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“I am too Busy” is Just an Excuse

By Jimmy Turner, MD
The Physician Philosopher

When you hold a belief that is preventing you from pursuing a dream or accomplishing something, this is called a “limiting belief”.  Unfortunately, these limiting beliefs are both common and extremely powerful.  They prevent us from taking action because we buy into the twisted truth that they offer.  In today’s post, Peter (aka the “Notorious PIMD”) takes aim at the most common limiting belief in existence, “I am too busy to do that.”   The truth is that you aren’t too busy to do anything. However, I’m not going to steal Peter’s thunder.  Read on to discover the truth.  It just might set you free.  One more thing before we get to PIMD’s post.   Don’t forget that the course on going from Zero to Freedom Through Cashflowing Rentals is only open until 12/15/2019.  Don’t miss your chance to sign up and find your way to hybrid financial independence This post was originally published on Passive Income MD.  

Don’t Be Busy, Be Productive

Quick! How many times this past week have you used the word “busy?” I’m too busy, I’m so busy, I’ve been busy. People seem to just love using the word and carry it around like a badge of honor. I know I do at times. When I talk to people about my different roles as a physician, husband, father, entrepreneur, blogger, people tend to respond with, “you must be so busy.”

Who Isn’t Busy?

The truth is though, which physician isn’t busy? If you’re working 50-60 hours a week seeing patients, running back and forth from the clinic to the operating room, rushing through a 5-10 minute lunch (or skipping it altogether), you’re busy. If you have a significant other, and you’re trying to devote time to your relationship on top of your professional life, you’re busy. If you’re a parent and are trying to carve time out to be present with your kids, taking care of them, going to soccer games, trying to help them with homework, or just being a human rock wall (like I am these days), you’re busy. If you have other side hustles and are pursuing them to try to gain financial freedom, then you’re busy. If you have other things you’re passionate about like music, art, or gardening, and are trying to hone your craft and expand your mind outside medicine, then you’re busy. The funny thing, I’ve stopped trying to use that word when describing myself.

“I’m Busy” Is An Excuse

Busy carries a certain connotation, almost a mindset. And, for the most part, I don’t think it’s positive. In fact, not only have I used it as a badge of honor, it has been used as an excuse – an excuse not to be excellent in all aspects of my life. Why did I not follow through on that thing for my wife? “Things got really busy.” Why can I not spend that much time with a close friend who happened to visit? Well, I’m busy.” Why did it take me extra long to complete that project for my business? “I’m just so busy.” I’m kinda tired of being busy. What would I rather be? I’d rather be productive and my focus is on that. I don’t know about you, but I have certain people in my life who help push me to be better. Of course, my wife is one of them. But I’ve spent a lot of my time with people lately who I’ve seen are working on themselves in the same way I’m working on myself. They’re trying to be better and more productive doctors, entrepreneurs, partners, parents, and every role in between.

Being Busy Vs. Being Productive

Busy means the focus is on how much time I’m spending on something. Productive means making the results the priority.

No longer do I just say I’m going to spend the next hour working on something. I now say I’m going to get these things done now. Have you noticed that if you have to devote a certain time to something, it typically takes that entire time? Why? Because you’ll get distracted in the middle, you’ll focus more on how much time you have versus what needs to get done. I create a checklist of things to do and get it done.

Busy means multitasking. Productive means focusing on one thing at a time.

Now, this is a struggle for me. At any given time, I feel like I’m juggling a million things. I’m sure everyone feels the same. So I jump back and forth between tasks getting little bits and pieces done and often, everything is half-complete. I don’t feel that “win” of being totally productive and all I’ve spent is time to finish nothing. The goal is to stop multitasking so much. They say that when you switch back and forth between tasks, it wastes a ton of mental energy. To change gears, it takes a few minutes to switch to something new. So when I try to write a blog post, then answer a phone call, then check sports, then back to my other side hustles, the switching is wasting a ton of mental energy and effectiveness.

Busy means not having time for anything. Productivity means having time for things that are a priority.

Again, I use that word busy as an excuse all the time. When my kid asks me to take her to the playground and I tell her I’m busy, it just means I have something more important to do at the time. When I tell people I’m too busy to help them with something but find time to binge watch a favorite show, it just means that it’s not a priority. When it’s a priority and you’re focused on being productive, you’ll find the time, energy, and effort needed to do something. But is there a way to pursue all the things you want to do and not be busy? As someone who is working on this now, I figure it’s a matter of using our time more wisely so we can be more efficient.

Make It Happen

My goal is to be action-oriented and focus on results. I have to be better at setting goals and making sure I accomplish them, not have a long list of unfinished tasks. At the end of the day, I don’t want to be too busy for my family, friends, and to do the things I love. That’s the whole point of financial freedom anyways. To have the choice to do what I want, I just have to choose not to be busy so I can have the time to pursue what I want.

1 Comment

  1. steveark

    Nice post. One thing did catch my eye early on though. You said most docs are busy because they work 50 to 60 hours like that is a requirement. Says who? Why do they do that? Docs are in short supply, I simply don’t believe they lack the market power to negotiate for any number of work hours they choose. Why not work 30 or 40 hours? Or at least ratchet down to that as soon as student loans are paid off. I agree with everything you said but it looks like you skipped over maybe the easiest way to free up time by simply limiting your work hours. And I’ve got at least one surgeon friend here, and he’s the only one in town, and he works 30 hours a week because that’s all he want to work and he is never on call.

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