Recently, someone wanted me to drop everything and do them a favour at the last minute, because they had to go to a very important meeting. It was a Monday morning, I was about to go on holiday and needed to do my washing, tie up loose ends at work etc etc. I told them this, apologised, and said ‘no’ I could not help them this time. I was sorry, I would have normally tried to help, but I was busy.
I made the rookie mistake of telling them what I was busy doing, because they immediately began to negotiate that their busy was more important than my busy. That my busy wasn’t very important at all and PLEASE could I drop everything to do them this favour. I looked at my laundry basket which was overflowing. I looked at my long list of invoices that needed sending, and thought ‘No’, today my busy is important to me, I need to get these things done in order to respect my life and work. It was hard, but I declined. And they were sort of annoyed at me. But that was because they determined that my laundry was not an important kind of busy, and that their meeting was.
But no one’s busy is more important than anyone else’s. You’ll notice on a broken down train, that everyone suddenly has a very important meeting to be at, and they’ll fervently tell everyone in the train carriage about it, because their meeting is more important than everyone else’s. But it’s a moot point. Whether people on that train are going underwear shopping, for lunch with David Cameron, sunbathing or to a meeting with CNN none of them want to be stuck there, they are all busy people and no-one enjoys being held up in their busi-ness. And I’m sure a lot of people on the train would rather sit in peace and quite, rather than listen to people declare that they are the importantest kind of busy.
No ones busy is ever more important that anyone else’s that they are allowed to push them out of the way. And yet it happens all the time in the London rush hour.
We are all humans, we are all equal (not equal, not fairly not equal, should be equal) and as the earth spins on it’s axis we clutter the fabric of our lives with busi-ness. Whether it’s meetings with parliament, or lunch with our grannies, or vacuuming, or learning how to draw a perfect circle, or being an activist against global warming, or writing the 6 o’clock news or picking the fluff off the beige curtains in the living room. These tasks, these things are all important to the carrier outers of them, they are our busy. In a way they are our raison d’être. (Yes, even the beige curtained fluff.)
Busi-ness is good, but also, never be so busy you are not there for others. I have many busy, busy, busy friends, and yet they always find moments to share with me, are always there if I need their advice or support or a chat. And when I’m on a busy, busy schedule I also (hope I always manage to) carve out chunks of time for my friends. I think I may have been bad at this recently? Could have been better. Because of course, busy is good, but people? People are all we’ve got. So don’t be so busy that you forget the people. That’s all.