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Why Saying "I'm Too Busy" Is Just an Excuse

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

Often when I talk about being an author, people say, "With your busy life, I can't believe you find time to write." And when I start talking about how I love to read, people will invariably say something like, "I don't have time for reading. I'm just too busy."

Both statements stem from a similar presupposition–that it's nearly impossible to find time to write or read amidst the crazy chaos of life.

The problem with such a presupposition is that usually it gives off the impression that somehow the person who's writing or reading is lazy or else has more free time than the rest of mankind. Why else would they have the time for such "frivolous endeavors" when the rest of the population struggles through each day with overly busy schedules?

Of course it usually irks me when someone thinks that somehow I magically have more time in my life and that's why I can accomplish all that I do and still have time for reading. It's during those moments, I want to print out a daily log of my life.

For example, this summer I've had to take one or another of my kids to daily swim team practice, swimming lessons, play practice, volunteer work at the library, basketball camp, football practice, play dates with friends, dentist and orthodontist appointments, math tutoring, and more.

To put it mildly, the summer has been chaotic. Somehow my main job has become taxi-mom driving my kids everywhere for everything. (Along with all those other things that need doing–like washing smelly beach towels and scooping the litter box for FOUR cats!)

I can certainly go toe to toe with anyone who says they're "just too busy." My life is a far cry from couch-potato bliss.

And yet, somehow I've managed to write a full-length novel that I started in May and finished in July. I completed rewrites on Captured By Love (releasing next summer). And I critiqued a novel for another Bethany House author. That among all the many other writing duties I attempt to keep up with, like this blog.

I also have read approximately two full length novels a week this summer (for a total of 15 books so far).

My point?

Most people who say they don't have time for writing or reading (or really anything they enjoy doing), are just making an excuse. (Note I said most people. I realize there are situations where people legitimately can't make the time.)

The truth is the large majority of us can make time for the things we want to do.

In fact, an article in New York Daily News from 2012 said: The average American over the age of 2 spends more than 34 hours a week watching live television, says a new Nielsen report — plus another three to six hours watching taped programs.

A fascinating infographic How People Spend Their Time Online says that: the US Internet user on average spends 32 hours on the internet per month. (That averages to about 8 hours a week.)

That means between TV watching and internet surfing, the average American clocks in about 40 hours.That's almost a full time job!

Those who say they're too busy for reading or writing usually aren't too busy to watch their favorite shows or spend an hour playing Candy Crush. Instead of saying, "I don't have time" people should just honestly admit, "I choose not to make the time."

I choose to make the time for reading and writing. But I also do several other things that help me carve out the time:

1. Prioritize. I figure out what I need to get done each day, do the most urgent, and then tackle whatever else I can in the leftover time.

2. Budget time wisely. The buzz word around our house is, "Budget your time wisely." We're all given the same amount of hours in a day. It's up to us how we spend them. We can piddle our time away putzing around doing diddle. Or we can work diligently.

3. Make time for personal well-being. I've learned over the years, I need to make time in my life for the things that make me healthy. Writing satisfies my soul. And reading is relaxing and stress-reducing.

So has anyone ever told you that they're too busy for reading (or writing)? What have you told them (or wanted to tell them)?



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