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.