I heard a tech at Landmark Group apologize to a tenant for not being at their house at a desired time due to “being busy." I listened as a sales rep told their client, “I’ve been busy which is why I didn’t get back to you” and I even told my own children that I didn’t get something done that they asked me to do because “I was too busy”. In each of these situations, as I listened to the words spoken and then the expression or response from the person they were spoken to, I realized that in each case the person being told this had a feeling or look of unimportance. The wrong message had been sent. What these individuals heard was you are not as important as whatever else I have going on.
My point is that we are all very busy individuals, but I believe that we are sending the wrong message when we say “I’m too busy”. What the underlying message that is being sent is that I am too important to deal with you and your problems. It is vital in life to understand that our time and experience is worth something and that managing an agenda is a hard thing to do, especially under extreme time pressure, but that we have to respect other's time and experiences as well and send a message that says you are important to me.
So the next time we feel like saying “I’m busy” instead try to rephrase your comments to make the other individual feel important. Try something like, “I’m realize I haven’t finished the task but it’s on my schedule to get done.”