Why “I’m Too Busy” Just Doesn’t Fly This Year
Cheers to the blank slate of 2017, a slate that began slowly amidst relaxing holiday celebrations and snowy days in, but is quickly ramping up to be a full plate for both Luke and I.
I begin teaching at Cameron University on Tuesday, and while I am beyond excited, it has been challenging to create an entire syllabus and all of the content for a course I have never taught before with only three weeks’ notice. I think I am almost there, and while this will be a learning experience for me as an instructor, I am excited about the public speaking and business knowledge I have the opportunity to impart upon my 15 students this Spring. One of my students is actually deployed overseas for the first two months of the course, and because I have a special heart for the military and want to do the best job possible in all circumstances, I know making sure he is up to speed with the curriculum will be yet another challenge (and reward) to my new role.
Meanwhile, my full-time Chick-fil-A marketing job is also ramping up full speed ahead to meet some lofty yet attainable brand growth goals for the 2017 calendar year and the Chamber of Commerce Ambassador group is kicking off the year with a running start, too. On his part, Luke is coaching little league basketball for our Church team and continuing his full-time XO job with a basic training unit here at Fort Sill. They just began a new cycle, and with the trainees back from the holidays, I know he has some long days ahead.
Yet, despite these professional commitments, my focus is mostly on priority management in the coming weeks. I do not want to let my relationship with God, my husband, or friends and family slip by the wayside just because I have a lot going on in my career. I correspond occasionally with a highly respected professor, the Director of a huge research facility, and the direct mentor and supervisor for at least 20 students. His calendar books up a month ahead of time, so to even schedule a phone call takes some shifting and adjusting. And, yet, he always makes time to converse with me. He even has a “Zero Inbox” email policy, and always responds to every single email he receives (which must number in the hundreds per week at the very least) within 24 hours of receipt. I realized then that if an individual who is THAT busy and pressed for time can take time to maintain communication with others, than certainly I can do the same.
You see no one who really wants to converse with you or see you is “too busy.” There ARE enough hours in the day; it’s just about how you prioritize your day. I may not be blogging as much in 2017, but I am only a phone call or text message away for my friends. You never know what someone else is going through and I don’t want to miss any of the important milestones or moments or even just every day need for friendship and companionship because I am “busy.” Those who value your presence in their life will make time for you, and those who don’t may not. This is not to say there aren’t seasons of our lives when we have to focus more internally, on self care and immediate family, due to various trials and obstacles. But, as Americans, we are ALL busy. We rush at breakneck speed to get all of these things accomplished each day. But is checking off each line item on that To Do List even half as important as beginning and maintaining lasting relationships?
At the end of the day, people may not remember what all you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. Much as Jesus made time for everyone, most especially those who were hurting, sick or suffering, I too want to make time for those around me. How many times do you get a text, glance at it, and decide to “respond later.” Then, weeks go by and you think of that person and realize you never responded. What if I choose to be like that professor, and whenever it is within my ability to do so, I will simply respond right away to the messages I receive?
At my adjunct instructor training, the Dean found it pertinent to remind all of us to “be kind to the students.” Apparently this past semester they had some issues with various adjunct instructors who just refused to respond to student correspondence in a timely manner because they were “busy.” Sure, as adjuncts, we have full-time day jobs and myriad responsibilities, but by committing to teach, I am also making a commitment to my students that I will be there for them with whatever they may need. I am supposed to be a source of support and guidance for them as they work to complete this next step of their college degree. And, I can’t be supportive if I am simply “busy.”
Likewise, Luke has committed to the kids and parents on his basketball team. He spent some time this weekend letting them all know that the game was cancelled due to inclement weather. It is his responsibility to communicate that information so that no one braved treacherous snowy roads only to arrive at an empty gym.
Perhaps because I am a communicator by trade, the art of communication is one that I value so highly. It is as much about valuing another person and his or her time and thoughts and feelings as anything else. If you take the time to type out a text or call a friend only to receive no response in return, you may wonder why bother. So if someone takes the time to reach out to me, I want to be certain I am responding in turn.
Sometimes, former acquaintances will reach out to me about one thing or another–advice on majoring in journalism perhaps, or Teach for America, or marketing…and when those situations occur, I cannot always be of much help but I do try to at least give the issue some thought and provide a detailed response with my thoughts. I feel like it’s the very least I can do when I consider what all has been done for me in my own life and career.
A person I hold in high esteem once moved several mountains for me to have a particular career opportunity. This person could have easily not given me the time of day. Her career was very established, and she did not have to take the time for me. She didn’t even know me personally. When I asked her why she did it, why she took time out of her day to make phone calls and send emails on my behalf to her superiors, her response was simply, “When you get where you’re going, you turn around and help those who are following the path behind you.”
How insightful is that!
2017 is a new year and a new start and one I plan to take full advantage of. One of my goals this year is timeliness, especially in my correspondence and relationships. Why put off for tomorrow what can and should be done today? I’m not too busy, and if you really think about it, you probably aren’t either.
Here’s to making 2017 the best yet!