“Because I’m Too Busy” as a Cop Out Excuse

Posted on Nov 5, 2014 in Life, Nerdery, Work | 2 Comments

My wife’s uncle is an amazing entrepreneur and creative director. He shoots commercials for big brands all around the country and lives on a completely off-the-grid farm in rural Oregon. Needless to say, he’s quite an interesting and fun person to know.

For a long time, he’s sent out what he calls a Monday Morning Email. It’s a weekly blog-by-email of sorts where he shares everything from simple life lessons to time-tested business wisdom. Recently, I unsubscribed from his email list, which I’ll explain in detail in a post soon (it’s not because of the content—the writing and ideas are really good).

Shortly after I unsubscribed, Dave (the author of the email) called me to do an exit interview and learn why I stopped reading. My response was simple:

I’m just too busy to read it.

His response was exactly what I needed to hear:

So, being the “straight shooter” you expect me to be… I am of the opinion that one stops reading something because the thing is not worth reading, not because there is no time to read. It may be because it isn’t applicable. It isn’t enlightening. Or it isn’t… something…. anything… but something is lacking. Even if you don’t know what it is.

I know, because I have stopped reading a lot of things. But I have never stopped reading things that open the world, or open my mind or stir my imagination.

That really challenged me to think about how I use the “too busy” excuse. It’s an easy cover-all, but many times I think I react with reasoning that I’m overwhelmed with work without actually taking the time to sit down and think about the actual mechanics of being busy and why there’s not time for something. Sometimes I use being busy as an excuse to not be truly accountable for my time (or not taking an honest look at how I’m using it).

I’m still thinking through the idea of being “too busy,” but here’s the first part of the response I gave Uncle Dave as feedback:

Hey!

Sorry for the delayed response on this. Personal email takes the back burner sometimes when things get busy.

I know, because I have stopped reading a lot of things.  But I have never stopped reading things that open the world, or open my mind or stir my imagination.

I think that is an amazing insight—very well said. That challenged me to re-consider my, “I’m too busy” answer. While it is true that I’m busy, I do still read things. So, I went back and really thought about what was under the surface of being too busy (or why I felt that way).

2 Comments

  1. Martha Gutierrez
    November 18, 2014

    I tend to use the same excuse (which I consider lame) and yes indeed it is to not be accountable for my time. Does that show lack of commitment from my/our part?
    Perhaps…

    Reply
    • Eric Dodds
      December 10, 2014

      Thanks for the response, Martha. I’m not sure it’s so clear cut as being a lack of commitment—the reality is that we are busy. Using that as a crutch is where I start to face problems.

      Reply

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