The Other Four Letter Word

Time is running out!  I'm so busy!

Time is running out! I’m so busy!

Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to.”
~Rob Bell

**I’m reposting this post from May 2013 because I needed this reminder about the other four letter word!**

Sorry I haven’t written lately.
It’s because I came down with a virus called ISBS or “I’m so busy syndrome”.

I’ve been busy. Everyone I know is busy
and yes, BUSY, is the Other Four Letter Word.

How do you know if you have ISBS? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Are you filled with exhaustion?
2. Are you feeling frustrated with all the activities and things you have to do?
3. Are you telling everyone how busy you are?

If the answer is YES to all these questions then you have ISBS. And lately I’ve had it.

Are we really that busy? Or is the word busy just an excuse?
“I can’t see you because I’m so busy.”

Is it bragging?
“I’m so important because I’m so busy.”

Sometimes it’s good to be busy so you can’t confront a real problem or a relationship that is bothering you.
“Maybe I fill my life with all this stuff because then I won’t notice how unhappy I am.”

I really was busy though. It wasn’t an excuse.

Yes, I was as tired as so many of us are. Juggling work, home life, going to school and sports activities. We know we need to get through it. And “really busy” or “crazy busy” just seems like a generally good words to describe this disease.

I got tired of hearing myself complain about my busyness. It was time to let go of the word busy and the idea of busy. But how do you do that if you really are busy like I was? Here’s what I did:

1. I asked myself what I didn’t want to give up. Dinners and evenings hanging out with my son and husband and friends who stopped by. I took several evenings off totally.

2. Then I asked myself what I was willing to give up. Sleep mostly – I would wake up early, stay up late and sometimes get up in the middle of the night to get things done. I also gave up writing on the blog, of course temporarily.

3. I asked myself, “Can I be more effective with my time?” I needed some big blocks of time for my activities. Yet, I could use a few extra minutes here and there to get the little things done. So I tried to use that time wisely and efficiently. As the Zen Papa always reminds me, “Touch it once.”

4. I asked for help and accepted it when offered. The Zen Papa and my fellow teachers help me; my son helped with dinner clean up and other chores.

5. I did a lot of breathing exercises. And I tried to take walks. Anything to clear my brain for a while.

Sometimes, it’s good to drop out of life for a little while. I have spent time doing a lot of rejuvenating. No writing, instead naps. I’m back to my photography taking pictures of the little things in nature, a dew drop, a blossom or a little hummingbird.

Taking pictures of orange poppies at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Taking pictures of orange poppies at the Denver Botanic Gardens

I’m reading several books. I’m cooking, my creative outlet.

Barbecued Greek Chicken Pizzas

Barbecued Greek Chicken Pizzas

And putting together a vegetable garden. Here’s mine from last year.

My new vegetable garden!

My new vegetable garden!

There are some times of the year that must be filled with activities but I prefer this quieter life and my goal is keep it more like this than not.

Here are some Quotes that I think you might like and go with letting go of busyness!

No matter how busy a man is, he is never too busy to stop and talk about how busy he is.”
~ Author Unknown

“Never be so busy as not to think of others.”
~Mother Teresa

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.”
~Jack Kornfield

“Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.”
~Lin Yutang

Focus on being productive instead of being busy.”
~The 4 Day Work Week

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”
~Henry David Thoreau

“Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to what they want to do.”
~Kathleen Winsor

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
~Lao Tzu

Nobody sees a flower–really–it is so small it takes time–we haven’t time–and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
~Georgia O’Keefe

It’s the ordinary and the little things that matters. Remembering that helps me let go of the things that just aren’t so important. This and doing a little “nothing” (nothing being gardening, cooking, taking pictures, connecting with friends.) has helped me heal from ISBS. I’m recovering and have come out on the other side.

The Wisdom of Pooh

The Wisdom of Pooh

And…I’ve decided I’m longer going to use that word. The question, “What are you up to?” will no longer be answered with “I’m so busy.” but maybe, “I making an iMovie” or “I’m spending my evenings with my son and husband” or “I’m planting my veggie garden” or “I’m planning a trip”. Yes, we’re still bu.. (no, no I’m not going to say it) I mean, we have a lot going on but I find myself concentrating on the the things are more restful. No more saying “busy” because busy is my new 4 letter word.

What do you think of the word busy?

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9 Responses to The Other Four Letter Word

  1. Dale-lyn says:

    Great post. I am recovering from a very severe case of ISBS and have retreated from the world to get myself back into good health. It is nice here…I don’t want to go back to being crazy- busy again 🙂 Thanks for sharing.


    Betsy Reply:

    Glad you’re in recovery now!! And glad your health is returning. I feel like you that I do not want the crazy busy again. So when I find myself in it, I try to retreat, too, even it’s only in my head. The work will there; it’s my perception that can change.
    Thanks for the comment!!


  2. Annie says:

    What a great post! I recently started reading Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive and she really tackles this disease and its many consequences. A few years ago I was also this frantic “I’m so busy” person. I have developed a daily habit of meditation that has helped me, and I also recently renounced using this catch phrase. My reasoning was that by going around saying I was busy all the time, I would only attract more of what I definitely do not want in my daily experience. I like the slow, simple day to day existence too. I try to focus on feeling the way I want to feel. It is nice to see I am not the only one 🙂


    Betsy Reply:

    What wisdom in your comment! No, we are not the only ones. I’d say this is a big problem in our society. It’s why there’s so much anxiety out there. I’ll have to check out Arianna Huffington’s book… and your blog as well!
    Thanks for leaving a comment and being part of our positive community!


  3. christie says:

    Please don’t give up writing on the blog, can’t you give up something else, am selfishly asking this coz as a mom of a toddler, I eagerly look forward to reading your posts and they help me get through rough days.☺☺


    Betsy Reply:

    Hi Christie,
    I’m not giving up! In fact I’m writing a post right now!! I appreciate your support, as well. Your comment is what I call “my paycheck”. This is just a busy time of year that is filled with work for a teacher! But I’m still here with you!! 🙂 And I really appreciate your comment and hope to hear your thoughts in the future as well!


  4. christie says:

    Sorry Betsy my previous comment about you giving up something else instead of the blog, the words just didn’t turn out right, I hope you don’t misunderstand me.
    Thanks and regards,


    Betsy Reply:

    No worries! Your words were perfect!
    Have a great week!!


  5. Elly says:

    Just catching up on emails and had read your blog from 2013 yesterday and then saw this one too…I guess I needed to hear it twice to have it sink in. Thanks! You’re the best!


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