It always used to bug me when people would say they’re too busy. Whenever a friend cancelled on me to hang out or heard from a classmate of why they were behind on a group project, I used to roll my eyes thinking, “Really? That’s your excuse?” I’ve always felt my time was valuable and should be appreciated, not taken for granted.

That is, until I started becoming this busy person.

I went from self-advocating hero for the value of time to zero real fast, as in zero time to do anything. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that there feels like there’s less and less time every day. I guess I thought when you grow older and are given more responsibilities, you just learn how to balance time more and it becomes easier.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. So. Wrong. I was naïve and a fool to believe balancing my time would become so much simpler. What I’ve shortly come to realize in my academic career is that things tend not to get crossed off your to do list, but added to. And this happens for several reasons.

You want to take on new and different things. You want to get out of that boring old comfort zone and live a little. You also want to have a lot to show for in the time you’ve been given to dedicate to your education. This applies as well as with activities and organizations that demonstrate how amazing you are and why you should be hired everywhere!

There’s also the unpredictability of chance that completely throws that weekly schedule, that syllabus, that meeting, or event completely off schedule. People get sick, hurt, are late, forget. And it’s not just being unable to rely on others, but also yourself. You also slip up. You forget to pick up your dry cleaning. Those dirty dishes have been left in the sink one week too many. Your hot date for the weekend keeps ending up being named homework and you just want them to get the hint and go away!

You look in the mirror and don’t even recognize the tired, overly caffeinated, hastily dressed person in front of you.

It's hard to come to terms with realizing you are the extremely busy person who is important, has responsibilities, and has commitments to stick to. It can be hard to throw caution to the wind and play plans by ear when your color coded planner has a strict schedule. It can start to feel like a shackle even trapping you wherever you go.

It can be hard really a very busy person, and often times it feels impossible to get so much done in just the span of a day, or two, and enough to get through the week. It’s important in these times to cut yourself some slack. If you are really this busy, then you either have to decide to embrace and overcome or ignore and give up. Some days are better than other.

It can also be difficult to keep track of your sanity, let alone your assignments or shifts at work. Your mental health and basic things like food and water might as well be penciled in. That also doesn’t take into consideration the occasional meltdown as well as life crisis and of course unforeseen curve balls that love to trip you up every time. Like when your water bottle spills out all over your bag or your roommate uses all of your pans leaving them dirty on the stove. These little things that aren’t a big deal, but should be the least of your worries to count on.

It can be easy to lose track of yourself in the midst of a busy schedule.

While there may not be a way to peek into people’s planners or memorize schedules, sometimes people are just really busy. I feel like we all need to be given more of a break. These times when we're young can be fun and exciting, but after awhile can also be overwhelming and stressful beyond belief. Good grief, indeed.

So next time you come across someone who says they’re really busy or too busy to talk right now, try and reach out to see what you can do. What are they really busy with? Do they think they'll be okay? Even just a calm voice or a reassuring hug can help in times of distress.

The last thing you want is to upset or make people feel less important. Most of the time it’s not about making people feel they aren’t welcome or important enough in our lives. It’s that we do have other priorities and people who are also counting on us that sometimes need to come first before we can enjoy the company of others. And we fear if we ask to reschedule or to push back an event or meeting to finish up some work, it makes us selfish and uncaring.

Sometimes we do need a break, and for once allow ourselves to relax. Even things like eating, sleeping, and staying hydrated and hygienic can feel less important in the long scheme of things. But it can also be good for you as well as others to really reflect on your day, what’s ahead tomorrow, and prep for the week. One day at a time is all it is even when it may seem like five in one.

So next time you feel like things might be moving too fast, consider your options, rework your agenda, and remember what you’ve accomplished in that your efforts weren’t for nothing. And if you do have to put off things because you’re busy with school, work, or just personal stuff, try to explain a little bit what you’re going through. Sometimes people need a little reminder to realize that you’re actually going through a lot, and it can clear up confusion.

And if you are someone who feels they are rided off constantly by a friend or acquaintance or family member because they’re too busy, try to be as understanding as possible. Ask, “How can I best help you? What do you need to do, and is there anything I could do to make it easier?” This can help busier people realize the people they adore who deserve making time for, sometimes they just need a little reminder.