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How to stop being so busy (plus a challenge)
Last Updated December 12th, 2013

Today, I’ve got a rant AND a challenge for you. You’ll feel liberated.

But first, let me tell you a story…

A while back, I ran a video on “how to start anything.” In it, I shared my “Before I go to sleep tonight” technique and challeneged my readers to leave a comment pledging to accomplish one thing before they went to sleep.

The next day, I reached out to everyone who commented and asked, “did you do what you pledged to do?”

Here’s what happened…

“I Didn’t Do It Because I Was Busy”

Most people did do what they said they were going to do.

But some didn’t.

When I asked them why, “I didn’t do it because I was just too busy.”

In today’s video, I rant about what “being busy” really means and what you can do to avoid falling into the “busy” trap.

The truth: When you ask people why they don’t do the things they say they wantg to do they’ll always say “I’ve been busy.” In this video you’ll see why it probably isn’t true (and what to do instead).

When you’re done with this video, I want you to do two things:

1. Leave a comment telling me about something you’d like to do… but haven’t done yet.

2. Do you have a friend that always fall for the “I’m busy” trap? Share this video with them.

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121 comments Leave a comment

What if your friend is too busy to watch this video about being too busy.

Andrew Seipp

As an entrepreneur this is the one thing that I struggle with. I am so conditioned to work, work, work that I almost feel guilty when I stop. This is despite the fact that I don’t actually get that much more done in the longer hours.

Great post!

Matt Wolfe

This is a super timely video. I find myself overwhelmed with how “busy” I really am. I started using Rescue Time to keep an eye on how I spend my day. I find that I really do maybe 4 hours per day of real work and then spend another 5 hours or so on Facebook, Twitter, or dug in to email.

Using a tool like Rescue Time I’ve been able to make myself aware of this and create goals for how much productive work I actually do.

I still find it difficult to explain to friends what I’ve been up to when they have no idea what things like WordPress, autoresponders, CRMs, squeeze pages, or upsell funnels are. But I guess that’s just something that can lead to even more in-depth conversations…

Ivan Widjaya

One of the things I do is define the most important thing that I have to do and let the rest go to hell. Then I also determine the turnout of what I am about to do and if it is vital to the success of the business.


I’m never busy. If I don’t get something done it’s because I dont’ really want to do it or I’ve been a slackarse, never busy.

I’m also honest.


I am a mum of 2 small children, the second being a recent edition. My time for working on my business just got smaller. I have spent a lot of time recently researching how to improve our business and marketing and have watched video after video, delved into the features and benefits of all type of software. The umming and ahhhing of what to do next now seems to be consuming my very tiny amount of “work hours” that I have available. Time to make some decisions, set a business plan and budget and MOVE FORWARD πŸ™‚ Use my tini-tiny amount of hours to build my business rather than research it πŸ™‚ Thanks for the rant space and push Derek. Cheers, Kristy


I’m late to the party here, but had to add my comments because I’m SO guilty of the “I’ve been busy” trap. As a matter of fact, it’s my standard response to whenever someone asks me how I’ve been…”Good, busy.” With so many balls in the air – two businesses, two kids, volunteer work at school and at church, a household to run, two dogs, and extended family obligations, I haven’t figured out how to compartmentalize, and therefore, end up always being busy but not accomplishing goals. Keeping my head above water is about where it’s at!


I’m learning that often fake busy is a result of fear that something will be painful or take to much time. Activation energy can also be a cluprit, to many hurdles to get to the real desired task. I’m working on noticing when these thing are in play and using sneaky tricks to get around these hurdles. Learning to implement the things/programs I’ve learned/bought and work on things that are close to the money. At the same time being nice to myself when I get off track and then getting back on the truly productive path.

Rais Zada

I’ve been busy doing some online work, replying emails and comments on my blogs, teaching training lectures to my students and many more. Oh yeh and busy in taking lot of calls a day. I don’t know how to mange my time.

Daniel Wagner.

Between full-time work, full-time school, and full-time fatherhood (of four children), it’s a wonder I find time to work on my website at all. I want to make that transition out of my 9-5 into a location independent business, but have no idea where to start. I feel drained, that my time isn’t being spent wisely toward this goal.

When I do finally get some free time, I end up checking twitter and facebook, catching up on emails, and trying to figure out how to make real connections with important people (unsuccessfully). I have already given up video games; having recognized that they were unrewarding and had no real value toward my goals.

I could use some advice, if anyone has any?
Daniel Wagner.


Great video Derek. I’m a private personal trainer and private healthy cook with a blessed, robust client schedule. Also pursuing my masters, staying fit, sleeping 8 hours, etc. I simply don’t have the energy for late night work! Thanks!


I’ve been busy doing stuff because it acts a distraction from me figuring out what I really want to do. Being busy is a buzz and makes me feel important but do all these things that make me feel I’m in a hamster cage going round and round matter? I’m about to have my first child any day now and I’ve managed to put work down and all the busy stuff that comes with being self employed and I can see just how hooked I was.


Babies. Babies keep me busy. We have an 18 month old and a 7 week old. I can honestly say I’m BUSY! Many friends don’t understand why I can’t just flutter off at a whim, or why we don’t go out late or why it takes me two days to reply to a text sometimes. In a year or so it will be easier, but for now my time entirely belongs to my little boys.

    Daniel Wagner.

    I can understand that completely. I have four children that require A LOT of time. Luckily, the youngest is almost seven now, so it’s getting better, and easier to do other activities if I need to.

Liz Wright

I never really thought about “busy” being a catch-all word for “stuff I don’t want to or feel like talking about,” but you’re totally right. And when you say it to someone or someone says it to you it totally feels like a cop out. What have I been meaning to do? Clean out the junk cabinet in my damn kitchen. What keeps me from it? I don’t WANNA (whine). I’ve found that in my home life it’s a lot easier to put stuff off than it is at work. At work I have a date book and I write down everything (my last intern made fun of me for always writing in it) but I was always crossing stuff off in it too. It kept me on point. I could slack when the list for today was done (and I always made sure it was do-able as opposed to overwhelming if possible). I’m on break from teaching until January 16 and on my list today was “get a hair cut, mop, and “flip” a class (take last semester’s class and put it in this semester’s shell). But there was no “clean out the g.d. junk cabinet” on there…Freud would want to know why I’m avoiding the junk cabinet.

letitia loughridge

There was something I wanted to do…. I wanted to sell my creations at a farmers market for years…. But I never did because I was to scared I would fail… But I did… And I didn’t! In fact, I did really well and met a lot if wonderful people!


I recently read a great way to eliminate ‘too busy’ from your vocabulary. Think of your priorities instead. If you are ‘too busy’ to do something, it’s likely because it isn’t a priority for you right now. Instead, say, “I’m sorry, I can’t make (insert activity A) a priority right now; can we re-schedule to another time?” Or simply, “I have other priorities right now.” If, in fact, you don’t actually have other priorities, then you need to consider if your busy-ness is indeed a cop out or if you are not prioritizing your work time like you could or should.

Miriam Ortiz y Pino

Usually when I get busy, I realize it’s because I have a decision to make about what to focus on next. When I catch myself in that place, I go watch tv and let it percolate. By the next morning I always have a decision and can move forward productively. I used to push through, but just doing busy stuff can cause me to have to undo or redo later, so now I just stop for a little while.

Noel Asre

Busy doing nothing, sort of.

The holiday season brings out my craziest clients who want everything done before Christmas. I’ve spent so much time looking after them (answering emails, phone calls, site visits) that I’ve done zero marketing/blog work for the holidays or even generate any new business.
I’ve also negelected any and all “Christmassy” stuff around the house. We have no tree, no lights, nada.

Yolanda Crowley

Goodness! Everyone is so busy.

Sounds like it is time to delegate all of those mundane tasks that take up too much time. What if I told you there was a way you could have more time to spend on your business?

πŸ™‚ Great video!

    Ryan James

    Everyone IS busy Yolanda! πŸ˜‰

    I think everybody who follows this blog is really shooting for the stars and busting their butts. Social media sure plays a large part in my marketing so Hootsuite has been my lifesaver.

    What “way” are you referring to?

    Great video by the way D!

Sherry Langland

Hey, Derek! I’ve been busy thinking about all the things that are keeping me busy but not productive. Time to change it up, revisit my priorities, and get back on track. Thanks for the timely reminder!!

Karleen Lindsey

Derek, thanks for the ranting! I have to admit, at the end of most days I think “what the heck did I do all day? How can the day be over and I accomplished so little?”

I do work 2 part time jobs that take up 6 days of my week and my 88 yr old mother lives with me, which is another part time job taking care of her. Plus I have 2 dogs. BUT, I am able to find time to work on my online business if I just make myself get up early before my mom is up.

Spending an hour online in the morning and maybe another hour at night after my mom goes to bed is enough to keep my online business moving forward. It may not be moving as fast as I would like, but for now that has to be good enough. The main thing I have had to do, though, is not be tempted by emails and facebook during my online time. If I get some honest work done and still have time, then I’ll do that other “busy” stuff.

As far as the one thing I’d like to do but haven’t yet, it is being able to quit one of my part time jobs by making enough money with my online business to take over that income stream. That means working a little harder and maybe getting up even a little earlier, but it will happen soon!

Thanks for your great posts.


Most of the time busy with my daughter…and soon to have a son in the mix. And I plan on home (un-) schooling. It’s challenging getting stuff done…But I am constantly tweaking how I can assess and get the most important things done to reach my goals.

But add to that that I take on too much…I’m a musician (gigging regularly), working on a (completely unrelated) online business, and learning options trading…
that’s just the beginning πŸ™‚


What a great kick in the pants, thanks Derek.

I get caught up in watching the financial markets, hanging out on financial forums, reading endless emails and blog posts relating to markets and politics. In general wasting time, since I gave up day trading a couple of years ago. I realize I’m engaging in compulsive behavior and rationalize it away by telling myself I’m being productive by staying informed.


Carlos Ramirez

Hello, Derek in one of the questions you mention if you know someone who is in the this category , “I am very busy” so that makes me a very strong candidate, few days ago my wife asked me what is that you doing? that you don’t even had time to invite to lunch and I told her “I am very busy” she ask again doing what?. I said to my self she deserves an answer. been busy for me means the fact to be doing something, my regular work 72hrs per week, 56 hrs sleep per week, 30 hrs of study per week, 10hrs others. I gave her my weekly schedule, I was not very happy with the situation so I decide to do something about it., on the 72 hrs and the 56 hrs that is fixed, in the 30 hrs of study I believed that it was the answer, less research and more action will have better results than 72 hrs of stagnation. Derek thank you for helping me to give a positive response to me wife and answering the other question, TAKE ACTION! Have a Great Day. Best Regards


I’m totally stuck in the ‘busy trap’ right now. I’m very busy checking Facebook updates, sorting out emails and increasing my learning. Too busy to take action on the things that really matter…

The time has come to take some action. Thanks for the reminder Derek πŸ™‚

Steve Willoughby

Great Video. You pretty much nailed me.

I work 10 hours a day in a “real” job….A lot of the time I try to devote to my next “real job” is spend in “training” I think I have signed up for to many newsletters, etc…..Most of them have good points, but if all I do is read training emails, watch videos, etc and no implementation — they really don’t mean anything.

I would never drop you, Derek. I appreciate your style and your information.


Good day, Derek. I am commenting for the first time but I’ve been reading ST for sometime now (and we briefly met at FinCon13). This is a good one and I’ve been thinking along very similar lines myself – mostly we spend our time being busy rather than being productive.

What I would really want to do is to write two books: one is an academic book setting out a theory I’ve been developing that will transform the way in whcih my colleagues study and analyse many things around science and innovation; the other one is related to my blogging and this has nothing to do with my academic area. Instead Ive been busy doing the following:

1) Lecturing to distraction (I am a university prof and my university measures teaching rather than learning); waste of time because it is the least effective way of learning even when done well; it is also very time consuming and tiring.
2) Checking my FB, Twitter, LinkedIn accounts obsessively as if important things will happen and I’ll miss out (trivialities usually happen and no one will ever miss those).

I am changing all that over the Christmas break – will rest a bit and then get working on a ‘back from the future’ plan to get where I want to be in the most parsimonious ways possible.

And yes, I’ll publicise this post – most people arounf me are like hamsters on a wheel – running around, contributing no value at all and wasting their lives and their talants.



Just as you said, I’ve been mostly busy with updating meaningless stuff. Playing meaningless Facebook games, regularly refreshing my email and Facebook page in the hope something different has happened and well… not much else.

Although, this last weekend hasn’t been as meaningless as other weekends, as I’ve also included updating my website – in an attempt to streamline it more, after watching other Derek Halpern Videos. I am now loving my website. Thank you πŸ™‚


Thank you for the reminder ….As a new sales rep. kindly advice regarding this …before i enter sales, i am a minister of the Gospel (busy with services for the Lord) so, in this case, I am wondering how can I manage my time that it will help my business field successful

Advice pls.


At the end of the day I just have to explain to my friends what my priorities are and in a nice way, they’re not at the top of that list.

If they’re truly friends they usually understand and want to jump on your success band wagon. They’ll usually offer advice or help to get you there a little sooner to free up your time and assist in carrying such a heavy burden.

I usually start with the end in mind ( read “crucial conversations”) letting them know how much I appreciate their friendship. Similar to bridge + message + tag. I then tell them what my current priorities are and end with how I again love and appreciate them.

For someone like me, who has a hard time telling people NO, it’s worked 99.9% of the time.

Rex Williams

Well, if someone read all these comments, they’d be busy. It’s addicting.

Curiosity is what keeps me busy.

Tony D

For the last month, I’ve been busy with my business class, I’ve started a blog that I’ve posted at least 500 words on every week (I write 45 minutes each day), and I’ve developed a few habits: write in my gratitude journal, read 30 minutes, and meditate each day.

Despite these good habits, I’ve also been busy watching sports highlights, planning my vacation over the holidays, and consuming content when I should be creating it.

Yes, I’ve made progress, but there’s still room for improvement.


I am busy saying I am busy… I have all this stuff in my head I want to do and need to do but the prioritizing and planning well I am too busy to even do that.. I told you I am busy saying and thinking how busy i am.. I start a task, get side tracked and before i know it, its time to leave for work so then I say I am too busy to work on my biz cause i gotta go to work.. the truth of the matter is now that i watched this video is I am BUSY getting non essentials done. meaning they may be important but in the scheme of it all the timing is off which results in me being busy.. what? smh


I just don’t use the word ‘Busy’ anymore – I HATE it. It’s followed closely by making excuses. My philosophy is ‘Just do it and do what needs to be done!’.

Lorna K

Yeah…that’s me…sorry to say…at the end of the day I’m like wiped out and counting the things I did do on one hand, more often than not. Bottom line, I need to learn to say NO to alot of project/favors that I do…


Whether we like it or not, this whole thing is an incredible amount of work that probably no one here foresaw when we started. This is how I go about it: I don’t play where I can’t win (video, perhaps I’ll outsource it one day). I don’t believe that you should go out of your comfort zone much in business. If it’s out of your comfort zone, you probably shouldn’t do it, anyway. So, that’s one big time eater out of the way.


I would fall into the trap of being so freaking “busy” answering emails for several hours a day, everyday. Now I’m working on cultivating a habit to say a big HELL NO and check only 3-4x day (morning, noon, late evening). I already see that I get more done when the email browser/client are closed and I can focus on the really important work, like creating content.

I. Caldwell

The doozy excuse is when I hear “let me check my schedule and get back to you” *side-eye. When I hear this what it sounds like is… EXCUSE!!! The only person who really cares about the excuse is the person who creates it, sort of like a PowerPoint slide show (cue crickets). If you can’t reach in your pocket and access your schedule, then roll over and play dead on the side of the road because your in the way.

Great clip

John Steinke

You can eliminate busy by reading one book – The One Thing by Gary Keller.

Achievement, results and time freedom comes from using this simple focusing question:

“What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be either easier or unnecessary?”

Every part of that question is important and makes you focus on achievable work that builds significant and lasting results. I’ve been able to grow my app business and prepare a magazine for launch at the iTunes Newsstand in my solo entrepreneurial business in three months. I ask that question to start my day, get that one thing done and then have time for the next one thing. Plus, I now have plenty of time for family, friends.

Adam A.

I fall into the busy trap, and it’s usually just with day to day stuff. I need to schedule time to do the important things: reading, writing blog posts, and ebook.

Instead, I’m busy doing my day job, then go home and do more things, and whatever is left is given to the important things that will help move me forward, if I don’t get distracted by the TV or something else to wind down at the end of the day.

So, I guess my question is, “how do we separate the day to day things such as laundry, running kids from place to place, and the usual stuff to keep our lives going and leave time for the growth opportunities?”

Dr. Becky

Hey Derek,

You want to know why I am so busy? Because I do everything…twice.

Case in point, I read your post twice before posting this comment.

Considering that what I want to do is reach out to more bloggers and become part of the ‘in crowd’, if I can just stop doing everything twice, I should get twice as much accomplished.

Could this be my perfectionism?

Thanks as always for another great post!


P.S. I just re-read my comment twice before pushing submit. I’m a slow learner. πŸ™‚

    Rex Williams

    That’s okay, Becky. I do that too.

    I’m busy thinking a lot.

Jan Koch

Hey Derek,
I fell into this trap from time to time over the last months.
As I recognized it, I introduced Getting Things Done to my daily routines – works like a charm.

I’d love to build a passive income stream with dropshipping and now thanks to GTD I finally started working on it!


Elly Klein

I feel overwhelmed by great content like yours, Derek!

Usually, if I don’t consume it straight away, it’ll slip down my email inbox and I’ll never get to it. It’s hard to prioritize what to consume now, later or never. There’s more content that I’d like to consume than I’ll ever get through. That makes me feel constantly ‘busy’ – there’s always more I could be doing. Sometimes I just give up and flop in front of the TV with a pint of gelato. πŸ˜‰

Venkatesh Iyer

I am busy with email and Feedly: they take up a huge chunk of the day. I have been too busy to launch my blog.

Not any more.

Anton Amoto

I’m not a pro busy guy. I love doing things that is productive or I called it “income producing activities”.

If you can show me how to make $5,000 in less than 3 days, then I might stop what I’m currently doing. LOL..

Beautiful video Derek, very informative. Thanks for sharing this post.

Olly Richards

I changed my routine and now wake up at 5am. I work for 3 hours, from 5-8am everyday before going to work and I’ve never been so productive in my life.

Devani Freeman

Great post Derek. I have been saying this WAY to much..but I have been busy! Almost 100% complete in getting my A-team hired and trained. Managing 5 contractors, several social media management clients, launching a new training program, keeping updated on my trainings, answering emails, creating content and working one on one with coaching clients. I also commit to 4 days of fitness per week and just started to work in daily meditating. Phew..I think I deserve to say I’m busy? Haha..there are days that I am not as productive. So easy to get sucked into the email/social media time warp. Thank for the soft kick in the rear πŸ™‚

Connie Habash

Yes, Derek, I’ve been too busy doing silly things like looking at Google Analytics over and over. I’ve decided that, unless I’ve just sent out a newsletter, I really only need to check it out once per week.

I’m also busy with being a mom, but actually not as present with my daughter as I’d like to be. So I decided to take some of the “have-tos” off my list, just “be” more (time in nature, meditation, etc.), so that I feel refreshed and can give my daughter the attention she deserves.

My work as a spiritual teacher and psychotherapist is going along just fine, so I’m working on letting go of working so hard at creating new offerings and allow more of it to flow my way.


Hi Derek,
I love your video. I love your energy and enthusiasm.
Perhaps, that energy and enthusiasm will rub off on me.
I have been sooooo busy, being busy, that I haven’t completed one task.
Maybe that’s why I am so stressed. Especially, knowing that if I don’t complete one task at a time. Well, I am exhausted because I am so aware, in the back of my mind, that the busyness is taking over. And, “full minds create chaos.”
Thanks Carell-Ayne

Dave Irwin

I’ve gotta be honest, it seems like my days lately are filled with answering emails and checking stats. A really, really bad use of my time. Just seems like the easy stuff has been getting my attention.

Dennis B.

Yes, I have been busy. Busy is good. Prioritization and focus are the key areas I need to focus on. There is so much happening I don’t always take time out for me.

Life is good!

Nancy P

Hi all… I am busy with holiday stuff, volunteering and revitalizing my business which is most important to me. One of the things I need to do it develop a good strategy to get more business… any suggestions? I have a fairly good base of clients but this year has not been good for my 3 top accounts… their businesses have contracted and they are pulling back spending … not good for me! My business is qualitative research. I do online and face to face research; like focus groups, interviews, online chats. My specialty is new product development, however I can do any subject… services, products, advertising, concept and so on! Got any ideas for me?????


I’ve been so busy by being busy πŸ™‚ You’re right, its a psicological trap. Now I realize it better than ever: I am so used to be busy, that even when there are no really important things to do, I still want to at least SEEM busy) And kepp telling my friends and family that I “really” am… πŸ™‚ Silly… So I just needed something like your video to stop wasting my time for silly things πŸ™‚ thank you, Derek!

Taavi Pertman

I’m way too busy with catching up on all the good (and sometimes unfortunately even not so good) blog posts, youtube videos, guides, maililinglists etc that teach the stuff that I “should know to become successful” at on-line marketing. Your video here is one of those examples.

I’m still not sure whether I should just go for it without knowing the best practices for each step of the way and try to learn from my experience or try to get a decent enough overview of every aspect, learn from other people’s mistakes and successses and then try doing it right (but apparently a lot slower and later).

Probably the best thing to do, would be to use the trashbin button a little bit more in my pocket app…

Debra Russell

The truth is, “I don’t have time.” is a lie. Because we all have 24 hours in the day – really, you are choosing what you are doing.

So how about starting with the truth and owning that you are making a choice about how you’re spending your time. What most people mean when they say, “I’ve been busy.” is I’ve been unconscious. I’ve been stumbling from one thing to another and don’t know if I’m being effective or not.

Getting honest and truthful with yourself is the place to start.

Masen Yaffee

I agree that “busy” is a poor excuse. People make time for things that are a priority to them. A person doesn’t do something because they were too “busy” they don’t do it because they chose not to make it a higher priority than the other things on their plate.

The root of the problem of being too busy is committing to more things than can realistically get done in a given period of time. I believe that people commit to more than they can get done for several reasons. One is that they feel that the amount they are accomplishing is inadequate, so they take on more. Another is because they are unable to say no to the requests or demands of others. Some people are driven to accomplish and so they add more to their plates in hopes of achieving more. Many people are simply poor time managers and don’t do a good job of estimating how long things will take so they get in over their heads on a regular basis. Finally, most people aren’t very good at prioritizing longer term important goals over short term gratification or immediate term “emergencies”.

Most of us fall into one or more of these categories so we are perpetually “too busy”. My solution?

Set long term goals based on your dreams and core values and make sure that short term activities line up with those goals. Long term goals need to include things like health and play as well as accomplishment type goals so that short term tasks include activities like exercise and sleep as well as work. Next, short term tasks need to be organized and prioritized on a daily basis. Accurately estimate and allow time for commitments. Say NO to things that aren’t on the priority list. Finally, create a structure for accountability so that follow-through and completion happens. I’m not perfect at it but this plan took me from the constant stress of being too busy to a generally happy and well-adjusted lifestyle.

Eric Rude

Hey Derek,

I HAVE been busy this year… Watching your videos!
Just kidding… Sort of. I’ve been busy learning how to market my business better, and then implementing what I’ve learned and finding out what worked best and what didn’t work at all for my business growth.
So, since I’ve been carefully managing my calendar by filling it with business building activities (work) and social activities (fun, friends, family time) I’ve tripled the number of clients I serve and quadrupled my revenue in 2013.
By being clear on when I have time for which activity in my schedule, I’ve been able to effectively work more efficiently and spend more time doing the things I love doing. My calendar is now full consistently 2 or more weeks out, and I still have time to do everything I want to do, including setting aside time for when family comes to visit for the holidays.
Thanks for always putting out great content,


Ive been busy dreaming :-/


I HAVE been busy to be honest……we won Theo Paphitis #SBS award for our business this week (whoop whoop) and we have been crazily busy telling anyone who will listen πŸ™‚

Hannah Ransom

I think I busy myself learning stuff too much instead of just DOING. Like watching this video, probably didn’t need to do that. Oh, leaving this comment, also don’t need to do that πŸ™‚

Lately, though, I was busy putting together a new program, so I am happy with that busy. I was excited to take some time off after it was done but now I just want to do the next thing. I also have 6 books I need to finish by the end of the year. Partially simply to learn partially because I am interviewing a couple of the authors and want to read certain books they wrote.


Great kick in the behind – thanks Derek!

For years, my grandma told me that when I was a small child, I always said “I busy” when asked what the heck I was doing.

Fast forward many years, and its been a mission to eliminate “busy work”. Hearing everyone say “I’m busy” now drives me up a wall too. Even more, is being out at any type of lunch or dinner, and everyone at the table talking/mailing/texting to someone else *not* at the table. Why even bother calling people together for a meal in the first place!! (But I digress…)

My particular “busy traps” are:

1. Client meetings (and more client meetings…)

2. A stats obsession (totally related to your comment about checking Twitter 12,000 times!)

3. A web-tweaking obsession (for weeks, was on a quest to shave load times from two of our sites)

#1 – 3 above have a tendency to keep me away from existing money projects & client acquisition. For 2014, #2 and #3 are getting totally outsourced. As for #1, any suggestions from the community are appreciated.

Thanks for all the motivational and action-inducing videos!


I find that between my day job, family, seeing friends and trying to start a business part time I have plenty to occupy me and keep me busy. I do admit to doing easy “quick win” tasks to see some progress in my day, but some of these are probably not that important. I also check my email and respond to Facebook too much.

I’ve noticed too that I’m not working optimally with the hours I’m choosing. I’d probably be better off doing some things early mornings rather than being up late and having to work through the next day.


I get so caught up in the menial things of every day, checking this and that and researching this and that and when 5:30 rolls around, I realize I have completed nothing of importance, my family is hungry and I have not even thought of dinner. It is a shame how much time gets wasted each day.


Well, i think i’ve been busy replying my guests inquiries, turns out emails alone wont do as a communication method, i also have to take care of tweets, face book posts, and monitor my skype missed calls all for the sake of not dropping a guest’s question.
I like it and all but, sometimes i wish that someone could unify all these services in an all in one Work-Shop interface, it would shorten the time for lots of stuff, essentially make me able to focus on other areas in my business.


Oh yes! I’m allways sooo busy with too much things to do…

Bobby Velev

Nice video Derek!

I also used to be busy doing things that doesn’t matter and my days were just passing. But then I realized that this is not working for me. Then I decided to use my time for what matters.

I started to ask myself:
– What can I do right now to increase the value of my services to my customers?
– What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?

And then my life changed.

Nowadays I am busy on working for clients and creating meaningful products.

Frank Casanova

People do or don’t do what they want. Big difference between a “wish” and a “commitment”. Those who said they wanted to do something but didn’t, were only expressing a wish… which was meaningless.

Angie Mattson

I wrote a Manifesto called “Make Some Room.” One of MY rants is, “Busy is a bullshit word. Stop saying it. Choose to say something real.” Whenever I catch myself saying, “I’m busy” it means I’m not working on enough substantive projects and it’s time to refocus!

Stanley Lee

Long story short, I am not as busy after solving this challenge in the past 2 weeks. I’ve been busy wrapping my heads around why I wasn’t getting results, only to realize that there were chinks in my system and weaknesses in myself (critical for the results, but not critical for me to master) that I had to work out through outsourcing (or getting help from the outside). Let me know if you want more details.

jordan fowler

When I get “busy” I try to ask, “What on my list has the most permanent lasting effect?” I try to work on Eiffel Towers not tents.

I also try to ask, What on my list can I do that allows SOMEONE ELSE to start working on what they should?

Doesn’t always work but good lenses I try to look through.

Tova Gold

I’ve been busy. In the last 6 weeks I’ve written my new book, Finding Your Muchness, http://findingmymuchness.com/2013/11/10/funbook/. Ive launched and completed a successful kickstarter campaign to presell it (funded 237%!!) – I’ve single handedly designed the whole book, (its a full color and beautifully designed activity book for adults) printed a few hundred copies and packed and shipped all my books to my campaign backers. I’ve also made my 3 year old a birthday party, went to four Hanukkah parties, including two at my children’s school, had 2 thanksgiving dinners, helped my husband build his new website, rebuilt my websites entire shopping cart after it crashed two days before Black Friday. I created a whole new assortment of Muchness Bands to sell on my site that crashed two days after I added all the new products …. Oh, and a week ago I gave a Tedx talk.
Oh!!! And I almost forgot- I did all the freelance design work that actually pays my bills.
So…. Yeah- I’ve been busy. It was also my birthday, my husbands birthday and our anniversary, which we didn’t have the time or money to fully acknowledge so we rain checked those celebrations for later.

Love you Derek. Thanks for putting my world into perspective! Frankly, saying I’m busy woulda just saved me some time.


    inspiring! I feel motivated just from your post.

    I keep putting off publishing my book because — I am “too busy” with my money earning business and I am somewhat afraid of the long list of things that follows a book launch too.

Linda B

Hey Derek, thanks a lot – (the out take is funny – I’m a petite woman (so don’t make fun of me, haha).

This rant is great – I’m too busy on Facebook and Twitter to take my jewelry inventory, photograph Valentine and Passover jewelry to list new items in my shop.

I’m making a list of important things to do and am going to cut myself off Facebook for a few days after I upload some photos.

Great reminder.


Hey Derek,
I really like this video. I say the words, “I’ve been so busy” ALL THE TIME! I recently opened my own aerobics studio. I also started a full time job to pay for my studio until it begins to pay for itself. I work til 4 every day, and then have class 4 times a week also. I don’t get home on those nights until almost 8 pm. Then it’s cook supper, do homework with the kids, and then put them to bed. I don’t get to sit down until almost 10 pm. I love what I do, but my house suffers the most. I have a husband and 3 sons at home, so you can just imagine how my house looks most of the time. (bless their hearts, but they just aren’t good at house keeping) I live in a small town, so getting the word out about my studio is my biggest obstacle. This is why I joined Social Triggers. I need help figuring out ways to bring new customers in my door. Exercise just isn’t on most peoples “important things to do” list. I’ve had a good number of people come to at least one class, but they don’t seem to come back. These are the same people that after taking my class, go straight home, join my facebook page, and then post on facebook about how they had a blast and really enjoyed my class. How do I get more people to join my classes? My mind stays consumed by this question! If I’m not physically busy, I’m mentally busy. Any suggestions welcomed!!!


I’m working like crazy towards getting publicity to prime the pump of lead generation & to grow my brand. Only then can I finally hire an intern / VA. Thanks for this video.


I HAVE been busy. And, yes, it is mostly checking my personal facebook and watching movies. But I don’t feel that means that it’s useless. Seriously! Define “useless”!

My dad–a life-long, hard worker– always filled his days, night, vacations, etc with work. He got so much done, and I always aspired to be like him.

Until he had he first heart attack in his 60s. Yes, I said “first” there were 2 more after that. So when I sit here and worry about how much productive work I’m doing, I think about my dad…. and I think about my son, my health, and all those times I had to go one depression/anxiety medication, and I realize that I’d much rather work to make myself a better person well over doing WORK every second of every day.

Making myself happy includes: talking with distant friends/family on Facebook, playing Candy Crush, going for walks when I SHOULD be doing work, taking breaks, spending time with my son and husband, making fresh-cooked meals instead of eating out, etc.

So, based on my priorities, I’m actually VERY busy and getting a lot done every single day! I’ll thank myself in 40 years instead of tomorrow πŸ™‚


I have been busy with Candy Crush Saga…

Kimberley Grabas

Thanks for calling us all out, Derek! πŸ˜‰

For me, ‘busy’ masks the two things that are more likely occurring:

Overwhelm and/or avoidance.

Elena Ferrer

I am really super busy growing my business! but the sad true is that i’m working too much. My fight these months is to organize the projects i am choosing, to eliminate others and so. It’s been pretty hard, and in the meantime, I have lots of deadlines to accomplish that makes me work too hard.

Leanne Richards-Williams

I’m loving this Derek!

Been a while since I’ve been back here…”I’ve been busy”


Unwittingly I’ve been doing one thing I’ve been meaning to do each night before I go to bed…..at midnight!

I felt guilty for staying up late…AND I feel closer to my aim.

So yes! I have been busy….doing all the things that will fuel and support my actions to do that “one thing” before I shut my eyes.


Alex Adams

Hi all,

My dream is to lead a dedicated team of people to deliver great projects to fantastic clients. So I’ve been busy reading, researching, writing proposals, taking calls from and consulting with prospective clients, video-conferencing with potential sub-contractors, architecting new solutions, managing design and build projects, ferrying my children to and from school and nursery, coding up new sites and fixing existing sites for a contract client, looking after my pigs, writing, brainstorming joint venture projects and generally trying to squeeze about two days of activities into one for what seems like ever.

Occasionally I get to take time out and then I feel guilty because there’s something that needs to be done. I’m always in backlog and I yet still take on more because I struggle with “No”. Although I am starting to work on that and I’m getting better at scheduling in things and asking for help.

Renee Beese

I never use the word busy and I rarely use the word never.

The words I use that feels more in power are full, well and happy.

When someone asks me what I’ve been up to I say with great enthusiasm my life is so full and well I am so so happy. I am getting lots done on my projects that are important to me and I spending time with other great people…..because its true πŸ™‚

Scott McCusker

Hey all, first comment here πŸ™‚ So I am one of those people who are SOO busy but yea most of it is because I am so drained that there are nights I just need to unplug…so what do I do to stop being so “busy” – – – I check email only 4 times a day and never before 10am so I can get the important stuff done during the day (however on my Iphone I utilized the VIP inbox for my clients so I can get to those emails right away) and I just hired an assistant – a bright 22 yr old that is looking to make it in the music business so no more useless phone calls about how shit this industry is and more productivity — oh and it is only going to get better – I have just started “Getting Things Done” by David Allen – very excited to hear his methods

Michael Hsu

What makes me so busy is constant feeling of whatever I achieve, no matter how great it is, is not enough. What makes me so busy is that I don’t give myself the permission to celebrate, to appreciate what I have done and who I am as a person. I don’t believe I am enough as a person. It’s sick because I am living out my dream and accomplishing amazing things every week.


I’ve been busy chasing paper work from clients. F#c$ I hate chasing paper work.


Hi Derek:

I’m always busy (and stuck), making everything perfect before I actually start doing anything. It’s frustrating…


I’ve been spending alot of my time lately getting material prepared for my upcoming coaching training program that has a special beta group kicking off in January. My VA’s off for holidays come Sunday so I’ve been a busy beaver (can we keep busy beaver?) writing writing writing to get this off to her in between coaching calls. And sick kids. And holiday stuff πŸ™‚


Hey Derek,

I am actually really busy writing my first book!

And this keeps me for some weird reason so focused, I hardly check my emails throughout the day. Yeah. Let’s hope it stays that way when I am done!

Rafa Lombardino

Definitely busy here… But “good” busy! πŸ™‚

– Working on translation projects back to back, including some book translations, starting at 8:30 am all the way to 4:30 pm.

– Teaching at a translation course in order to raise awareness of students about what it really takes to have a translation business, which includes weekend work to correct all their homework.

– Training hard to get in shape, like 5-6 days a week, for a minimum 2 hours of training a day, sometimes going to the Y to take classes in the morning and then going back in the afternoon for some more classes. Hey, I just run my first 10k race ever and accomplished my goal of finishing under one hour (56:46), so all the training is working.

– Trying to stay healthy by cooking wholesome meals and trying new recipes for cakes with more fiber and protein contents.

– Finally, being a mother (5-y.o. and 1-y.o.) and a wife and enjoying my family in between all the craziness of the day, which starts at 4:30 am and ends at 10:30 pm.

Okay, break is over! Gotta go back to the translation project I’m working on before the baby wakes up πŸ˜€


OMG! this video couldn’t be more true. I tell people I’m busy but I’m not sure why I was so busy. It IS because I end up wasting so much valuable time on social networks or the internet and end up not having enough time to actually get things done for my business. I DO want and need to change this.


I have been intensely busy working on my business and my wife’s business, spending time with my daughter. That’s good busy, and the bad busy is that I have spent a lot of time and energy fighting fires like backend domain issues, and a hundred other minor time gobbling activities that have been keeping me far away from my happy place. I am resolving to never get into this place again by installing the proper systems and structures quickly so I can keep working on high-value tasks!

Thanks for the video Derek, I appreciate having the platform to voice this today!

— JA

Joshua Acosta

I’ve been so “busy”, I’ve waited 3 weeks to send someone an email I’ve been meaning to get back to. Embarrassing.

So lets brainstorm, is getting off FB/Twitter a solution? I’ve been considering getting off FB for a while now. The service has lost its value to me regarding connecting me with people I know and sharing information with them.

Chris Aitken

Hey Derek — timely kick in the pants … shutting down email and refocusing on the few things I really need to get done *today*.

Wes Schaeffer

Great video. I’ve been buys raising 6.5 kids, launching my new book, updating my first book on Infusionsoft, knocking out a weekly podcast (thesalespodcast.com) – when are you coming on it? – knocking out a weekly email newsletter (weeklywhisper.com), supporitng existing clients, landing new clients, hitting the gym 5 days a week, working on another book and putting together a new mastermind program to launch in 8 weeks.
Keep up the great work…and let me know when you can come on my podcast.
Merry Christmas,


Hey Derek, I love this video because it deals with something I call “entrepreneurial overwhelm.” For a lot of business owners who wear so many hats, there’s too much too do. Stepping back and getting a birds eye view of your productivity and things that make you happy is so important but we are so stuck in the day to day that most of us don’t take the the time to do it. Getting support and feedback is also extremely pertinent to our success. I recently cut my in person meetings in half and allocated the lower priority ones to phone calls. Then I cut those in half from 1 hour to 30 min. Boom. 25% time savings. I developed a 4 week program for just this issue because I saw many of my small business clients drowning in unnecessary overwhelm (I am not including a link because I do not want to ruin the integrity of this post). I told a potential client the other day, “you have to stop playing whackamole with your day to day activities and start managing the Carni.” Thank you for sharing this – it’s so necessary.

    Brad Castro

    Awesome metaphor!


      Thanks Brad.


Whew, gosh, where to start?

I’m busy…
…writing content for my blog
…creating inventory of my products
…developing new products
…testing ideas
…writing fictional story books
…developing my first comic book
…fighting with my vehicle to be operational
…working on the website to make it user friendly
…reaching out to folks to find someone who can help me in certain areas of my business
…researching techniques I can use when creating products or creating new products
…advertising business
…finishing custom orders
…reaching out to other businesses who can help me get my products done (remember the comic book I mentioned? I’m trying to find someone who can do the printing and assembling for me)
…formulating a list of shows and conventions I can take my products to
…thinking of ways to setup my booth for shows, how to transport stuff without anything getting messed up or ruined, how I could get live feedback from folks when they stop by my booth at these shows
…developing items I could have in my newsletter so that when people actually do start signing up, I’ll have something for them
…updating my portfolio (a constant, really)
…bettering my photographing skills so that as I photograph products, they will look decent

That’s a decent chunk of it.

Ron Benza

Derek–Really enjoyed this video. And your advice is spot-on. “Being busy” is an automatic trigger to a question that doesn’t really want to be answered. Truth be told, we always…always find the time to do the things that matter to us. And the rest go in that “too busy” pile.
Trouble is when we use that “too busy” phrase we end up not being true to ourselves and the folks we tell it to. And they feel like they’ve been better-dealed for something you care about more than say, the lunch. I say this from experience because I am guilty of it too. I have made it a habit now to say something like: “I can make our lunch but I would rather reschedule it since I am not going to be there 100% for you. And our friendship deserves better”.

Annie Logue

What makes me busy is a lot of family obligations. I have my priorities scheduled, but stuff happens that’s not under anyone’s control – like a sick relative, a kid who needs a ride to practice, or a friend who is going through something serious. It’s not about being a doormat, it’s about being human – and stuff like marketing or promotion becomes less important.

If only someone could invent a time turner!

Adel kassouri

Hi all, I never really posted much on my blog, felt busy lol, even tough i spend a lot of time doing stuff on the web (freelancer), I always find it hard to think about a post that can give people interest in what I do, or simply share my experiences in few countries and wonders i saw and experienced.


    Alex Adams

    Hi Adel,

    I’m in a similar situation. But one thing that’s worked for me that you could try for your blog about is to re-work answers that you’ve given clients. For example if you’ve written a lengthy email response to a query or support issue then it may be quite easy to take that and quickly re-work it into a blog post. Often if someone has asked the question then there will be others with the same or similar questions. That way you know what you’re writing will be of use to your readers.

    Hope that helps,


      Hi Alex,

      Great answer and great advice! I do the same thing with creating FAQ questions but it had never dawned on me to also turn those questions from emails into blog posts. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

      This made my day!


not developing products… to much low level correspondence and maintenance.

Rachel Moore

This is so good! I am guilty of postponing important projects and actions by being “busy” with checking email and facebook all day, procrastinating. It takes so much initiative to actually say no to the distractions and be active and pursue what you need to do!

I’m going to promote a new product today and update my blog and social media with a new shoot I did. Bam. Thanks for the encouragement Derek!


My new Mantra

“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.”
-Francine Jay

    Devani Freeman

    Love this!!

    Pernille Norregaard

    Love the quote, Kristie. That’s my mantra too. It’s amazing what you can eliminate from your life when you focus on what’s really important.


The last few weeks have really gotten busy with new clients, meeting with them, scoping their needs, and then switching hats to get the work done. That’s great, but it has kept a side project I want to do for me unchecked on my to do list for a while…but obviously I’m not too busy to check Facebook, Email, and twitter 100 times a day…

Hector cuevas

Alrght alright.. You got me!

I’ve been falling for this trap lately and I need to get out. But I think I know why. I’ve been working on something big for the past 3 months and it’s finally complete but I’m starting to have doubts about it, so I’m doing meaningless tasks to keep me from actually putting it out there.

…nice kick in the butt.
Great stuff


I am busy building websites and freelancing graphic design. My #1 problem is that I don’t have a production schedule. I just tell everyone, “Yeah, I can do that.” When in fact, I might not be able to get to it in a week.


I’ve actually pretty good nowadays working on stuff that matters but in the past I was horrible on this and always did things that matter little to nothing.


So often I put my daily exercise off because I make myself “too busy”. But it’s about prioritizing and deciding that it’s the most important thing to do! I know this!

I hate falling into the ‘busy’ trap. Especially because it happens to our clients so often when they’re writing their business plans, and I really enjoy coaching them out of it. But it happens to everyone πŸ™‚


    @Jessica – so what is your strategy/advice you can give to your clients so they stop being ‘busy’?


Great video Derek! While I have been busy because I work two regular jobs and like to spend time with my family (plus trying to fit some time in to work on my blog), I know I could be making better use of my time. Watching your video, I knew I fell into the guilty category and should be concentrating my time and energy solely on important tasks, not busy tasks.

And thanks for keeping the video short. Now I won’t have to explain to my friends and family that I’m too busy to get together because I spent too much time watching Social Triggers Videos.



    I have been busy watching videos on youtube πŸ™

    JR John

    That would have been a good excuse. A real good ‘un.

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