Lately, most every email I receive seems to start or end with something along the lines of "I'm just so busy," "sorry, I'm so swamped lately," or "work has been murder lately." It is stated as a reason but I only find it an excuse.
Most everyone is busy these days. Economic times are hard; we're working longer with fewer people doing more. When we have the time, we have projects we need to get done -- fixing, cleaning, cooking, raising children, and caring for pets or family or friends. Yet, through all of this, some of us make the time to get to the things we say we will, when we will.
The statement "I'm just so busy" is purely selfish. Either make the time or don't. I don't need an apology or an excuse. It is also a subtle way, similar to people who are habitually late, of saying, "My time is more important to me than yours is; I'll get to you/with you when it is convenient to me."
If something is important to you, you find time to do it. My wife hates working out in the morning. But she found that it was the only time she had available for it. So, that's when she works out. She found the time. The last thing I want to do in the evenings is spend more time in front of the PC after a day's work. But many of my personal activities are best done at the computer, so I make the time.
I have a few friends who say that their friends are the most important things to them. Yet they hardly ever respond in what anyone would consider a reasonable time frame to emails, IMs, letters, or phone calls. And every response always starts the same -- you guessed it, "I'm just so busy." Well, if you are too busy for the "most important things" in your life, I shudder to think how badly your job, family, and other activities are suffering!
If something is really important to you, you rearrange your life to make time for it. You skip the long lunch out of the office in favor of a PBJ at your desk so you can leave 30 minutes early and make it to your child's game. You skip your after-work workout so you can make it to your friend's play. Do work and other priorities sometimes make it difficult? Of course. But if it is important to you, you do it. Period.