Pretired Baby doing a little swinging before the Seahawks game.

Pretired Baby doing a little swinging before the Seahawks game.

Lately I’ve been feeling increasingly time-crunched. I often joke I may need to go find a job just so I can have some free time again! I’ve even screeched those most emasculating of words, “OMG, I’m SO BUSY!”

The house is a mess. No, really, it’s getting embarrassing. This blog has been getting crusty from neglect (although traffic keeps rising — thank you!). I haven’t found the time to figure out how I want to invest my $100,000. (Although I’m somewhat dragging my feet while I watch what goes down with the government shutdown.) I haven’t been able to read many of my favorite blogs. I’ve got a book that is due back to the library soon and there’s still quite a bit of it left.


But am I really that busy? I remember this excuse being used so commonly when I was working that I banned it from my excuse book, replacing it with “Sorry, it’s still a few items down on the priority list.” It seemed more honest than “I haven’t had time yet.”

You haven’t had time? Gah, how I hate that excuse (even when I catch myself saying it)! Because, really, we all have the same amount of time each day.

One of my favorite sayings is “the only way to get more time in each day is to steal some from the night.” Because it’s really about how we choose to spend our time — there isn’t an unequal distribution of hours each day depending on how important we think we are.

When I was working, the people who were most likely to give me the “I’m too busy” excuse were inevitably the ones spending the most time screwing around. In fact, I believe that if you want someone to do something for you, look for the busiest person. No one goes to the people who aren’t busy because they can’t get anything done. Frustratingly, some of the “too busy” folks were buddies of mine so I could see what they were really doing on Facebook. Hmm, seems like you weren’t TOO BUSY to spend eight hours playing Call of Duty all weekend, were you?Β 

Pretired Baby has been waking up early lately and since he gets 90 percent of my attention when he’s awake, it cuts into my “me” time. My side consulting work has been very busy lately and I’m still picking away at the basement project during the handful of hours each week when the baby is awake and Pretired Mama can take care of him. We have breakfast, play for awhile and when he’s ready for his nap, I race to take a shower and begin my work for the day. When he wakes up, it’s lunch, maybe a trip to the park, more playing and then naptime again, when I race for the computer again for an hour or so. Then it’s time to make dinner, play, take a bath and finally bedtime for the baby. And then TV. Sweet, sweet TV. And Twitter. Sweet, sweet, Twitter.

After I’ve rested enough, I’ll stumble back to the computer for some blog writing or maintenance.

The days are flying by. Weeks are flying by. That voice in my head is sternly warning me that I “need to be getting something done.”

But am I really that busy? I still check Facebook umpteen times a day. I have time for TV most nights, where I glaze over and rest a bit. I still shower almost every day. Meals with my son are leisurely and usually hilarious. The kitchen is staying under control. Groceries are finding their way in the door and down my gullet. I even have time for drinks with a buddy once a week. I get close to eight hours of sleep every night. The schedule is firmly blocked out to ensure no Seahawks game is missed. (Go Hawks!)

So I’m not really busy at all. I’m filling my time with what is important to me, and mostly that’s Pretired Baby right now. Many of the other things impacting my time are self-inflicted as well, such as blogging or the basement project. And isn’t this what pretirement is supposed to be about? Doing what one WANTS to every day instead of schlepping to some job you hate?

I’m one of those people who when I’m not “too busy,” I’m bored. There is no in-between. And I always try to remember that we all get the same 24 hours. Using them as best I can should be the goal, not trying to squeeze more and more into those same hours.

The house can stay messy another week. The blog will be fine. The basement project will be done eventually. We’re going to the park. And we’re going to play on the swings.Β For as long as we want.

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43 Thoughts on “‘OMG, I’m SO BUSY’

  1. I like it – “busy busy busy” is rarely accurate, and you’ve got your priorities. Going to the park with Baby is time well spent (and I agree things like that are the point of pretirement). Hope you guys had fun out there.
    FF recently posted…Roth, Traditional, and Your Social SecurityMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm said:

      Thanks, FF! We always have a good time. It’s been amazing to have this time with him. Hard to imagine doing it any other way!

  2. Ah Nicholas, we’re on the same page. I like where you started and loved where you ended up — wise conclusion, grasshopper. Yep, even today I was whining about the same thing and then I realized the day is mine and I choose where I take it. And I must say, you have one exceptionally cute lunch-mate.
    Tom | Tall Clover Farm recently posted…Behind the Tall Clover CurtainMy Profile

  3. First of all, that picture is so adorable! I don’t blame you for devoting 90% of your attention to him. I have found myself feeling “busy” as well, but I have to remember to spend my time on things I really want to do. I love blogging, but some days I just want to relax and spend time with my boyfriend, away from the computer. The computer will be there later. I agree that I do start feeling bored if I’m not being productive, though. I need to get better at relaxing!
    E.M. recently posted…I ♥ Autumn Tag / Q & AMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm said:

      Aw, thanks, EM! He is pretty cute. I guess we’ll probably keep him. I guess they call it living intentionally when you decide what you want to do in each moment and do that. You’re doing great as far as that goes.

  4. OMG, he’s getting so big. πŸ™‚
    Sorry to tell you this, but pretty soon it will be down to one nap. Then he’ll fight taking naps until you’re both exhausted and fell asleep together.
    Heh heh, life is good.
    Joe recently posted…You don’t need to be Financially Independent to Retire EarlyMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm said:

      Oh man, I don’t know how he grew so fast. It’s crazy! I’ve been wondering when the one nap thing is going to happen. Hopefully it’s a nice long one when it does. I’m hoping he doesn’t want to fight it too much. So far he loves going to bed. Your guy is a lot more spirited than mine, though. But we’ll see!

  5. Okay first off, how dare you make me check a box saying I’m a Seahawks fan. As a GB fan, I still have the fail mary burned fresh into my memory, lol. That said, I don’t think anyone will fault you for prioritizing time spent with your kid. The blog will always be there in the ether when you catch your breath.
    Micro recently posted…Story time: 1st day of collegeMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 11, 2013 at 3:28 pm said:

      Another converted Seahawks fan! Welcome! (:
      Thanks for the kind words, Micro! There’s always enough time for the kid and the blog, but the kid comes first.

  6. Nick time is flying by because you get to spend it with your son. That’s a great problem to have. I don’t have kids yet but I don’t know how I’m going to manage my time.
    Charles@Gettingarichlife.com recently posted…From A Negative Net Worth To A Positive OneMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 12, 2013 at 4:12 am said:

      People always warn you how much time kids take, but you can’t really understand until you have them. But while I feel stressed nothing else gets done, it feels more like an investment than a waste. And selfishly, it’s fun!

  7. I love the conclusion you come to: the point is not to be efficient with our hours, but to use the time we get on the things we actually want to do. Family and football sound like pretty good options to me. (Though I object to having to lie and claim that I am a Seahawks fan. As a person with a soul, yes, of course I root for Russell Wilson. But that’s as far as it goes. Go Steelers!)
    Done by Forty recently posted…We’re Getting a New HousemateMy Profile

  8. I had a really important point to make but by the time I read through the comments I forgot what it was. πŸ™‚

    So I’ll just repeat what the others before me said. Because it’s true. I love your conclusion. You’re filling your time with what’s important. Swing on!
    Taynia | The Fiscal Flamingo recently posted…5 Influential People – It’s PersonalMy Profile

  9. “I’m filling my time with what is important to me”

    “The house can stay messy another week. The blog will be fine. The basement project will be done eventually. We’re going to the park. And we’re going to play on the swings. For as long as we want.”

    It sounds like you have your priorities in the right order! Sounds kind of like my scheduling. The last two days I have had drop in social visits from good friends who called at the last minute and asked “are you busy, wanna hang out?”.

    Well, no. I mean I had planned to sit down and write a blog post or two. But that can wait. I’ve always thought it was good to mix “productivity” with relaxation and recreation. You’ll get burnt to a crisp doing otherwise. And if you are always busy, you have to focus hard on making time for the relaxation and recreation, otherwise it simply won’t happen.
    Justin @ RootofGood recently posted…Root of Good One Month UpdateMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 14, 2013 at 10:10 am said:

      Good call, Justin. I totally agree you need some free “mind-space” to be able to think about what you want to do and to focus. In the end, it really just comes down to prioritization.

  10. Baby Romanian is three months old now and I’m learning that indeed I have to cut a lot of my own time in order to spend more time with him. I had a pretty nice routine set up and I loved what I did and how I did it and the fact that things changed drastically over the past three months made me think that I also am so busy and I don’t have time for everything. But it’s all about setting your priorities straight. Do I want to play computer games or spend time with my little one? Do I have to watch TV and look at funny videos my friends post on Facebook or write a couple more articles to make sure we still have money every month? And so on…

    Having a child does change your life and even though my amazing wife is doing her best to have me maintain my old habits and do everything just like I used to, I have to set my priorities straight. So right after I publish this comment, I will ignore the computer for the rest of the day and spend time with my family. Because that has to be on top of the list. Thanks for reminding me that!
    C. the Romanian recently posted…Stop Adding More Debt Right NOW!My Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 14, 2013 at 10:12 am said:

      Good for you, C! I think you’re going to enjoy the next three months as he’s not mobile but also not a newborn. Plus he sleeps a lot. After six months, though, it gets a lot tougher again!

  11. Love the post! I feel the same way. I feel so busy…but I’m probably not managing my time properly. I take 2 days a week to help watch Baby LRC…I thought that gives me a lot of time, but I’m wrong. They do need a lot of attention! Cute pic by the way! I’m not sure if I can comment as I have to confirm that I am a Seahawks fan! haha But being that the Giants season is pretty much over…I don’t really care. Plus, I do like what the Seahawks are doing over there. I got family in Seattle and my Dad lived there for awhile so I do have a fondness for Seattle so I will Confirm!
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Do I Need a Buyer’s Agent?My Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 14, 2013 at 10:13 am said:

      Another Seahawks fan! Welcome! (:
      Thanks, he’s lots of fun so far, but little else is happening. But I think that’s OK!

  12. Your kid is so cute, it’s illegal πŸ™‚

    I’m also ‘busy’ most of the day. The good thing is that I still get the work done and also have some ‘me’ time. This will surely change when my daughter will be born, then I’ll probably be ‘really’ busy πŸ˜€
    dojo recently posted…Personal Finance: How do you manage a windfall?My Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 14, 2013 at 1:18 pm said:

      Thanks, Dojo! I think we’ll keep him! Your daughter will definitely change things for you. Although I don’t know if you’ll necessarily be busier or just busy with different things.

  13. I also say I’m busy, although I feel like when I was younger I was busier. I think I get tired more throughout the day because I sit at a desk all day long. On Friday, I was up and about all day, and I was not tired at the end of the day. I might have to consider a career change, but it’s harder figuring out what I want to do!
    Savvy Financial Latina recently posted…LEAN IN: Negotiate Like A WomanMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 14, 2013 at 10:14 am said:

      Heh, wait until you get older. I can barely sit for two hours at a time anymore and after a long day of sitting I used to be just wiped out! That’s no way to live. Fortunately by the time you’re my age, I’m sure you’ll be happily pretired!

  14. I’ve definitely gotten that feeling after our daughter was born. Although, not only do I have to be doing something, my brain has to be engaged, and taking care of a toddler isn’t really brain engaging – especially when she insists on watching the same episode of Barney multiple times…. I tend to play around on my phone when that happens, and I still feel like I’m not getting anything done (because I’m goofing off on the phone…).

    We still haven’t gotten all the carpet crap up in our basement (5 months later…), and I have a whole list of things I want to get done, but they’re not as high on the priority list as keeping little fingers out of sockets…
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted…Savings RateMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 14, 2013 at 10:15 am said:

      Oh man, it’s so hard to resist looking at the electronic devices when you’re watching these guys. I get SO BORED. But if we go outside or something it’s easier and I think better for both of us!

  15. I had to delete FB off of my phone because I was spending wayy too much time on it. I also installed FB Nanny (chrome extension). I hate the “I’m busy” excuse, too and you’re right – the ones who tout the busy badge are the ones who waste their time doing unnecessary crap!

    • Pretired Nick on October 14, 2013 at 10:16 am said:

      I should do that, although I don’t look at it that much on my phone. Good for you for taking control of the evil FB addiction!

  16. Love this, Nick. I’m feeling the same way lately. I had to confess to my husband last night that the bathroom hasn’t been scrubbed in WAY too long, and thus, that is what I did after dinner last night. You’re so right though, the time is going WAY too fast, and we just have to take some time to play on the swings. The list can wait. πŸ™‚
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…How Skepticism Can Help You Conquer Your DebtMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 17, 2013 at 8:44 am said:

      Thanks, Laurie! It’s sometimes hard to remember in the day-to-day craziness, but it’s good to pause and think about it sometimes.

  17. You still have time to watch TV?! πŸ˜‰
    Barely time for that here, I’m not pretired yet although also don’t have a kid so I guess we’re even on that score?

    I’ve been following a low info diet (minimal TV, newspapers, Facebook and twitter, etc) for a while now and while I am still extremely busy, I’m definitely getting more important done and have gotten a fair few hours of my life back each week.

    I get the feeling that a lot of people will always fill up their waking hours with”stuff to do” so will always feel busy. The key is making sure the stuff is adding value to your life in some way or for your loved ones. Enjoy the time with your son, it certainly sounds like you are πŸ™‚

    Andy @ theFIREstarter UK recently posted…Internal Locus of Control: Develop one, retire earlyMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 18, 2013 at 9:14 am said:

      I don’t know if I have time for TV or if it’s the only thing I have energy for at the end of the day! I think I’ll always find myself to be very busy no matter what’s going on in my life. But the trick is to make sure I’m choosing what I’m doing every day, not just go along for the ride.

  18. We have a little toddler age 13 months – my day tends to start at around 5.30am as I get up with him and then leave my wife to sleep in.
    Its amazing how busy a child can make you – and then you look at what you’ve achieved – nothing work wise – but a big smile from the little one is all you need to know that your efforts are worthwhile
    getrichwithme recently posted…Protecting My Family With Life InsuranceMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 18, 2013 at 9:12 am said:

      Totally! It’s exhausting and very rewarding at the same time! My guy is 14 months and has been starting to get up at 6 am! Argh! Fortunately he’s a good napper so I do still have some time during the days.

  19. Your baby is adorable! I am feeling that way too lately, with wedding planning, work, working overtime, house maintenance, and all that comes with all of that.
    SuburbanFinance recently posted…Fall Roundup and UpdatesMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 21, 2013 at 10:03 am said:

      Thanks! Modern life sure can get crazy. But if we stop and think about it, nearly all of it is self-inflicted. We can usually stop anytime we want.

  20. Love that picture Nick. Good for you. Spend your time as you see fit, and make the most out of every minute. You can always blog next week, right? Although by that time, I may be having withdrawals…
    Jacob @ Cash Cow Couple recently posted…The Value of TimeMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 21, 2013 at 10:04 am said:

      Heh! Thanks, Jacob! It’s been tough finding the time to write lately, but that’s only because there’s so much I want to do every day!

  21. As a father of 2 boys under 2.5, I will totally agree that by the time you slice up the day into work (those that still do!), family, and daily upkeep, that very little time is left. Or sometimes negative time…as in it’s already the next day. In the end, as you say, the other stuff can wait…your kids are worth it. I wish I had put in the time to get my finances/investments on the right track before I had kids, as I must have had all the time in the world back then πŸ™‚
    Mark recently posted…Why Dividend Investing is Perfect for New ParentsMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on October 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm said:

      Two under 2 1/2, eh? Wow! You’ve got your hands full even more than I do! They sure do devour the time, don’t they? But I can’t imagine doing anything else with it.

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