I’m not crazy busy


Why is it any time anyone asks me “How are you!? How’s life?”
I respond “Good! Crazy busy. But good!”

Yes, I run a tight ship and I get shit done.
Sure, my calendar is full with deadlines, coffee dates, and client meetings.
Yeah, sometimes I email after-hours and think about “what’s next” for my business, even on the weekend.
And sometimes I feel completely wiped out by all of it.
But I’m not crazy. I’m prolific, organized, and always determined to move forward.
Plus, my long mornings and open evenings are proof that I’m really not so busy-busy.

So this is my vow to eliminate “crazy busy” from my vocabulary.
A promise to trade in a sense of urgency for a practice in patience.
A commitment to recognize the difference between doing it all and having it all.

And when you ask me how’s life, instead of the “crazy busy” fall back, I’ll respond:
Wildly productive and living the dream. 

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Here are some posts I’ve written at Braid Creative lately that you might be interested in:
• Being an Expert Means Getting Daringly Narrow
• Making the Most of Your Multiple Personalities: The Many Roles & Personas of the Creative Entrepreneur
• And I’m sending out exclusive content once a week (or so) via our Letters for Creatives – straight to your inbox and nowhere else

  1. kathleenicanrah

    I LOVE this. love it.

  2. Jensen

    I was just reading this interview with Mindy Kaling on npr about how talking about how “crazy busy” you are isn’t necessarily a good conversation topic because everyone is probably “crazy busy”, too. Needless to say, it had me spending a good chunk of time thinking about everything you just said here. It’s crazy how rephrasing something like “crazy busy” to “wildly productive” changes the whole perspective.

  3. Lisa

    Sometimes all the difference lies in how you frame things. This feels really significant to me.

  4. Misty

    Love, love, love.

  5. rox

    Loving this: “Wildly productive and living the dream” – I might need to adopt this reply & drop the standard ‘crazy busy’….which I totally say far too often!

  6. Exactly what I needed…thanks for sharing this perspective, Kathleen!

    Something else that has helped me is reframing my to do list in categories:

    – Commitments (deadlines and promises to others)
    – Needs (I need to do laundry, I need to cook food)
    – Wants (finish that blog post, send a card to my friend)

    Life seems more balanced when I remind myself that many of the things I feel like I have to do are actually things I want and choose to do. The pressure to do absolutely everything is largely self-imposed. This way of making my list also encourages me to think more about taking on commitments and balancing them with wants–which are often commitments to myself that should be equally honored.

  7. Claire

    YES! I was just having this very same discussion after BNS Iyengar gave a lecture this weekend. He said something that got me thinking about this attachment I have to my self-worth and being busy – as if being busy was some kind of achievement. BNS said, “Attachment has fulfilled your ambition, you must experience detachment for true self-realization.”

    It kind of blew my mind a little bit. Because ambition has always been a quality I’ve prided myself and others on. And when you’re ambitious, you’re usually creating a whole lotta busy-ness around you, right?

    But if ambition is truly a form of attachment, then being in a state of perpetual overwhelming “crazy busy” is actually detracting from your experience of achieving the ultimate goal of self-realization.

    But I think approaching your week from a mindset of being “wildly productive” can in fact free up the time in between and create more space to focus on that larger beast called realization, read: moksha.

    • Kathleen

      Go figure that BNS would be full of wisdom. 😉

      I love that and have been doing quite a bit of detaching as of late. And it absolutely comes with LOTS of realizations (and growing – literally and figuratively), for sure.

  8. Sierra

    So brilliant! Language is such a powerful force in our lives, and all that “crazy” talk puts too much power in the idea that if I’m not running around crazed, that I must not be working hard enough. I love how open and honestly you frame these topics…I always love coming here to read what pearls of wisdom you’re going to share 🙂

  9. Vanessa

    I’m going to join you! People have been asking me about my first few weeks of grad school and my response is: it’s busy. (I actually don’t know if I’ve used crazy busy).

    My boyfriend once told me that people who are actually legitimately busy don’t have time to complain about how busy they are. I wonder what you think of that? I think a lot of people might use being “crazy busy” as an excuse for not being able to do things when in fact maybe it’s just their time management skills that are needing an improvement.

  10. kathleen


    (since starting my shop, my days are filled with a day job and my evenings filled with my “me” job. it’s crazy busy, but in a crazy awesome way. thinking back, I can’t help but wonder what I did with all that time. just sit around? I can’t imagine it any other way now. in a good way. it’s so much better when you *earn* your exhaustion, ya know?)

    (or maybe I’m just super type A insane. could be either.)

  11. Ffion

    THAT has got to be the best response EVER!

    Yeah, it’s sad really how overused the term “busy” is…

  12. Tara

    I think there are different kinds of busy, and that different people are exhausted by different kinds of “busy”.

    When I am physically busy (lifting things, moving things, interacting with people), I find that I’m far less tired afterwards than when I am mentally busy (planning, figuring things out, making decisions).

    I am definitely someone who was meant to work outside and with things/people!

    • Sarah

      Agreed! I’m currently transitioning from an office/sitting/thinking/staring job to an active/talking/moving job. When I get home in the afternoon from 4-5 hours in the office, I’m BEAT. When I get home late at night after 4-5 hours of dancing and talking to new people, I’m physically tired but so JAZZED.

      I’m on team “do what energizes you.”

      • Kathleen

        I wonder if this also plays into being an introvert vs. extrovert. How you spend and gain energy… more to chew on, for sure!

  13. People around me use the adjective “busy” all the time. It’s a little braggy but also an excuse for not being focused and a shield because they are being evasive. When there are so many kinds of “busy” and many shades of “crazy” out there it’s fun to get more specific. Replacing these words provides a valuable insight to your person or business, assists in your self confidence, and lets people feel closer to you automatically. It’s a win win!

    • Kathleen

      EXACTLY! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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  15. That’s more like it, girl!

    You could blame it on the hormones of pregnancy, too, the nesting and the preparing…it’s coming.


  16. I hope when babe comes you are LIVING THE DREAM more than ever! ‘Cause I gotta tell ya, you probably won’t be wildly productive anymore! lol But if you figure it out, let me know… 🙂

    • Kathleen

      Raising a kiddo isn’t productive? I’ll probably get / hire lots of help – I have no plans on quitting my career any time soon.

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  18. I was so intrigued by your post title, and as I read through, I kept thinking, yes, yes, yes! I do this all the time too, and I don’t like that I do. So, it needs to stop.

    After I say it, I usually think to myself, well, that was a lot easier than trying to explain the ins and outs of what’s keeping me busy… but it seems to come out sounding negative, when that’s not the intention. I love doing what I do, so I need to take to your new response as well!

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  20. jackie


    I stopped this verbal tic a while ago. I feel so grateful to be busy – with a healthy family, a sense of purpose (or multiple purposes), and a need to be in constant movement.

    I love the so eloquently put reminder, and the creative alternatives. Full calendar, full life, big dreams…

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  22. Ugh, I do the same thing! And I know I always hate when people give that same reply to me. I’m also making an effort to stop doing it.

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