Are you really busy? This quick mindful experiment will tell you.

There’s a sense of helplessness and powerlessness implied in the statement 'I am busy'. True leaders know how to reframe their choices and take their power back.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Do you find yourself busy a lot? When people ask how you are, is your natural response to say…

“I’m good. Just very busy!”

If you do then today I’m going to invite you to create a reframe in your mind around this surprisingly disempowering statement.

Language Matters

Much of our language comes from belief systems that we hold about how things should be.

One of those beliefs is that we must be busy if we’re doing meaningful, valuable work.

However, a self-defeating phenomenon begins to occur when we say we’re busy. The underlying belief in those words is that we don’t have control over our time.

There’s a sense of helplessness and powerlessness that is implied in the statement.
Have you ever noticed that when someone says they’re busy, they sport a defeated expression on their face? Do they look in charge, in their power, confident?


They look like a victim of their circumstances.

True leaders aren’t helpless, powerless victims. They take full ownership of their choices, their words and their actions.

So today’s invitation is to try out new language around your time choices.

Next time you want to say “I am busy”, replace it with
“I am prioritizing..”

For example, replace
“I’m busy answering emails.”
“I am prioritizing answering emails”

“I’m busy working on the software project”
“I am prioritizing working on the software project”

“I am busy with X event’s volunteer work.”
“I am prioritizing X event’s volunteer work”

So what happens when we change the language around our time choices?

First, by saying “I am prioritizing” we start to take our power back. These tasks are not happening to us, instead they become tasks that are happening by us. We are choosing to answer emails, or to work on the project or to volunteer at the event. Whatever the task, there’s an empowering energy to the words “I am prioritizing”.

Second, this conscious choice of words enables us to take a good, realistic look at what we ARE indeed prioritizing. This becomes an exercise in self awareness, forcing us to look at whether our values and long term goals are in alignment with our daily priorities. Are these short term priorities in alignment with your long-term goals and desires? If they’re not, you can reflect and course-correct if needed. If they are then you can keep going feeling confident and grounded in our values and choices. 

What are your thoughts about this reframe? What are you prioritizing as a result today and this week?
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


How To Navigate Your Emotions Through Uncertain Times

by Jenessa MacKenzie
Courtesy of GoodStudio/Shutterstock
Work Smarter//

Creating the Habit of Not Being Busy

by Leo Babauta

Know The Difference Between Busyness and Business

by Nina Cashman

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.