What Does ‘So Busy’ Really Mean?

by Shaun Brooker

When did ‘So Busy’, supersede ‘fine’ as the stock standard answer to Joey’s question, ‘How you doing?’

It is as if being ‘busy’ has become a medal of honour. As if being ‘busy’ makes us important.

As if being ‘not busy’ is a bad thing. How long has it been since you have heard someone tell you that they are ‘so busy’? Worse still when was the last time you told someone about how your life is, ‘so busy’?

I have determined that I will try extra hard to never answer anyone with the answer, ‘so busy’. Let me share why.

As leaders we make decisions all day every day, and how we spend our time is one of these decisions.

What Does ‘So Busy’ Mean?

Take a few minutes (if you have the time) to consider how this ‘so busy’ answer is interpreted by those following you. Does it mean; too busy to have this conversation with you? Does it mean I’m out of my depth? Maybe it means I’m not good at managing my time.

The reality is that it is never interpreted as a good thing by those who rely on you; those who expect to be led by you.

If we find ourselves in a place where time management has taken a back seat, and the calendar has imploded with a life of its own, then it is time to recalibrate and decide what are the priorities.

If the answer to prioritising is that everything is a priority then it is time to
learn about delegation, boundaries and what it means to be human.

The more we jam meetings, events and tasks into our calendar the less effective we become in ALL meetings, events and tasks we are assigned to or responsible for.

Wherever you are, be all there.

Jim Elliot

The simple test of whether you are too busy is whether you can follow Jim Elliot’s advice. If you find yourself contemplating the next meeting or even tomorrow’s meeting in the now meeting, then it is time for a change.

Worse again, can you be ‘all there’ when you are with the kids, out on a date or when you ‘relax’? If your schedule bleeds from one event into the
next you need to change something!


I was listing to a speaker last year, sorry I can’t think who (maybe I was too busy at the time to notice) when I was prompted about the connection of ‘I don’t have the time’ and priorities. When we think about exercise, time with family, work for a non-profit, Church or sport, so often the excuse we use for each of these things is time. Who can argue with that?

As everyone knows, because we tell them frequently, we are busy people. In fact, every time we tell others we are ‘so busy’ we subconsciously (or consciously) reinforce to ourselves that we are ‘too busy’ for those other commitments we should tend to. Taking care of our families, eating better, exercising, getting right with God and making this world a
better place without charging someone for it – these all things that we should find quality time for.

We tell ourselves and others the reason we cannot do such things is because of time, as everyone knows we have no control over time. The Earth spins on its axis and we get a day. The Earth orbits the Sun and we get a year.

We are not God so cannot change time…therefore doing the things that are good for us are out of our control because we have no time and cannot do anything about it. That is the lie we need to believe.

In reality the following is true;

‘I don’t have time’, is the lie we tell ourselves when we are too
lazy/afraid/ignorant to ask the real question…’is it a priority?’.

Is exercise a priority? Yes for some it is and they do something about it.

Is doing work for a non-profit to make this world a better place a priority? Yes, for some and they do something about it.

You get the picture…

The next time you answer the ‘How you doing?’ question with the answer ‘so busy’ think of it a reminder that you need to change something.

Otherwise, ‘fine’ isn’t too bad an answer.



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