Give It to a Busy Girl – Reflections on Time

“Give it to a busy girl, and she’ll get it done.”

My mother has said this to me about 6 million times in my life. The expression is self explanatory, but what my mom actually means by it goes much deeper.

You see, there is an old Chinese proverb that I love (that not surprisingly, my mother also taught me) that says “time is a created thing – to say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to’.” While this is a very simplistic view of time and business, it is actually not untrue when you think about it. On most days, I always seem to have time to scroll through Instagram. I always have time to look through my emails and click on the enticing one from Banana Republic informing me of (another) sale. I always have time to hit the candy bowl in the office. What I don’t seem to have time to do is go to the gym everyday, get eight hours of sleep everyday, write that check for the bill in the mail. Why? Because if I’m really honest, I don’t want to. I do want to look through fun pictures on Instagram so there is always time for that. Time is a created thing.

That said, there are, genuinely, periods in life when you actually don’t have time. I can always tell it is a busy day at work when I look at my phone at 3 pm and realize that my very old phone with terrible battery life still has over 80% left. If I have been slammed with meetings and calls all day, my own phone doesn’t get to leave my purse. In that instance, while time is a created thing, I just can’t create it. This, of course, is my longwinded way of saying that I sincerely apologize for my three week hiatus from writing. While I could give you details of the deathly flu I came down with, end of year work projects, the 178 cookies I made in one night after I got home from my company Christmas party for all the members of my team and so on and so forth, I don’t think it’s necessary. Time is a created thing, and towards the end of the year I just couldn’t create any.

But, time is a created thing. To say I don’t have time is to say I don’t want to, and I want to continue to make this corner of the internet a sunshiny one, for whomever happens to stumble upon here. So thank you, to those of you that keep coming back! I promise to keep making this a priority in this new year.

I am confident that I can because, to quote my mom, if you give it to a busy girl, she will get it done. Think about all the times in your life when you were going through a particularly busy season. Whether it be work, wedding planning, a newborn baby, whatever season had you the most maxed out, the times when you were the busiest were actually your most efficient times. When you know you only have an hour and you have a thousand things on your to do list you can power through like the tasmanian devil. On a lazy Sunday when you have all day to get the laundry done and that’s all you have to do? You’ll forget until 5 pm. But a busy girl? She has to get it done so she will.

Yesterday at work I already had a to do list a mile long when one of our VPs sent me an email with a 50 task list. I turned to my counterpart and actually said “I’m plugging in and ignoring you for 30 minutes. Pretend I’m not here.” I put my earbuds in and put on repeat my go-to when I need to pound something out, whether it be literally running fast or just working fast: Remember the Name. (It’s so cliche and obnoxious but I swear it works) There’s one particular line in the song in which the singer (rapper?) uses the phrase “fifteen percent concentrated power of will.” I love that line. Concentrated power of will? Is there any force on earth more powerful than that? When the VP called me in 40 minutes (which I knew he would, he wants all his requests completed yesterday) I had 75% of his list done. I informed him of my progress and he paused.

“You’re almost done?” He said.

“Give it to a busy girl, she’ll get it done,” I replied.

“Oh. Right. Okay boss, let me know if you need anything,” he responded, surprised.

And while I’m still laughing at the fact that he called me boss, I am also a little sad that he was so surprised at my efficiency. That, to me, means that he hasn’t met a lot of busy girls. If he had, he would know that he shouldn’t be surprised at all.

When I was a teacher we would often get two hour delayed starts because of snow. I actually preferred these to snow days. On snow days you go back to bed, lounge around, and at the end of the day you feel like you wasted it. With a two hour delay, you get two hours of your day back. It is like someone literally added the hours 13 and 14 on the clock. And oh how I took advantage of this time! I would run errands galore, complete two loads of laundry, clean my whole house, run eight miles just because I had the time. And yes, sometimes I would just watch two hours of Grey’s Anatomy because I’m human. But the point is that this exercise spawned my favorite game to play: what would you do if you got a bonus two hours today?

Think about your list that you have running in your head. If your boss told you to take a two hour lunch today, or you got to leave at 3 instead of 5, and you had two whole extra hours, what would you do with them?

Now take it one step further: time is a created thing. How many extra minutes can you create in your day today? Can you run on the treadmill while your chicken is cooking? Can you turn on some gangster rap instead of listening to the office gossip and have your inbox at zero by noon? How much time can you create? If you give it to a busy girl she’ll get it done. I don’t  have a single friend that is complaining of not being busy enough right now, so I know that you can all get it done.

Create some time, and then run with it. You got that, boss?


One thought on “Give It to a Busy Girl – Reflections on Time”

  1. You (and your lovely mother) are so right about busy girls!
    I missed your blog, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Oh and PS, as a teacher, I always preferred the two hour delays as well. 😉


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