“I’m not that busy. Really.”
Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness.

 

I get a fairly sizable pile of emails from lovely strangers, every week.

 
Strangers seeking advice, encouragement + reassurance.
Strangers requesting pro bono chunks of my brain, for bold + noble causes.
Strangers seeking promotional support, for their projects.

In other words: strangers with heartfelt requests for my time.

 
Virtually every single email begins with something like … this:

“I know you’re SO busy, but…”

“You’re such a busy, busy lady, and I’m hoping that…”

“I’m sure your life is just CRAZY-TOWN, and I really appreciate…”

Wait. Hold up, now.

 
There’s a deeeeeply rooted cultural assumption goin’ on, here. And it goes a little something like this:

If you’re “successful” — by the conventional standards of wealth, visibility + impact — then surely, you must be bleary-eyed + delirious with busy-ness. How else could you … y’know … achieve anything?

This whole notion? It’s a myth. And you can bet your britches that I’ve fallen under its spell, more than once.

I’ve found myself saying, “thanks, but I’m just too busy” when in reality I “just don’t want to.”

It feels easier + more compassionate to decline a request due to “unavoidable scheduling forces” than to actually tell the truth.

But it’s not. It just perpetuates the (unhealthy) myth. And I’ve decided it’s time to come clean.

So I’m here to say: I’m not that busy.

Yes, my days are lively + full. Yes, I “do” a lotta stuff. Yes, I have commitments + playdates scheduled waaaaay into the unseeable, untouchable future. Yes, I dance + prance around the Internet, writing + teaching + speaking as often as I can.

But, I’m not that busy. And with good reason.

Because when my girlfriend sends out a midnight distress call, I want the capacity to show up at her door the next morning, with her favorite hashbrowns + coffee for two.

Because when my mom decides to sweep into town for a spontaneous visit, I never want to tell her, “sorry, ma. I’m booked solid.”

Because when I feel the impulse to ditch my computer + spend a whole day wandering through bookshops + gardens + graveyards, I want that freedom.

Because when unplanned opportunities come a knockin’, I want the flexibility to say YES. Let’s start NOW.

Bottom line?

Busy-ness constricts my creativity. Space spins my heart open.

That’s why I’m not that busy. Really.

And now, a brief word from our sponSOAR…

Amy Oscar is one of those rare human beings who can shift your entire life + career direction, with a single, perfectly-timed question.

A few weeks ago, she asked me “What are you willing to be a messenger for?” … and the answer was deeply surprising, perfect + profound.

If you’re looking for a way to deepen your understanding of your purpose — the message that YOU are willing + able to carry into the world – her Soul Caller Training is a treasure-trove of written guidance, live teachings + the kind of intimate, oracular support only Amy can bring.

Registration for the November 2012 session of The Soul Caller Training is now open —
class begins Nov 8th and runs for 5 illustrious weeks.

Do it. Oh, do it. You’re not that busy, are you?
 

Comments

RT @Alex_Franzen: { new jazz } “I’m not that busy. Really.”
Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/VkTo7Yun

this is awesome.

*STANDING OVATION*

:)

This is perfectly timed ready for my space-hungry heart right now. Awesome + right on!

Love it, Alexandra! It’s so true, and then of course comes the next crazy standard – whether you’re busy with the right things. “I’m busy learning hula hoop tricks” is far less acceptable, than “I’m busy creating spreadsheets for a multinational conglomerate”. Ugh… Judgement schmudgement (from others and ourselves). Here’s to the busyness of freedom!

Kate on Oct 31, 2012 Reply

I love this. It makes me feel better about not WANTING to be super busy, even when I become rich/famous/well known/in high demand.

You nailed it as usual. And after you say for the first time ‘this project, opportunity, whatever, isn’t a fit for me’ the universe stops working that muscle cuz it knows it’s
strong. Fewer requests begging for your honest response show up. Thanks for your beautiful words. I love your posts!!

LOVE IT!

Noted! Thank you. I want to follow in your footsteps – well, maybe not into the graveyard. <3

Encore!!

And today is an appropriate day to mention a grave yard… two stars ;)

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/x2YrZLT3 via @alex_franzen

So funny, I know I just sent a note that I want to get on your velocity list since I saw how BUSY your calendar was booking up.

I love this post because I decided in October to start telling clients that I am restricting time on my calendar for my fitness, my downtime with my husband and son and my need to have thinking/creative visits in my brain.

I think it is about controlling your calendar to be sure that what is added is quality time either client or personal.

My thoughts,
Robin

Hot damn, thank you!! For so eloquently writing what I feel in my own bones. I hate the notion of “I’m too busy” and feel horrible lying to people to get out of things I’m just-not-that-into.
The piece you wrote about Busyness constricting creativity really hit home. Definitely going to think about this as I create my plan for 2013 & beyond.
Girl. You freakin’ rule. xo

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/Y7Weqbxc via @alex_franzen

Fabulous! You. Are. Wise.
Have a fantastic day, whatever it may contain.

Babu

Babu on Oct 31, 2012 Reply

Love the new design!

This is pretty great. RT @Alex_Franzen: “I’m not that busy. Really.”
Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/pZDdTHSg

This is so great. Side note: I watched the documentary Happy on Netflix last night and this article is totally the cherry on the cake.

Holy shit, YES!
This, THIS is what I want.

It’s so important to me to have a full schedule, but not so full that I don’t have time to sit, eat dinner with my husband and watch The Walking Dead.

And to get a full night of sleep … every night.

I really dislike the words: I don’t have time. And I’ve been guilty of using them as of late.

Great big thanks to you!

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/Tn2JG6DA via @alex_franzen

I love this post! I’ve grown so tired of other people telling me they’re too busy — when they really are not, they just don’t want to make time for me. I did a little experiment a year ago: I wrote four people, two I’ve been friends with for a while, two I only knew really through facebook. I asked them all to meet me for coffee or a nice walk. People who live in my town, who work from home, who don’t punch a clock with “the man.” The two who were my friends, all begged off for TWO MONTHS. The other two said, Hell yes, here’s when I’m available in the next two weeks. Guess who I followed up with? It was eye opening. I have two new friends, now, and the others? I read about their dinners and kids and “wonderful” lives only thru their facebook posts. (Which are legion.) But I don’t see them in the flesh.

bo roth on Oct 31, 2012 Reply

Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. – from @AlexFranzen http://t.co/6pjvsYkk

Sing it! I do a lot, but most of it is self-imposed stuff I like. Sadly, it is harder to say I don’t want that, that to say I can’t have that.

This. Is genius! A must read. “@Alex_Franzen “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/axoBMM11”

Thank you for blasting this myth out of the water. I’ve been rebelling against it for awhile and love to see others join me in the pursuit of space, creativity, and ease!!!

Ha! So true! I’ve been known to be “too busy” especially when I want to get out of family functions.

I’ve been thinking about this busy-ness thing for a while and how it’s not what I’m choosing for my life anymore.

True luxury for me is taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon cuddling with puppies or taking the time I need to meditate, breathe, exercise…

AND a joyfully packed schedule of amazing life changing sessions with my clients!

Personally I respect you even more if you are honest and straight forward enough to say “no, don’t want to” as opposed to “I’m too busy”

Perfection. “@Alex_Franzen: { new jazz } “I’m not that busy. Really.”
Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/CjZb8xiY”

RT @margot_white: Less busy-ness = more good. Laser-lucid lessons on life, love, work & writing. http://t.co/3xE6poT4 via @alex_franzen

Love, love, LOVE! This is so very pertinent to me right now as I take a break from the interwebs, cut the consumption and attempt to crack on with some creation.

“Busy-ness constricts my creativity. Space spins my heart open.”

Yes! Though I’m not taking a break for reasons of busy-ness, I do hear you on the space thing. For a while there, I was in inspiration overload. My voice disappeared. Space to find it again is exactly what I need. And that also includes graveyard walks :)

Rebecca on Oct 31, 2012 Reply

Busy-ness constricts my creativity. Space spins my heart open. I’m not that busy. Really, @alex_franzen http://t.co/peOWfdOm

Yes, I say. Yes!

Thing is, when I say ‘I’m busy’, sometimes I’m busy doing nothing, like pinteresting, which is important to me for balance, so I’m not fully telling the un-truth :)

feel a little silly that I allllways do that when I send e-mails to people I admire. My thought process is.. they are doing such amazing things that I would love to do. They must be busy all the time. It’s not about being busy really I guess it’s about having courage to just put your talent out there. hmm. thanks for helping me look at my life a little different. Maybe I just need to have more courage in a few places!

Katie on Oct 31, 2012 Reply

Thanks so much for this, seriously. I’ve completely bought into the myth of busy-ness and am totally burnt out as a result. And that’s no way to do great work, or, you know, be a happy person. So, thanks again :D

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/WmqAUhdA via @alex_franzen

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/tIsL7SSf via @alex_franzen

You are so right! I live in Africa and here being busy also means being really really important. I love having time to smell the roses in between being active :-)
Hugs
Jutta

Love this article on why I’m not that busy!
http://t.co/E0N7htvu

RT @pjrvswp: 100% agree — RT @Alex_Franzen: Busy-ness constricts my creativity. Space spins my heart open. http://t.co/SRYaKnR9

Love love loved it. Extremely validating to someone who lives in a world where it takes some energy to not buy into shame around having free time, just as you described it.
Thanks bunches.
CJ

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/qcisdT5d via @alex_franzen

RT @freelancersu: “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/qcisdT5d via @alex_franzen

RT @Alex_Franzen: Busy-ness constricts my creativity. Space spins my heart open. http://t.co/XBF7r3zI

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Love this, from @alexfranzen (I just said this to someone yesterday!) http://t.co/zObeSYKE

RT @freelancersu: “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/qcisdT5d via @alex_franzen

On the flip side, that also probably means when people start their emails like that, they aren’t *really* worried about you being busy.

Underneath it all, they’re probably questioning if they’re worth your time…

Great article!

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/E7SVmtCZ

This is a great read –> “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/JeR2AKY4 via @Alex_Franzen

“@freelancersu: “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/DYCU0oB8 via @Alex_Franzen”

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. @alex_franzen http://t.co/MtL2FS3q

I’m not the only one :-) “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. @AlexandraFranzen http://t.co/s1361X3h

“@NathLussier: “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. @alex_franzen http://t.co/PZB9j6G8”

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | http://t.co/dLk5atJC via @alex_franzen

RT @Alex_Franzen: Oh, I’m busy all right. Busy being UNFETTERED + FREE. http://t.co/XBF7r3zI

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/i9fgsw2o via @alex_franzen

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. http://t.co/68DaMInK via @alex_franzen

I’m not that busy, either. Good one, @alex_franzen: http://t.co/5WtFaRCR

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/dY4k5xMJ via @alex_franzen

Reading | “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/1ad3yyY7

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/bBL437Q9 Wise lady.

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Wise post by @Alex_Franzen http://t.co/yrswnGMU

RT @rachelhills: “I’m not that busy. Really.” Wise post by @Alex_Franzen http://t.co/yrswnGMU

RT @SparkRetreat: The myth of busy-ness from the brill @Alex_Franzen http://t.co/j946OYwZ + Have we mentioned she’ll be @sparkretreat http://t.co/qW2awTqb

“I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success + busy-ness. | Alexandra Franzen http://t.co/ktAvK2rv via @alex_franzen

Are you always “busy” great post shared by @jenvertanen http://t.co/EBnSxmcO

Working towards not being busy;) http://t.co/JO6tgnFJ

I have so many responsibilities as a mother of 7, I feel like I have to always be “doing” something in order to better life for my family. If our lives don’t look perfect, then there’s something I need to be doing instead of enjoying it. lol

I’m trying to change that way of thinking. Kids grow so fast. I may very well be witnessing my last child go through infancy and, soon, toddlerhood. I don’t want to miss it! I find myself just sitting with him more than I feel is “right.” There are clothes to wash (or fold or something), a house to clean, money to be made, food to cook (or grocery shop for), books to read to help the kids get smarter, myself to take care of in various ways, etc, etc, etc.

It’s SO easy to be busy. It’s so easy to feel guilty for not being “busy” when there are obviously things that “should” be done.

Thanks for writing this post :)

Loving this post from @alex_franzen on not being busy » http://t.co/7N254VGp

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