person asking you as well. A question for the author, what kinds of strategies do you use to monitor your “busyness” to keep it at a reasonable level?

  • This is very much true. I agree that sometimes when I feel like I am super busy I would be the exact same way in the article. I tend to think I am very busy when in reality I just have things I need to get done. A lot of times I tell friends or family I am very busy so I wont be able to attend certain events. When really I may be busy but if I would just free myself from it all it wouldnt seem as bad as it really is. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • I am for sure one of those “busy” people. I feel like I am always on the run to be somewhere or do something and because of this my days fly by and I don’t realize what I missed out on. I feel like with better time management and focus on the things that matter, I won’t feel like I am always busy or running from one thing to another.

  • It’s a good point. We need to stop being too busy for everything. We always have a to-do list on our minds and that yearn to be productive. We need to start taking more time and giving it to other things that are very important!

  • I am always busy, always. I feel like I never have any down time anymore with work, school and social life. Being an undergraduate student with sixteen credits and working to pay off loans and meals plus keeping a social life in clubs and catching up with friends is physically and mentally exhausting. I need to track down my free time like you said and do stuff I miss doing like reading and hiking, going out and taking a breather every once in a while.

  • So true. Every now and then we need to stop and smell the
    roses. We may be busy but every second of our day doesn’t have to be filled
    with the on-the-go too busy to chat mode. I am really going to make an effort
    to enjoy my day or at least pieces of it. Today I’m going to take my lunch to a
    nearby park and simply enjoy some serenity.

  • I don’t think anyone will ever stop being busy. Being busy is just a part of adult life and that will never change. It is true that we have more power to determine what kind of busy we choose to be than some people realize, but especially in today’s world being busy is never going away. We may want to tell ourselves that we’re going to regret having been so busy all our lives but without being busy however, nothing gets done and innovation does not happen.

  • This is a great article when trying to understand the actual meaning of being “busy.” I always have the thought in my mind that I am busy and I dont know how many times a week I tell my friends I am busy. Half the time you can partake in certain things because you think your too busy. I feel that going to school over the past four years and made me realize what being busy is. But the real question is do I even have any clue what busy acutally means? Thanks for sharing this article.

  • This is an interesting article. As a student involved with time-consuming extracurriculars, I often find myself stressed about getting everything done well and on time because I’m “always busy.” Changing my mindset could help to a point, but ultimately I make the choice to be involved with activities that consume three fourths of my day.

  • Everyone is busy, unless your are just plain lazy and don’t do anything. I have found that people who say they are “busy” and use that as an excuse to stop doing the little things that are most important, are the people who forgot what is most important in life, the little things. Some people are indeed to busy sometimes to do things, but a lot of those problems come down to how you plan and set up your schedule. If people learned how to sit down each morning and plan out what they need to get done that day I think a lot of people would find a lot more time in their day.

  • This is something that I hear all the time when talking about exercising. Many people do not have the time to work out or put a couple minutes of walking into their days. I know I got caught up in the “being busy” all the time when I first started college, that I never found time to workout. However, I started prioritizing things that mattered and started finding time for the things that matter in my life and stopped using the “busy” excuse.

  • I can honestly say that you challenged my current way of thinking with this article. I can’t think of how many times I respond to “how are you” with “I’m just busy”. Like you stated, I have become someone who defines themselves as “busy” but in reality, there is so much more. I am one who needs to unshackle themselves from busy and start describing what I am really doing and how I am really feeling. There is so much more than being busy and I need to make sure that I express that.

  • Thank you sharing your opinion on people saying they are always busy. I struggle to agree with you as a college student. When I first began college and took too many credits I thought that I learned the definition of what being busy was but two years later during my junior year I learned what being “crazy busy” really was. There were things I had to do that I couldn’t stop doing if I wanted to succeed while keeping a roof over my head. I was required to work a lot, do a bunch or school work, and do volunteer hours for school. It was extremely stressful and I disagree with sometimes being able to be less busy. I do believe that there are particular times in life when you can be less busy. As soon as I graduate I will make sure I am less busy, as I usually do during summer when I do not have school. It is annoying to hear people say they are crazy busy. How do you react to people when they tell you this?

  • I will join the movement! Just earlier today I was thinking that as well. I am sick of being busy. It is a terrible way to live your life. I am constantly thinking what my next step is and where I am going, instead of living in the moment and enjoying it. The really funny thing is that I was looking forward to 4 days off of work and school, but I find myself on these blissful days off thinking about what I have to do after these 4 days to finish the semester off strong and ace my final exams. I am not even fully appreciately not being busy, even though I loathe when i am busy.

  • Great article. I think everyone can to relate. “Crazy busy” seems to be the norm today, which is something I am familiar with and am also frustrated with.When people ask me how I am I will no longer respond with I’m busy, it will be a challenge but with a positive outcome I look forward to.

  • Thanks Seth Levine. I agree that by allowing ourselves to NOT be define by the term “busy” is important. We need to look at our lives, our schedules, our choices and make sure that our “busy” is the tasks that will define us not the other way around.

  • Attitude is everything in this world. Most of the time when I think I’m crazy busy it is all in my head because I am thinking of the big picture of everything I have to do. The better way I have found to approach this feeling of being busy is to prioritize what I need to do and focus on the goal on hand, rather than all at once.

  • I agree that getting rid of the mentality that you are too busy will improve your life. Sometimes you just got to realize that your are lucky to be able to do what you are doing. I’ve always heard that you really want to do something you’ll find time for it.

  • I actually don’t mind being busy. I don’t see it as a bad thing and I don’t feel bad telling people that I am busy. If I wasn’t so busy, I would find things to make me busy, as weird as that sounds. I love to vacation, but even on my vacations, I work on my personal businesses. It’s almost like I don’t know how to turn it off (not that I would want to).

  • I like this comment. Everyone is busy but they normally choose what to be involved in and how often. Prioritizing tasks often has to be presented because not everyone can do everything. Like you said, you choose what activities to be involved in. Saying your busy is sometimes a burden but it cannot be an excuse.

  • I really liked this. It was short and to the point. I find myself doing this all the time if not 100% of the time. I will always say how busy I am to people, or I will tell them how much I have to do. I find myself often making excuses because of how much I have to do, or how “busy” I am. I feel like this has really taken a toll on my life. I am really going to take into consideration changing the way I view things. I am doing what I am doing because I love it, and it will get me a great job in the future, not because I need to do it. Nobody told me I have to get a college degree in order to be happy. It was my choice.

  • Seth, I like how you agree that we are all busy, but we can control our stress from being busy by taking control.

  • Thank you for the post! I love this article. I feel like everyone should take a second for themselves. We need to enjoy life while we can, we shouldn’t let our work and family lives control us. We all are our own types of busy, some more than others, but everybody needs some time to cut loose and be free. “Crazy busy” is not how you should live your whole adult life. However, I do think it is how you need to live some of your life. During college while your trying to find your career path, you need to be crazy busy and work your ass off to achieve your goals. Life isn’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter. You have to go out there with confidence and determination and strive for what you really want.

  • Thank you for this article, I believe the meaning of busy to one person might mean something completely different to another. For me, if I say I’m busy, I think of it is as I have a few things to do today, nothing too stressful, whereas someone else might be working 30+ hours a week, with bills to pay while studying for an exam. AI don;t know if I completely agree with your article, for some people, it is impossible for them to take a day off but I understand your general message.

  • I often find myself becoming “so busy” in my life that I cut time out of my hobbies for my busy nonsense. It makes me wonder if my “busy” attitude is really the most effective/efficient outlook on each day. I do believe we should continue to keep a steady, healthy amount of workload in our life, but we should instead set up a more scheduled time for being “busy”.

  • I am always on the go and theres always something that im doing or need to do. If someone asks to go out or to do anything i automatically say no because i know theres a million things on plate. I never thought that it will never end and there will always be emails, meetings, practices, homework due, work and papers due so it would be ok if i take a break and say yes i will hang out with you.

  • I always tell people I’m busy with school or work or whatever I have going on, but you are right I do love what I’m doing and wouldn’t change my busy life. I really like this way of looking at my busy life!

  • I think this is a great article that relates well to your doing one thing a ta time article. What we perceive as being busy can often be attributed to the fact that we are just trying to do too much at once, which causes us to be ineffective at what we do. If we broke it down and tried to do less at a time, we could actually get more done. Funny how that works, eh?

  • I feel the same way, I look at everything I have to do and that makes me feel like I have too many things to do and not enough time. I as well find that when I look at things in terms of what needs to be done next and take it one thing at a time I do not feel so busy and overwhelmed.

  • I like this article a lot, it really makes me step back and think about how busy I really am. I realized that when I say I am busy it makes me go about life differently, I make excuses as to why I cannot do something because I am too busy. I need to just accept that I have things I need to do and so does everybody else, there is nobody who is not busy it is a part of life. I am going to try and change how I think about how busy I am and I think that it is going to make my life less stressful.

  • You made a good point when you said to “free yourself from the shackles of ‘busy'”. Being a college student, i would classify most days as “busy” because i have classes throughout the day and then i work a few days a week and then i do home work and study throughout the week as well. Being busy has a strong impact on my mood though. But despite being busy, i always make sure to set time aside to relax and watch Netflix or hang out with my friends or go home and see my family. I find it extremely important to make time for the fun things instead of letting yourself get too consumed with being busy.

  • I am definitely guilty of responding with “I’m CRAZY busy” when people ask how I am doing. They are not asking how much free time I have or how much time I spend at work or class, they are asking me how I am. Sometimes it is easy to say that I’m busy, but that could mean that I’m overwhelmed with things to do or I am happily busy. Either way, I should really try to keep my workload out of my feelings when other people ask simple questions like that.

  • I agree that the word “busy” is a form of habit. In today’s American society, people are always on the move. That is why we have drive thru windows at fast food restaurants so that you can have your food on the go. We have grown up in a society that is filled with people who are always running around to complete all the tasks they have for that day. I feel as though if i didn’t keep myself busy then i just wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

  • Thanks for the post. People are so busy these days and it takes away from them enjoying life like they should be doing. Constantly working or being on the run doesn’t make you a happier person in my opinion. You need to take time out of your day to sit back and relax and enjoy all of the things in your life.

  • Thank you for sharing! I totally agree with this article! I feel there are times where people battle with who has to do more in their day or what they have to take care of. The amount of work you have should not define your life but change the mindset into productivity or just enjoying the simpler things at the same time.

  • Thank you very much for posting this article Seth, I greatly appreciate reading those words and I couldn’t help but feel more free the more I read the article. I have been saying how I am extremely busy and exhausted whenever someone asks me how I’m doing. It’s become a curse. I feel like I can’t enjoy myself because I’m defined by my business so it’s sort of frustrating. Your article was filled with just the words I needed to hear, especially “free yourself from the shackles of busy.” This was way to accurate for my life, so thank you!

  • The amount of work should not define your life, but it should change your motivation you have behind it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone battle about what has to get done in their day or what they have to take care of before but I’m sure it has happened. What do you suggest we do to enjoy the simplier things as well as being productive at the same time in life?

  • I totally agree with your comment, many times people seem to use the “im busy” as a crutch in order to avoid doing something. Perhaps a better response would be to say “I have a previous committment, but lets work something out”

  • I am always busy. Though it seems like i think i’m not, My roommates always tell me to do things that doesn’t involve homework and stuff. Sometimes it feels good to stop what you’re doing, take a deep breathe and relax. Thanks for letting me share.

  • I completely agree with this article. I know when I put things in my planner and I see that a busy day is ahead it’s all I think about. “Well I better do this now because I’m going to be really busy tomorrow.” The day comes and it’s never as bed as what I had in my head, but that’s the mindset I have every time a busy day is approaching. I want to start to think, “I have a lot to do tomorrow. I’m going to give it my all and hopefully rock it.” That mindset would lessen so much stress and worry from my life.

  • Right now I am the definition of busy. Im trying to finish these blig comments that ive procrastinated for three months, I attend school three days a week, work, and I am a local high school coach for wrestling. With so much going on I truly know what busy means now more than ever.

  • I am completely guilty of doing this! I never thought about it from this perspective. I think this is something that I definitely need to think about.

  • This was a great article! I want to take your challenge. I constantly make my life too busy to the point where I can’t do anything enjoyable anymore, like hang out with friends, and do things that I love to do on my free time. I have found that when I don’t take some time for myself, and do the things that I enjoy in life, I become very unhappy. It really does ulter your mood. That is why I am going to make sure I make time for friends, family and just enjoying life while I can. You only Live Once. Thank you for sharing this Article!

  • I also agree with this, I’m working 40 hours a week in a semi-busy work environment while also doing 18 credits(6 classes) this semester, it’s pushing me to the brink. I still try to make time for fun and relaxation, but when people ask me how I’m doing, I do notice myself saying “Im busy” a lot.

  • I do love this article, I do think it’s important to make time for happiness. I know I don’t want to die someday knowing that I lived my life unhappily. Life is too short to live life poorly, I do understand sacrificing time for something greater, but living your entire life like this doesn’t seem right. I need to learn to manage my time better, then maybe I wouldn’t be so “busy”.

  • I agree that changing your mindset can be effective all by itself. Our brains are so powerful! In regards to being busy, what you suggest is challenging because life can be so overwhelming even if you do love what you are doing. I like your advice and it’s something I will work on.

  • I completely agree with this. The amount of times I feel like I’m “swamped” but really only have some homework to do is ridiculous. I get all worked up for nothing and I just end up putting it off anyways. I need to stop this and realize what busy actually is.

  • I loved how this article was short and to the point. I feel like I’m a “crazy busy” person, but then again, so are all of my other fellow classmates. I give credit to the individuals who are full time students and bartend on weekdays. The students who get home at 3am, come to class at 9am and still have a smile on their face. I am guilty of using the busy excuse, but I actually enjoy my life being busy, and it makes the day go by fast, I think it is better to be too busy than not busy enough.

  • attitude is such an important thing in life. Your mind is a powerful thing and it can change the way you feel by just being positive. everyone is busy today but is being busy all that bad if you’re busy doing the things you love?

  • I think some people think theyre busy, but really, theyre only busy because they don’t know how to use their time properly. I have a friend who says shes always busy doing homework, but really, she does a few minutes of homework then sits on Instagram for a few minutes. If she did her homework without any distractions, she would get it done in half the time and her life wouldn’t seem so “busy”

  • I agree with you! Some people’s busy is different than other’s. Some people also perceive their lives being busy when other people may perceive the same thing as not so busy.

  • Agreed! If some people would just manage their time better, they wouldn’t seem so busy. I am great at managing my time, therefore, I do not perceive my life as being too busy.

  • I agree with your comment. A lot of people look at my life and are like oh my goodness you’re so busy! Which yes, I have alot of responsibilities but I also spend a huge amount of time napping, watching Netflix, and going out haha

  • I completely agree with what you said about people feeling like they can’t take the time to make a healthy home cooked meal so instead they go through drive thru windows. This could also be said about people not exercising. They average amount of time someone should be exercising a day is 30 min, but people think it needs to be done all at once. If they exercise in 10 minutes chunks they can be successful!

  • This is very true about exercising! I have learned that it’s okay to even just do a little bit at a time. Many people think that exercising requires you to have a gym membership and plan out when to go and how long to work out for when you can exercise just by going for a run outside or a long walk to to even play a pick up game of soccer or something. This is what is so great about exercise. There are SO many ways to get exercise and you can choose which ways are best for you!

  • I like this point and i defnitaly do this, we always making excueses by telling people how busy I am.

  • Everyone is a different level of busy but everyone will say they are busy. I’ve found that you are certain to get help from the busiest while the ones who aren’t very busy are less likely to find the time to help.

  • This article read my mind, as a student I hear this all the time and am guilty of it too. Nothing wrong with letting other people know you’re busy especially when you are explaining why you can’t hangout. However the fault in saying you are busy is thinking that you are the busiest person in the world and everyone else is floating by. When really a lot of people may be even busier than you, but just don’t verbalize it or complain about it.

  • Thank you for posting this article! I really find it eye opening! It’s easy to say that we’ll change our ways but then it is difficult to keep up with the change. It saying that, I like what you said about having to track it afterward. I think that is smart because then we are aware of the actions we make and are more cautious about what we do!

  • I completely agree with you. I am in many group projects this semester and finding a time for everyone to meet is nearly impossible. The “I’m busy” excuse is over used. I feel as if now a days its just an excuse because don’t want to take the time to meet, and not because they actually have something going on.

  • Busy bee’s. This term came about by seeing how these bugs are constantly working.
    The difference is, if you ever watch a bee, you see how in sync they are with their fellow hive-mates to accomplish a goal. That the way they move is like a beautiful dance and they take but also give back.
    That is how it should be in every undertaking. We are not defined by our work, it is a byproduct of what we are not who we are.
    Sure you can be involved in a business that you love and enjoy doing, but you are so much more than that. You’re a person with character and experiences that is unique to you, that has brought you to the spot that you are at now.
    Getting bogged down by life’s demands is no way to live, only survive. What will someone else, or even you say of your life if you’re defining it by being busy with x, y and z?
    There needs to be a cultural shift from looking at your life as a summation of work to a summation of experience.

  • I agree that I hear and use the word busy so often. Because that is how I feel. But I don’t think I use it in a bad way. Yes busy days can be hectic and I may not always feel like I’m getting a lot done and I may feel like I am not getting to talk to everyone I want to, but busy for me does not mean unhappy or in a bad mood. It means I have a lot to get done. I think more that changing our language away from busy we should have a better understanding of each other’s busy. Instead of hearing someone else say they are busy and saying ok I won’t bother you, we should take the time to ask them how they’re doing in their busyness. And we should stop competing with each other on who is busier. Everyone is busy in their own way and we need to support others in any way we can.

  • This is an article that I really needed to read at this point in my life. I am constantly saying to people I love, “I would love to do that, but I am busy, sorry”. I say this probably on a daily basis. If I wasn’t so busy maybe I would have a life! But, busy is something that I feel we are always going to have to work through. But it is about how we deal with it. Either you cut a few things out of your life so you are not as busy, or you add more hours in a day! I used to say, “I could get so much more done if there was 25 hours in a day” but in reality, we are the ones that control what we do, and when we do them. So, we only have ourselves to blame for being so busy.

  • I find that those who are busiest are the ones who are able to get the most done. People who are used to living a busy lifestyle everyday are simply better at managing their time and therefore find time for all the little things that need to be done.

  • I agree that if you are passionate about what is keeping you busy then it’s not busy work, it’s doing a hobby. Sports and exercise are what make my day very busy but without that stuff I wouldn’t be enjoying my day. Those are things I need to make my day complete, even if it makes me more busy.

  • I agree with both of you that people put off exercising and eating healthy because they are simple to “busy”. When there are simple things like you said like cutting up your 30 minute exercise into ten minute chunks throughout the day. Same with eating healthy there is a simple fix, we can meal prep / pack healthy nutritious meals for the work or school day so we don’t have to stop at the nearest fast food restaurant.

  • I agree with you, anybody who has been to college at any
    level knows what it means to actually be “busy”. Some people say that
    when busy to them is sitting around somewhere doing nothing or very little.
    With that being said there are only so many hours in the day and for a lot of
    people a lot of that time is dedicated properly to their priorities.

  • I agree with this. Busy is something that we all seem to be, which leads me to the conclusion that “busy” is all relative. Someone’s busy schedule might be a cakewalk to another. The term really is a bad term for it really doesn’t allow the one asking how you’re doing to know what’s really going on, for being “busy” can mean so many things.

  • Absolutely. I use to always think I knew what busy was, until I found myself in college. Between class, the coursework and work, overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to explain the struggle. It’s true, that busy to some people includes laying on their couch upside down while eating a popsicle, but there are several of us who use our 24 hours to get things down.

  • My answer is Always, “I’m having fun! Keeping extremely busy but having fun doing it.” Being a college student, days do get busy but they are always manageable. It’s juggling work, school, sports, any type of social life. I completely agree, all we need is a change of our mindset about being busy. Thanks for sharing!

  • I agree with you. I have heard this excuse far too many times at my work that people can’t come in because they have to much going on… Number one it’s a job how can you be too busy to come into work. I think if people had better time management then they wouldn’t be so “busy”.

  • This is a great way of thinking about this. I honestly do always say that i am crazy busy but most of the time i feel like i make it out to be a good thing. I’m either busy with work, going to family functions or being with friends. I love what i do everyday. Of course there are days where i dont feel like going to work or there are some night i dont really feel like going out with friends. I look at being busy in a good way. I enjoy having a job, i enjoy hanging out with my family and friends. I definitely like the way Seth thinks about being busy though. It’s a good mindset to have.

  • I agree with this 100%. We can’t always assume that everyone is in the same position. It is really hard for a lot of college students to get by without the help from outside sources. However, i think this article is trying to tell us to try and take a look at it from a different point of view. As a college student, paying your own way, working for everything you have, you can look at that and be very proud of it. I understand that it is extremely hard to look at situations like that but it definitely makes life a lot less stressful when we look at the glass half full.

  • Hey Nathan, what is your major? Why did you decide to go to college and major in your chosen field? It sounds like you’re getting bogged down with the demands of college along with the upfront costs. Are you enjoying your journey (college) to your end result (your chosen career field)? If you’re not enjoying the journey, you might not enjoy your end result: your career. You will be getting bogged down and always thinking you’re busy, because life doesn’t get less busy after college. You don’t have to view the money you’re putting into your education and the work required for the degree as a bad thing. Again, you need to enjoy school and consider this an amazing opportunity. I am currently taking 18 credits, while working, while commuting to school 45 minutes and back every day, while taking care of my parents, while fitting in exercise, and feeding myself. With my lifestyle, every hour of the day counts. However, I don’t view it as being busy or an unreasonable work load. I truly enjoy what I do, including the hours I put into schoolwork, and it doesn’t appear to be busy to me. I hope you could be able to look at school this way too 🙂

  • I definitely agree with you the the “i’m busy” excuse is way over used and its just an excuse to not meet up. When I do find myself saying I am busy, because of work mostly, I always try to give an alternative time to meet up or other option.

  • I think this is great and gave me a lot of insight. I always tell people that I am so busy. In reality, I could probably be busier. When I don’t talk to people for a long time, I always tell them it’s because I’m so busy. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to reach out to people and make time for friends and family. I understand that people are truly busy all the time with children, family, work, school, etc. I think it’s important for people to prioritize their tasks. Work and school is important, but so is family and spending time with friends. Saying that you’re busy is an easy excuse and almost everyone says it. I like the idea of freeing yourself from the shackles of busy. I will try to take that word out of my vocabulary.

  • I agree that saying that you’re busy is just an excuse in most cases. I like how you said that people think it’s a free pass to get out of things. I understand that people have kids and have to work. People should be more flexible with their schedules and be open and willing to be flexible with other people’s schedules. I sometimes catch myself saying that I am really busy, but then I find myself having enough time to watch tv or take a nap. Self care is important too, but people should be upfront about that.

  • I agree however I feel that a lot of the things we’re busy with are not things that we want to do, especially as college students. Yeah there are sports or exercising or socializing, but there is also all the work that goes into being in school. This means readings, papers, exams, group projects. Yeah some of the stuff is fine but I feel that people are often busy doing the things they least enjoy.

  • Being a college student, having a job, and being active in extra curricular activities, I know what busy is and at times it can be stressful but at the end of the day, if you yourself are happy then that’s all that matters. Sometimes I like going from class to work to an event at night because I feel like I am doing something with my life and I am not a bum at home watching TV. I like having things to do on the weekend but being able to hangout with friends is also a priority. It is important to balance your college life and all you have going on in it.

  • I know man, I feel you. College kids are some of the best multi taskers and hard workers I have ever seen. Some people go through college holding down two jobs on top of all type of extra curricular activities just so they can live a comfortable life afterwards which sadly is not always guaranteed even after all that hard work.

  • The biggest thing I link to being “too busy” is priorities. In college, I hear it over and over: “I’m too busy to workout.” While students are incredibly busy, it really is a matter of what’s important to you. Since working out is one of my priorities, I make sure that my schedule will allow it while still accomplishing everything else I have marked as a high priority.

  • People have different definitions of busy. I catch myself saying i’m busy all the time and in reality my semester is pretty easy, classwise and I have practice two hours a day and no job. I’m never to busy for someone or something. Professional football coaches with three kids and a wife are busy, not me.

  • I completely agree with what you’re saying. I’m a finance major. I was working about 20-30 hours a week at one point while putting in 15 hours a week at an internship and maintaining a 3.5 GPA. Believe me when I say, I was busy. Some things are simple, some things are not. And that lifestyle was just tiring. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you enjoy something. If you are tired, then you’re just tired. You need to rest. I think it’s just important for people to take a break from life sometimes and worry about their peace of mind.

  • Carlo Rovelli start his book “Seven Brief Lessons in Physics” with:

    In his youth Albert Einstein spent a year loafing aimlessly. You don’t get anywhere by not “wasting” time – something, unfortunately, that the parents of teenagers tend frequently to forget. He was in Pavia. He had joined his family, having abandoned his studies in Germany, unable to endure the rigors of his high school there.

    Enough said.

  • Fascinating timing – I just declared a personal war on the word “busy” yesterday, and then find this in my inbox this morning.

  • Fascinating timing – I just declared a personal war on the word “busy” yesterday, and then find this in my inbox this morning.

  • As a college student I am more than guilty of this. I run into a friend and they ask how I am the answer is always, “super busy but I’m doing okay!” What an inaccurate answer. This article makes me want to reevaluate what I’m saying yes to and filing my schedule with. I figured out this semester I am not one of those people that need to fill their calendar with something every hour of the day just to feel accomplished for that day. I want to be able to tell people when they ask how I’m doing, “I’m doing great, I’ve got a lot of awesome and interesting stuff going on right now!” Then continue to tell them about what I’m doing in my life that I am passionate about. That is the goal. I’m cheating people out of a genuine conversation when I say “Yeah I’m super busy but everything is pretty good!” That is a deceitful answer. Everyone on this planet is busy to some degree, I should get out of the habit of thinking that I am too busy to make plans with anyone during the week or to give friends the time of day. Everyone considers different things in their lives as a different sense of “busy”. Don’t judge other people’s busy-ness. Don’t get frustrated if the conversation is short or the answer to your invite is “no, I’m too busy right now…” Just keep trying and showing up. I’ve also gotten to the point in my life where I don’t need to say yes to every opportunity that is presented but starting thinking about the clubs or intramurals or classes that I’m passionate about and that I can truly enjoy. I don’t need to do it all. If I find my passions I can always answer the “how are you doing?” question with “I’m doing great, everything in my life is going well and I’m enjoying the activities that I chose to pursue.”